The Trayvon Martin Verdict… And The Healthy Workplace

Posted by on Sep 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Trayvon Martin Verdict… And The Healthy Workplace The Trayvon Martin Verdict… And The Healthy Workplace The Trayvon Martin Verdict… And The Healthy Workplace (originally posted on JENNINGSWIRE) We have been here before. A country becomes divided over a controversial verdict with the Rodney King Trial, or the O.J. Simpson trial. There is nothing like race and presumed murder that divides a country. And when we return to our desks the day after the verdict, tempers can flare and teams can be divided. This article is not about choosing sides, or analyzing the merits of the Trayvon Martin case or the verdict. Of course prayers go out to Trayvon’s parents who lost their 17 year old son way too soon.  However, this article IS about office decorum in the face of media sensationalism. Here are a few strategies to keep the peace when you go to work. 1: Don’t assume everyone has the same views as you.  I was once told God and politics are tough workplace topics. Controversial court cases should go on that list as well.  The workplace is for work, to focus on objectives and do such productively. Bringing up divisive topics and insisting people agree only yields division. 2: Don’t view everyone else as racist, bigoted unsympathetic because they don’t want to discuss the matter.  Such verdicts can be polarizing, and leave viewers projecting their angst on people and clients on the job.  Such projections are emotional, and unfair to those around you. 3: Don’t engage if asked about the case.  Of course there are always first amendment rights to speak out and speak up if one chooses. However, chances are that engaging in a hot conversation about this verdict can be divisive as well. Will it really make for a healthier workplace to have an argument about a court case decided in another state? Again, this advice is not about right and wrong, justice for all, or just an angry response regardless of your opinion. This piece does reflect on the objectives when one returns to work, to remain focused, productive and collaborative.  If engaging in this, or any hot topic defeats those healthy workplace goals, think twice before engaging in verbal jousting to vent steam on your...

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Martin Luther King Day of Service Starts at Work

Posted by on Feb 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

Martin Luther King Day of Service Starts at Work Martin Luther King Day of Service Starts at Work Martin Luther King Day of Service Starts at Work   Did you know that Martin Luther King was only 26 years old when he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott?  At the age of 35 he won the Noble Peace Prize and at 39, he was slain in Memphis, Tennessee. On this day of service, we all can take a look back to the dream for equality for people regardless of race, gender, class, religion etc. In 1963, he wrote Letter from a Birmingham Jail in which he writes, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”  While this wisdom at the time was applied to the social inequities across our country, the same philosophy still applies when we find injustice in the workplace.  Harassment, bullying, and retaliation cost organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars. Did you know that 37% of the general population will face workplace bullying according the Namie and Namie of the Workplace Bullying Institute? The recent book, Bully in the Ivory Tower confirms that workplace bullying is even worse in higher education with 62% of employees facing bullying. In regard to civil rights statutes, retaliation continues to be the largest EEOC complaint area; a complaint status where someone exercises his or her civil rights, yet faces ill will or adverse action as a result. Every day, over 550 NEW workplace discrimination complaints are filed against small business owners. Seeking equity for everyone can minimize these complaints and the cost associated with defending the organization. The beginning of the year. It is a great time to have an internal day of service to cultivate a healthy workplace and maintain critical productivity as the year gets under way. 1)      Group training.  When a culture is trained to identify quarantine and eradicate bullying, the workplace is a safer place.  Group training would assist staff members in identifying bullying and empower staff to address it head on.  Further, training would include policy analysis and implementation.  While staff may be trained, the organization also needs to have an early alert system, a sanctuary where targets can report issues, and a clearly defined organizational time line to address the problem. 2)      Individual interventions.  Coaching can work for individuals to create candid interventions for those who exhibit bullying tendencies. Individual interventions would include developing strategic solutions to comply with the organization’s anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies, also establishing a leadership action plan for productive engagement with his or her staff. Guard against bullying, discrimination and harassment in your work place.  Have proper training and intervention to create a positive, inclusive and productive...

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Tribute to a Civil Rights Leader, Kaaba Brunson

Posted by on Feb 6, 2012 in Discrimination, diversity training consultants, Uncategorized

