Do unions help targets of workplace abuse?

Uncategorized May 22, 2020

 

Unions can play a significant role in advocating for workers through collective bargaining agreements.

Yet with a focus on collective action rather than individual action and potentially fragile relationships with employers based on years of negotiating, targets can't always look to their unions for support. What's more: abusers may also be members of the same union, and there are varying degrees of effectiveness across unions — factors that often leave targets with as much faith in their unions as HR.

Ultimately, employers can move their businesses outside the U.S., leaving unions with less leverage than targets hope for. 

 

Take Your Dignity Back
If you feel like you’re stuck in a big rut that’s destroying your life, learn how to reverse the damage. 

Right now, you wish you could just tell your bully at work to knock it off, report the problem to management, and show the bully how childish he or she’s behaving. At...

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How targets of workplace abuse have to pay for treatment they didn’t deserve

Uncategorized May 22, 2020

Bullying leads to stress, and stress leads to health problems. Health problems can then eventually lead to poor work performance. At that point, targets can either:

  • Take paid sick leave, which lets employees recover from the health problems
  • File for workers compensation
  • Take family medical leave
  • Seek disability insurance

Types of sick leave targets chose
Targets often choose between the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), disability, and workers compensation (WC).

  • FMLA. FMLA is available to employees whose companies have 50+ employees and can be voluntary or forced, paid or unpaid.
  • Disability insurance. Targets can also take short-term or long-term disability. Early retirement may also be an option. 
  • WC. Employees can sometimes claim psychological stress as a work injury (though some states do not allow it). WC claims may interfere with a target's ability to file a lawsuit.

With currently less than one-fifth of all U.S. states have paid FMLA or paid sick leave,...

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Fun ways to generate income when you’re between jobs

Uncategorized May 21, 2020

By Craig Brown

Being between jobs is a tough situation, especially if you're having trouble making ends meet. However, there are lots of ways to cover that employment gap that involve having fun and preparing you for the next step in your career. Here are a few ideas that can help you do that very thing. 

 

First Things First

Before you start tossing around applications, do a little soul searching. Think about why you’re in the situation you’re in. Is your career path stunted or a bad fit? Did you leave a rough situation, such as a toxic atmosphere? Or have you just not found out yet what you really want to do? 

Take some time to sort things out. You might need to talk with a career counselor, invest in your education, or take steps to heal before you’re ready to give your all to a new role. In that case, it’s especially important to choose something that not only keeps bread on the table, but also allows you to gather the tools you need for...

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Mediation and arbitration: more tactics employers use to protect abusers

Uncategorized May 20, 2020

Mediation and other forms of conflict resolution require symmetry of power in which empathy and rational discussion take place.

With abuse, however, there's generally a drastic asymmetry of power, with manipulation and lack of empathy at the core of the desire for power and control.

Mediation doesn't work with abuse at work, just like it doesn't work with domestic abuse. Arbitration is even worse, a common requirement in employment contracts that rids you of your ability to sue no matter what happens at work. 

Targets generally report no positive outcomes with mediation. Rarely are there consequences for abusers. In fact, employers give consequences to targets instead, perceiving them as not inline with company goals and team-focused. 

In most cases, company power is stacked against targets who speak up.

 

Take Your Dignity Back
If you feel like you’re stuck in a big rut that’s destroying your life, learn how to reverse the damage. 

Right...

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Targets vs. business leaders: a major gap in perceptions of workplace abuse as a serious problem

Uncategorized May 19, 2020

When HR departments give training on core values or discrimination, a logical response from employees is to believe their employers care about their well-being.

But not so fast.

When employees take complaints to HR departments, employers often individualize the problem to avoid liability, touting beliefs in employee well-being but take opposite action.

Let's take this disconnect one step further. Author Andrew Faas interviewed 138 leaders about bullying and found that most leaders are unaware of what workplace bullying even is. For those who are aware, most don’t view it as violence or a business risk (even though most said they’d been targets after seeing a definition of it).

