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Workshop Leaders Denise P. McKenney-FMCS Jennifer Ortiz-EEOC

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1 Workshop Leaders Denise P. McKenney-FMCS Jennifer Ortiz-EEOC
Workplace Bullying: Challenges Raised by Hostile Environment, Workplace Harassment & Poor Managers in the Federal Sector for The ADR Interagency Working Group Workshop Leaders Denise P. McKenney-FMCS Jennifer Ortiz-EEOC

2 Workshop Objectives Identify issues associated with workplace bullying and how they may turn into EEO complaints Identify best route for resolution of bullying complaints Assess strategies before, during and after an episode of bulling Identify management and workplace allies to deter and/or resolve bullying issues

3 Workplace Bullying Defined
Repeated and unwanted actions by an individual or group intending to intimidate, harass, degrade or offend Abuse or misuse of power Bullying is psychological violence

4 Harassment of a Different Kind
Harassment comes from the French word “Harasser” which literally means to sic a “dog on someone” without provocation

5 Should Complaints of Bullying be Mediated?
What is the outcome that you seek? To make the “bully” a better person? Behavior modification? Acknowledgement of an offense and apology? Other? The aim of mediation in this case is not to change the bully from the inside out, it is to change or modify the behavior in the work environment so that morale and production are not impacted.

6 What Does the Law Say? EEO Law Protection
Harassment/Hostile Work Environment Retaliation Workplace Violence Issues Lawful v. Unlawful Bullying

7 What’s EEO Law? Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older; Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which prohibit employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector, and in state and local governments; Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities who work in the federal government; and Info is borrowed from EEOC website. The EEOC enforces these laws and provides oversight and coordination of all federal equal employment opportunity regulations, practices, and policies. Other federal laws, not enforced by EEOC, also prohibit discrimination and reprisal against federal employees and applicants. The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA) contains a number of prohibitions, known as prohibited personnel practices, which are designed to promote overall fairness in federal personnel actions. 5 U.S.C The CSRA prohibits any employee who has authority to take certain personnel actions from discriminating for or against employees or applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age or disability. It also provides that certain personnel actions can not be based on attributes or conduct that do not adversely affect employee performance, such as marital status and political affiliation. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has interpreted the prohibition of discrimination based on conduct to include discrimination based on sexual orientation. The CSRA also prohibits reprisal against federal employees or applicants for whistle-blowing, or for exercising an appeal, complaint, or grievance right. The CSRA is enforced by both the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).

8 What’s Covered by Federal EEO?
Charges dealing with EEO Cases Race Color Religion Sex National Origin Disability Age *Hostile work environment And what else? As you may know, although these are basis’ that get the complainant through the door, the reality is that many of complaints are inter-related to personality conflicts, miscommunication, misperceptions, different working styles, respect, historically bad relationships and we’ll further discuss this during Webinar 3 .

9 Retaliation Must have previously engaged in protected activity under Title VII, the ADEA or the Rehabilitation/ADA Includes participation through testimony, investigation, at hearing or litigation proceeding. A form of sanction or adverse action against an individual who: (1) opposed the discrimination or harassment; or (2) assisted another person in filing a complaint of discrimination or harassment in either a formal or informal manner with a County, State, and/or Federal agency; or (3) testified, assisted, or participated in the investigation or proceeding related to a discrimination or harassment complaint. Essentially, the Retaliation law protects: (1) Complainants (2) witnesses (3) Others who participated in the investigatory process

10 Harassment Can be either hostile work environment or quid pro quo
Unwelcome verbal or physical conduct based on one or more of an individual’s protected bases under Title VII, ADEA, ADA or other statutes

11 Bullying as EEO Discrimination
A hostile work environment consists of: An unwelcome act that can be Physical or Verbal behavior Based on employee’s protected status That is sufficiently severe and pervasive to create a hostile, offensive or abusive work environment Inappropriate written, verbal, visual, or physical conduct, including the dissemination or display of written or graphic material, based on one’s race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex (gender), sexual orientation, marital status, age, disability, or genetic status, when: Such conduct has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment; or Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee’s performance; or Such conduct is used as the basis for an adverse employment action (terms and conditions of employment).

12 When can Harassment occur?
Before, During or After Work Breaks Lunch hour Work-related events outside of office, (i.e. happy hours, work conferences, dinners, holiday parties, picnics) Most hostile work environment cases involve a pattern of behavior, i.e. a series of events that play out over time. That means that employers have several opportunities to stop the harassing behavior. Give offending employees a direct order to stop If conduct warrants, impose progressive discipline If conduct does not warrant discipline, make clear that discipline will be imposed if conduct does not stop But one incident by itself can create a hostile work environment The EEOC found that a single instance where the Complainant alleged that a comment written on the workroom floor- “Dachau work will set you free and the rich richer” was sufficiently severe and pervasive to create a hostile work environment. Just as with racial epithets, the EEOC found that reference to concentration camps was a “highly offensive” slur or comment that rose to the level of setting forth a hostile work environment claim. Mason v. Postmaster General, 108 LRP 52034, (2008

