A Commonwealth employee passes away on the job after administrators allegedly refused to accept her doctor’s note

Uncategorized Jan 22, 2020
My late sister-in-law was a long-term and highly regarded employee of DDS and was ready to retire in a few months. She had some attendance problems due to significant illness and provided her employers with doctor’s notes stating that she was impaired and needed to go on an intermittent Leave of Absence as per her condition. She was a 35+-year employee.
 
She was told that her doctor’s note would not be accepted and that she had to report to work or she would be terminated.
 
Laurie was single and could not afford to lose her job. She reported for duty on third shift and was instructed to work alone, although she felt uncomfortable doing so.
 
She suffered a stroke and died that evening on duty following an argument with her supervisor. 
 
The center fought the family, whose lawyer told them what my lawyer told me: you cannot afford to fight the Commonwealth.
 
Due to my own egregious situation, I had worked with the union and...
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Get out of a rut and into your best life at the Re-Define Retreat this May

Uncategorized Jan 21, 2020

 

Shock. Intense grief and anger. Fear. Hopelessness. Rumination. 

These feelings are common when workplace abuse disrupts our lives, leading us to feel stuck and isolated, like a shell of our old selves.

But face-to-face communication is the antidote for feeling alone. Through validation, you'll realize you're not alone — and not the problem. 

With this key discovery, you'll begin your own unique journey to recovery as you seek to re-define yourself and re-discover your self-worth as you heal from the trauma. You'll start to get back that spark so you can tell life who's boss.

That's the goal of the Re-Define Retreat, an all-inclusive, intimate getaway May 1-3, 2020 in a French chateau replica in beautiful Rye, NY, just 30 minutes from NYC.

You’ll transcend your pain, drop stress, get out of a rut, escape your comfort zone, and improve your mental health — using proven coping strategies, tools, and methods of recovery from workplace abuse. With...

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How we deal with Harvey Weinstein's world, the culture of abuse of power

Uncategorized Jan 19, 2020

We've all seen our Facebook feeds flood with #metoo after the Harvey Weinstein allegations spread, showing the sad culture of sexual harassment and sexual assault far too many women (and some men) have endured. It's a culture most of these sufferers have had to tolerate to succeed "because this entire town [culture] is built on the ugly principals that Harvey takes to a horrific extreme," says Krista Vernoff, who co-runs ABC's Grey's Anatomy (HollywoodReporter.com).

"If I didn't work with people whose behavior I find reprehensible, I wouldn't have a career.... We work within this culture so we can amass some power so we can have a voice. And those who don't do that — those who shout and scream 'this is not OK' when they feel threatened or belittled (those women who DID speak out against Harvey BEFORE the New York Times piece) — they largely live on the fringes of this town. They don't get the power. They don't get the platform that the mainstream...

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There’s one group most likely to get bullied at work

Uncategorized Jan 16, 2020

If we were to create a workplace bullying target persona, she would be a 42-year old, college-educated, full-time, non-supervisory, non-union worker in healthcare, education, or the government.

Targets of workplace abuse are most often motivated to help others — the do-gooders who enter healing and helping professions. When they don't also focus on politics, they become vulnerable to abuse. This mindset generally falls along gender and industry lines.

Targets and witnesses often say that those targeted abuse are often kind and cooperative. Though they also considered targets not likely to defend themselves and vulnerable (a strength often seen as a weakness in our patriarchal culture), it’s important to note targets are cooperators, not competitors. And collaborative work environments are proven to be not just healthier for employees but also for organizations’ bottom lines.

Nursing and teaching: rampant with bullying
...

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How a workplace bully changed my life

Uncategorized Dec 13, 2019

By guest blogger Jennifer Brown

 
I knew my first job out of college wouldn’t be for life but I didn’t realize just how quickly I’d want to get out of there. The job itself was fine, but while I quickly mastered my role and started to rise through the ranks, I came up against an obstacle I never expected: workplace bullying. The experience completely changed my career path and my life.

How Big of a Problem is Workplace Bullying?

According to Forbes, 75% of workers are affected by workplace bullying. While some workplace abuse is blatant, such as public verbal harassment or outspoken criticism, most office bullies prefer to hide behind the veil of plausible deniability. Exclusion, gossip, and professional sabotage, while hard for an outsider to recognize, wear down an employee’s self-esteem until they feel undermined, incompetent, and unwelcome in their place of work.

