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...
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,...
Abuse is demeaning, disempowering, and humiliating. Here are some ways the abuse cuts deep, in order of how they often occur:
I had worked in state government for about 18 years after having graduated from Boston College with a BS and an MBA from Bentley College.
I had been given a supervisory role within an IT group. Three months later, my director got transferred to another group, and another employee got promoted to be the director of my group.
I thought it was just a personality conflict at first. He started subtly criticizing everything I would do. He made me doubt my ability to do my job. He would ask me to do research, and then when I approached for clarification, he would say he didn’t tell me to do that. He would dictate how I supervised my team of 11 people and insisted on approving every request for vacation. Although I wrote out the performance appraisals for my team, he would not allow me to give the grades I thought were deserved. I was not allowed to put that anyone “exceeded expectations,” only “meets expectations,” even though I disagreed that some deserved...
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...
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