Tribute to a Civil Rights Leader, Kaaba Brunson Tribute to a Civil Rights Leader, Kaaba Brunson Tribute to a Civil Rights Leader, Kaaba Brunson I had the pleasure of attending Kaaba Brunson’s retirement dinner as he ended his 39 year career with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC). The standard fare was available in music, hors’ devours and fellowship. As the program got underway, we all began to truly experience the depth of conscientious leadership that Mr. Brunson embodied. People of all ages, races, and both genders stood in testimony of his inspiring commitment to equity and access. Mr. Brunson has and remains a pillar in the community and a model for those around him. What I found most remarkable is his leadership style. Over and again, people remarked “I love you…” “you are truly a mentor..” and “You only expect the best…” By the accounts of many, Mr. Brunson was bold, brash, meticulous and humble all at the same time. He was, and still is, a tireless champion for human rights, while inspiring his staff around him to reach for new heights, continuously exceeding expectations. By his own remarks he continues to espouse, “Greatness comes from within… and you will have a hard time convincing me otherwise…” As the waves of people testified to how their lives were irrevocably touched by Mr. Brunson, he listened humbly, thanking everyone, and graciously accepting the showers of well-deserved praise and admiration. Even more remarkable, as this evening was about celebrating his career, Mr. Brunson’s remarks always included a thank you to his former boss, former executive director of the PHRC, Homer C. Floyd, the man who had recruited him to the PHRC over 40 years previous. And in the light of such praise, Mr. Brunson still remarks “Mr. Floyd I hope I did not let you down…” In these tumultuous times, I had to take this opportunity and remark on this leadership for civil rights and human rights. With the EEOC reporting record complaints two years in a row, bullying occurring on several levels of many organizations, transformational leadership styles are certainly needed, and practically required to motivate and engage staff in the face of shrinking resources. Mr. Brunson’s leadership style of respectful great expectations has resulted in great results from his staff. His guidance provides a model for any leader, in any sector, seeking to meet objectives and exceed expectations. As Mr. Brunson remarked that all new hires received the canned speech on engagement and expectations at the PHRC, he quoted, “respect doesn’t come from the title or place; it comes from self, and I expect that we respect each other as colleagues.” I write this as a tribute to not only a great civil rights activist, but as a consummate leader who has undoubtedly inspired 1000s of people, friends, family, staff, and employees. I am honored that he took...

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Emotional Stress and Bullying

Posted by on Jan 17, 2012 in bullying, cyberbullying, sexual harassment, Uncategorized

Emotional stress and bullying Emotional stress and bullying Emotional stress and bullying   Several people have experienced firsthand the emotional stress of being bullied.  As Namie and Namie report (2009) bullying happens to about 37% of the workforce.  Yelling, insults and a constant barrage of disrespect can make any one feel overwhelmed with stress.    Medical studies show that constant emotional stress can clinically be bad for your health. Dr. Ilan Wittstein of Johns Hopkins  University confirms that emotional stress can indeed release stress hormones to the heart and lead to symptoms that mimic a heart attack. The condition is called ‘broken heart’ syndrome.  The body is designed to have a fight or flight response under stress.  However at work, fighting is not the appropriate option, neither is flight (or walking off the job).  Therefore, the target of bullying is trapped, with stress hormones potentially pouring into his or her system, literally causes heart problems.  Other systems of stress include weight swings, moods swings, hair loss and restless sleep.   What can someone do? 1. First and foremost, strive to protect your health.  If you are feeling stress symptoms, seek medical help and have the doctor clearly document what is causing the stress. 2. Read the HR manual.  Many organizations have anti bullying policies along with the anti-harassment and anti-retaliation polices. 3. Seek support from friends and family.  Often targets become overwhelmed with the stress and isolate themselves.  Support from friends and family can help the target think clearly about healthy next steps. 4. Keep a journal.  Documenting the times and places of the bullying can create a record your performance slips under the stress of a...

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Diversity Training Programs in Companies and EEO Rules Updates

Posted by on Aug 1, 2011 in diversity training programs in companies, Uncategorized

Diversity Training Programs in Companies and EEO Rules updates   Diversity Training Programs in Companies and EEO Rules updates   Diversity Training Programs in Companies and EEO Rules updates   Diversity training programs in companies which include EEO rules training would keep employers up to date on changing EEO rules. Since the beginning of 2011, there have been five major cases decided at the Supreme Court level which could be the subject of diversity training programs in companies . Diversity training programs in companies should update staff on changes in retaliation definition and the legality of oral complaints.  For example, diversity training programs in companies would inform management that even an oral complain carries legal merit. Diversity training programs in companies would also show that “zone of interest” and common injury in class received major attention in decision. Diversity training programs in companies can review the Wal-mart case and the American Stainless case as critical points in rules education.  In short, diversity training programs in companies are necessary to keep staff and managers up to date on rules changes. Though many US leaders find that diversity is not a major concern, diversity training programs in companies would show that workplace discrimination cases are at an all time high.   Diversity training programs in companies need not be dry and boring. Diversity training programs in companies should be informative and engaging.  Further, diversity training programs in companies should be up to date and applicable to the client.  For example, diversity training programs in companies could address age discrimination for organizations with multi- generational staff.  Diversity training programs in companies should review the nuances of gender discrimination for a staff that has such gender diversity.  While many might think they don’t have the time for diversity training programs in companies these very diversity training programs in companies can save an organization hundreds of thousands of dollars.   Diversity training programs in companies can also be supported with up to date texts, such as Unequal Opportunity, a book written by Patricia Berkly LLC president, Leah Hollis. The book provides managers with the insight of complainant behavior. As a result, diversity training programs in companies can rely on this resource to help organization anticipate problem and minimize the...

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