Police officer endured series of abuses for eight years after management error

Boston Police Officer Brenda James began her career in the male-dominated, dangerous field in 1994. Her district was changing, becoming more inclusive and diverse. The police department adopted a different model of policing — “community policing” — developing partnerships and relationships with community members. Officer James was assigned to help carry out that mission. She was recognized for the work she did as a community service officer and then became a juvenile officer, a liaison between the police department and community – school officials, clergy, business-owners, social service agencies, and programs. She was involved in roundtable discussions, interventions, mediation, individual educational plans for students at risk, court advocacy for juvenile delinquents, and relationship-building with probation. She became certified to mediate and earned a masters degree in criminal justice from Boston University.

The Backstory
In 2010, the Boston Police...

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One advocate says abusing employees should be a crime

The abuse started out at what I thought would be the perfect job. The pay, responsibility, and opportunities to advance were all there. What I didn’t plan on happening was that it would all crash down around me leading to over nine months of legal proceedings and numerous health issues due to depression. I guess you could say that according to the lawyers, I won my workman’s comp claim. But what did I really win? I was out of a job, and the monsters I worked for were still free to do this again and again and again to the next person who stood up and said what was happening was wrong.

I should have seen the writing on the wall about six months after I started. My manager was in way over her head and stood me up for countless meetings when I was in the office. When we did finally meet, there were all the bright discussions around what my plans were for the future. I had even drafted documents outlining how my position could progress into one with greater responsibilities,...

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One advocate’s experience of ongoing workplace abuse

I believe lots of people whose lives have been affected by workplace bullying or have witnessed/heard about it, and I am one of those people. Here is my sad story to chew on:

A company hired me in January 2013 as a resident services coordinator/social worker. I was one of only a very few Black (African-American) employees with an office position at the company. Black employees comprise a disproportionately small percentage of all employees.

Six months after I was hired, I had an argument with my boss regarding the disposition of donation checks written to the company-authorized solicitation by me to contractors asking for support of an annual cookout for residents. I notified my manager and his assistant manager that the donations were made payable to “Company” and gave it to them. My manager and his assistant told me that they wouldn’t notify the company about this money because the company may not give back the money. The cookout took place, and the donation money...

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A Commonwealth employee describes ongoing torment that threatened her life

I was the target of workplace bullying and discrimination. This is my story.

My career as a state employee started the summer of 1986; I had just finished my 1st year of college and was given the opportunity to work in the business office at a mental health facility in Boston. At the end of the summer, I was offered a part time position at a facility that was near campus. For the next 15+ years, I worked for three different agencies of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In 2004, I accepted the offer of a position as a contracts specialist for the Department of Developmental Services in Danvers.

In May 2014, I had an accident at work. A step stool in the supply closet tipped over, and I fell off it. I didn’t know that the stool was broken since it had not been labeled as broken or taken out of service. I suffered severe injuries: a concussion, loss of some vision in my right eye, a torn labrum in my shoulder, bruised coccyx, and multiple bruises. Due to my fall, I...

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How feeling pain can transform us

When we’re abused at work, our perception of the world can feel like we’re looking into a tunnel with limited ways out. But painful, crushing experiences CAN lead to a new you according to #1 New York Times bestselling author T.D. Jakes.

It’s about trusting in the universe to lead you to healing after you feel like crushed grapes. Feeling crushed is part of a transformative process. If we’re protected from our pain, we may miss out on our purpose, Jakes says. It’s a lesson that Jen Sincero also teaches in her bestseller You Are A Badass: look for the lesson to help you grow and realize why you’ve been put on this planet.

We become our best selves when we’ve endured things we thought were going to kill us…. We get stuck because we are so adaptable to our environment that we start accepting normatives out of things not meant to be normal in our lives.

There’s a pathology of pain that people get into where if...

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An advocate asks: where’s the professional and community understanding of workplace bullying?

My workplace bullying started in May of 2010 when my then husband was on his second deployment to Afghanistan. I worked as an Executive Administrator for seven years coordinating sales training schools.

In September of 2010, my position became full time. After signing the paperwork, the sabotage increased. Management orchestrated it and recruited sales training managers, salespeople in the field, and possibly even a vendor. I just found out the term for this is “mobbing.”

  • Things on my documents changed (limo pickup times, rooming lists, etc.)
  • Laptop crashed, suspicious issues with computer
  • Important papers were taken off my desk
  • Excluded from meetings
  • Blamed for mistakes that others made
  • Workload increased
  • Last minute requests increased
  • Emails deleted

This was the first time ever in my life that my work was sabotaged. I was in complete shock that people actually behaved this way. I could not imagine doing this to anyone. I had always received positive reviews, and each...

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Now healing, a telecom worker describes getting bullied on the job

I work for a large telecommunications company. In 2013, offshoring hit my office hard, and I jumped ship, leaving my office job to go to a field position. Because of the contract under which I work, with no experience under my belt, I was able to skip to the highest level of field tech, which generated hard feelings amongst techs who had been in the field longer than myself who were trying to attain the level at which I was automatically placed.

Little did I know what drama this was to incur.

I am also female in my senior years. I was first put under the best supervisor in the field, which gave me a false sense of security because he shielded me from the situation I had unknowingly placed myself. He moved on, and I had another great supervisor who moved on as well.

Then I was placed under a rookie supervisor who 1) did everything his boss told him to do — including bullying me — and 2) did not know how to train a new person so resorted to bullying techniques to protect...

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One advocate describes near-constant terror working at a restaurant

A restaurant I used to work at was run by seemingly brainwashed people who all thought along the same line. If you disagreed with them, they either fired you on the spot or they made life difficult. A lot of people quit.

Most of the staff (except the select) were miserable at work:

  • One employee was fired on a rumor that she said something unflattering about the owner.
  • Meanwhile one male employee failed to show up for a shift but he kept his job. When the female employee did the same thing (she had a flat tire), she was fired on the spot.
  • One employee was fired for making a mistake with a credit card. (This was one month after the brand new restaurant opened).
  • One employee was threatened with termination because she came in late when her daughter’s dental appointment ran late.
  • A rumor was started that two employees were sleeping together, and the female only was reprimanded.
  • Another rumor started that an employee was huffing hairspray. A raid of her belongings turned up...
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Workplace health should be a fundamental human right

Workplace health is one important indicator of organizational performance — as a society’s success cannot be separated from the quality of its members’ lives. In his brand new book Dying For A Paycheck, Jeffrey Pfeffer exposes exactly why our workplaces are so toxic and what humans need instead.

“You are the cause of the healthcare crisis because 74% of all illnesses are chronic. The biggest cause of chronic illness is stress, and the biggest cause of stress is work.”
— Global manufacturer Barry-Wehmiller CEO Bob Chapman to a room of CEOs

Companies obsess over their carbon footprint. But what’s their human footprint?

We have environmental regulations to limit environmental risks — but what about employee well-being? We monitor workplace accidents and deaths, but we don’t mention the human impact of abuse, wages, health insurance, or work-family policies. Without measurement, reporting, and requirements for social pollution,...

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

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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