Sadly, these findings mean that most cultures are toxic. Faas found that:

  • The majority of leaders said they used bullying to get things done, using fear as a motivator because targets have performance or attitude issues.
  • Most leaders didn’t see the connection between bullying and...
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Why workplace mobbing is more common than workplace bullying

Uncategorized May 15, 2020

It’s no surprise that bosses are more likely to bully at work than coworkers or subordinates. But what may be surprising is that bosses alone aren’t most likely to abuse. It's a phenomenon we call mobbing, an abuse tactic involving a lone abuser enlisting others' help.

Others comply for a few possible reasons:

  • The abuser told them the target is a problem — and they believed it.
  • They feel pressured to go along to get along, fearing they'll become the next target if they speak up.
  • They understand the social game of the workplace and that upward mobility depends on their support of the boss, who's often the abuser.

It’s abuse of power that leads targets to isolation, and fear prevents the reverse from happening. Though collective action is one of the most effective ways to combat abuse at work, subordinates rarely join together to go against a boss out of fear of losing their jobs or becoming targets themselves.

 

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The double-edged sword of second-time abuse

Uncategorized May 13, 2020

Targets of second-time abuse (or more) more quickly recognize the signs of it, a benefit that can help them more quickly escape the toxic situation. Once they see what's happening, they can detach and put the wheels in motion to build a safety net and remove themselves from the toxic environment.

But the quick recognition can also often mean re-trauma, the triggering of going back to an emotionally painful place — sometimes more severe than the first. Initial abuse generally takes place with family (parents and siblings), at a previous job (likely bosses), or at school (likely classmates).

Issues around authoritarian parenting are common initial sources of abuse. Targets don't feel seen or heard or that their feelings matter, and these feelings crop up again with abuse at work.

 

Take Your Dignity Back
If you feel like you’re stuck in a big rut that’s destroying your life, learn how to reverse the damage. 

Right now, you wish you could just tell...

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When employers don't believe targets of workplace abuse

Uncategorized May 11, 2020

Often jealous of their high-performing targets, abusers gaslight them, aka treat them like they're crazy. Targets feel traumatized when their expectations of fairness are met with complete unfairness and smearing of their character. Then others come to believe the target is the problem, compounding the harm, through these methods:

  • Abuse of power. Abusers use their position to misrepresent targets, taking advantage of the asymmetry of power.
  • Manipulation. To reinforce management support of each other, higherups often side with abusers in management. 
  • Mobbing. What was once a lone abuser then can become an army. Mobs deprive the target of the chance to feel heard, supported, and believed. When they side with abusers, investigators can't do their jobs well.

When targets aren’t believed
Studies show it’s honesty and integrity that often put a bullseye on a targets’ backs. Yet in this victim-shaming culture, especially when stories are...

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How targets of workplace abuse can reverse emotional abuse

Uncategorized May 08, 2020

Researcher Loraleigh Keashly coined the term “emotional abuse at work, which leads to stress and at times trauma, which in turn lead to a host of health issues. 

Targets can reverse emotional abuse through social support, especially validation, and remove themselves from the damaging effects of isolation. If a target hasn't experienced abuse before, it may take longer to recognize the signs of confusion, fear, and stress, prolonging the time it takes to begin to heal.

Targets can find support through spouses, other family, friends, websites, social media, professionals, and sometimes coworkers — even though this issue can often show targets who their true supporters are, dominate their thoughts, and misunderstood by therapists.

The best medicine: face-to-face human connection. 

 

Take Your Dignity Back
If you feel like you’re stuck in a big rut that’s destroying your life, learn how to reverse the damage. 

Right now, you wish you...

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Study links workplace bullying to one effect that costs companies billions

Uncategorized May 07, 2020

In a 2001 study, Researcher Judith Richman linked workplace harassment to drinking behaviors. In a multi-wave panel study at an urban university, targets who had more than two years of bullying had a stronger connection to drinking problems.

“These drinking behaviors reflect an attempt by targets to deal with the psychological stress,” say Loraleigh Keashly and Joel H. Neuman in their Employee Rights and Employee Policy Journal article. “Should such drinking continue, job performance and productivity is likely to suffer. For example, some research suggests that sixty billion dollars is lost in annual productivity as a result of alcohol abuse.”

The link isn’t shocking. What’s shocking is the failure of management to address root cause: workplace bullying. It’s far easier to blame a target for a drinking problem than a higher level employee for causing the unnecessary stress in the first place. That negligence to address the...

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