Targets of workplace abuse have told me that when they reported their experiences to Human Resources, the workplace abuse generally got worse. Advocates said:
HR is there to protect a company's legal interests, not the worker. As soon as a you go to HR [about workplace abuse], you can expect things to get worse because you have just given them notice they need to get their ducks in a row and get rid of you so you can't document anymore. It's better to quietly go to an employment lawyer who will tell you if you have a case, tell you how to document, and act as your advocate when you have a viable case.
HR gets their paycheck from the company, not you. They are not your advocate.
Going to Human Resources can be as effective as doing nothing, if not worse.
It is important to note that many HR professionals are targets of workplace abuse themselves.
What do you do instead? Advocates most commonly reported that leaving the organization was the most effective (and often the...
While some plaintiffs understand that the legal system is a game they have to play once they sue, plaintiffs have far less control and receive much less support from their attorneys compared to employers.
There’s a huge asymmetry of power. According to Rights on Trial, there are major differences in:
Frequency of playing the game. Defense attorneys are repeat players and can devise systems to minimize legal risk. Plaintiffs are one-shotters who have to rely on others for strategy. Defense attorneys represent organizations with which they either have ongoing, long-standing relationships or with whom they are trying to cultivate one. (Legal defense funds and a specialized plaintiffs bar may help level the playing field somewhat.)
Power in number of team members and financial resources. Most defendant organizations seem to have more attorneys, a legal risk budget, and discounted legal fees for their preferred provider relationships. Representation is a given, and money shapes...
I know some of you work in Human Resources (HR) and help targets of workplace abuse. And for that, I thank you. However, the sad truth is that you are in a tiny minority of HR representatives who advocate for the target because you work in a safe and healthy work environment in which higher-ups want to do the right thing.
In most cases, HR does nothing — unless you count retaliates or terminates the target. They work for management, not employees, so even if HR reps do want to help, their hands are usually tied, meaning it's a management problem.
It's not just management's responsibility to create a workplace abuse policy but also to make sure HR reps enforce it. Otherwise it's not worth the paper it's printed on.
So what will it take to get management to create policies and enforce them? Sadly, it will take passing a law giving employees a right to sue for mistreatment to switch their liability. For years, higherups have considered liability as admitting there's a problem,...
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.
Subscribe to our blog to learn more about
how workplace bullying works and how to deal with it.