When faced with a workplace bully, we tend to focus blame on the individual. However,...

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An advocate shares her story of psychological intimidation

Uncategorized Dec 23, 2018

Amy was bullied through interrogation and intimidation at a school outside Boston. She felt disrespected, attacked, blindsided, scared, uncomfortable, sick to her stomach, and threatened. Here's her story in her words:

It started in February 2018. I was in the main office asking my principal a question, as he was handing out February vacation assignments to our custodians. One particular custodian was staring at me, and the principal had to get his attention by hitting him with the piece of paper and waving it at him while calling his name. I thought it was bizarre but didn't think anything of it.

A couple minutes later, I left the main office. The custodian asked me if I would be in my office after school. It seemed odd because we have never really said more than a "hi" passing through the hallway.

He came to my office at 2:45pm while I was with a 4th grade student and said "I'll come back." At 3pm, he came in and asked me if I had plans over vacation and wanted...

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A corrections officer suffered from repeat bullying after domestic violence

Uncategorized Dec 18, 2018
I was married to a coworker. We were both employed at a prison as corrections officers.
 
After we divorced, he broke in and held me hostage at gunpoint for 12 hours. He beat, raped, and sodomized me, then tried to kill me by choking me. He put the gun in my mouth and pulled the trigger. The gun jammed, and he panicked and fled the house.
 
Then he tried to kill himself by overdosing. The police found him hours later. He was arrested at the hospital after being treated.
 
After he was indicted for the crimes against me, I asked for a domestic violence transfer to another facility many miles away from him, as is the states policy on such matters.
 
Instead, they refused me, and I was bullied by coworkers who took his side.
 
Supposedly if you are convicted of a felony, you forfeit your pension. The state allowed him to retire and collect his pension while he was in prison.
 
Finally after being harassed repeatedly, I was moved to another facility...
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A bullied Commonwealth employee only received help from Unemployment

Uncategorized Dec 17, 2018

I was employed by the Commonwealth as a BERS (Benefit, Enrollment, and Referral Social Worker) A/B from March-July 2015. My position was to process applications. I loved this job, and it was the best paying position I'd ever had.

At the beginning of June 2015, I was called in my manager's office and asked, along with two other members of my team (both men), to help "shadow" new hires (provide them with help). I and one of the men expressed some doubt as to whether we were qualified, but our manager assured us that Quality Control had monitored our work.

I began helping new hires shortly afterward. They sat with me, and I coached them through the applications process. The first day I began doing this, the woman sitting next to me walked out and never came back. She angrily said to me "I think I should have been asked to do the shadowing." I had considered this woman a friend of mine.  Another woman who sat diagonally across from me (I could stand up in my cubicle and...

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Why we need to hold employers accountable: one advocate's story of abuse at a state hospital

Uncategorized Dec 14, 2018

I work at a state mental health hospital. My position is in administration. I work making sure the hospital is in compliance with state and federal rules and regulations.

The bullying began early on. I was called names and threatened with being fired to the point I was told I was suspended and told to leave. I wasn’t suspended, and with the union's help, I returned to work. Initially it started with public ridiculing and suggestions that this job was not a good fit. I was offered a severance bonus and a good reference if I quit, all of which was bogus. I was told I wasn’t allowed to speak to anyone and, if I did, it would get back to the boss — and it did. I would be discussing work, and the boss would follow up asking me why I was talking to so-so on this date and time.

(This job was what I had been working toward for a long time; the pay and the hours were good, and I was still in school with young kids. It was not a good time to switch jobs. I was hoping to put...

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"How could this happen to me?" asks a workplace bullying target

Uncategorized Dec 12, 2018

I’ve always worked in office environments. Since 2009, I have been employed by a high-profile business. In 2014, I moved into a new area of the business. This was a really exciting time for me as I had landed in a great department, the department everyone wants to work in — so much so that it is almost glamourised. I was determined to learn the job quickly, I wanted to be an effective employee as soon as possible. I read and watched and learned. I was recognised very early on as having the potential to be an asset to the team.

I had an excellent record for producing written documentation to a high standard — a standard so high that management would often compliment my writing style in team meetings. As a result, I often had my colleagues ask me to proof their reports or ask for advice on how to structure their writing. I prided myself on being a mentor and a coach to others and loved to help others whenever I could. I have always enjoyed helping others.

I was...

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