13 Bullying & Workplace Violence
Factor to Consider if an Individual imposes a Direct Threat: Nature & Severity of Harm Likelihood that Harm will Occur Imminent Fear or Intimidation Your Workplace Violence Policy Three Myths of Threatening Behavior: No. 1: Employees with disabilities cannot be held to the same conduct standards as other employees No. 2: Disruptive Behavior must be reasonable accommodated if the employee has a disability and the disruptive behavior is caused by the disability No. 3: A request for a reasonable accommodation can excuse disruptive behavior when the request is made in response to proposed discipline. Mary’s disability has caused her to yell and insult her supervisor and coworkers. There is no formal policy addressing such conduct, nor need there be. Prohibiting an employee from acting belligerently toward a supervisor or co-workers is job related and consistent with business necessity. Mary’s supervisor may discipline Mary as long as the same discipline would be imposed on a non-disabled employee for the same conduct. When confronted with disruptive behavior: If significant and employee should have known better, discipline the employee If minor or the employee reasonably did not know of disruption, put on notice and give order to stop

14 Offensive Behavior What is Offensive Behavior?
How many people does it take to determine that someone’s behavior is offensive?

15 Offensive Behavior Remarks Feelings Behaviors Hurtful Anger Resentment
What Pushes Your Buttons?

16 Workplace Examples of Bullying
Being shouted at or humiliated Being the target of practical jokes Blame without justification Exclusion or social isolation Physical intimidation (proximal) Excessive micro-managing Purposely withholding vital information Whether Legal or Illegal, the point is that the conduct should not occur in the workplace. Work should not be painful.

17 Examples (cont.) Setting impossible goals for subordinates to reach
Blocking potential training and employment Tampering with an employee’s personal belongings Removing areas of responsibility without cause

18 The Effect of Bullying Absenteeism Decreased productivity
Manifestation of illness High turnover Increased accidents on the job Violence

19 The Effects of Bullying…
When targets believe that they have been bullied: Some will cut back on work Some will contemplate leaving the job Only 10% do Take it out on innocent family or pets Others will steal from the job, sabotage work, damage equipment, damage personal property of the bully or Contemplate a violent act and carry it out

20 Bullying is on the Rise…
According to a recent study by the national Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) bullying in the workplace is on the rise. 24.5% of companies surveyed indicate that bullying has taken place; 10.5% involving bullying by external customers More women are becoming bullies

21 Statistics on Bullying
37% of the workplace has been bullied 72% of bullies are bosses 57% of targets are female Bullying happens four times more than illegal harassment 62% of employees ignore the problem

22 Statistics (cont.) 45% of targets report stress related health problems Panic attacks Clinicial depression Post traumatic stress 40% of targets never tell anyone 3% of targets file lawsuits

23 Levels of Bullying Institutional Managerial Collegial Familial

24 The Roots of Bullying

25 Roots of Bullying Most targets are high achievers this is more than likely between peers / jealousy When bullying is boss to target, it’s usually because the supervisor is “threatened” by the target (fear) Bullies may experience enjoyment because of your pain (Reuters article)

26 Dealing with “Group Think”
Be Aware of It Make Group Aware of It Create Environment That Allows Asking “Why?” Explicitly Encourage “Dissenting” Views

27 What’s the Tone of Your Workplace?
Does speaking-up mean taking a big risk? Risk of Sounding Inarticulate Risk of an Idea Getting Shot Down Risk of Losing Face Risk of Making Enemies Instead of Seeing People, Some People See “Sharks” Risk of Losing Leverage by Unintentionally “Committing”

28 What Can You Do? Before Situation Occurs During Conflict
After Conflict

29 Conflict Management –v- Conflict Resolution The I-R-O Method
Issue - What is the issue or situation? What level of attention does it deserve? Response – What is appropriate given your role and responsibility? Outcome – What is your desired outcome and what communication strategies will serve that goal?

30 For One-On-One Situations: Back Pocket Response Tips
“Interesting. I’m going to need to think about what you’ve just said and get back to you.” “Before we start to resolve this issue, is there anything else we need to consider?” “What exactly would you like to see done?....Think on it and let’s schedule some time to further discuss.”

31 How to Deal with Bad Behavior…
First, be kind to yourself – don’t personalize it b/c even though it may be directed at you, probably not about you Acknowledge that there are various sources for « rude » behavior Respond with calmness; rather than behavior that escalates rudeness Self righteous behavior only reflects poorly on you

32 How to Deal with Bad Behavior…
Try to address the underlying cause of the behavior: I see you are very stressed. Maybe I could help if you tell me what’s bothering you? If the conversation remains irrational, then know when to quit Recognize whether behavior is a pattern or mishap; respond appropriately From: The Civility Solution: What to Do When People are Rude, St Martin’s Press, 2008

33 How to Deal with a Poor Manager
A.k.a “The Bully Boss” First have direct dialogue Point out the Impact of Actions & Words Document the Words, Actions, and any conversations you have Use the Sandwich Approach: “I have a few concerns about the working environment because…”

34 Keep in Mind Conflict Happens.
Situations happen but work should not hurt. Remember: The only thing you can truly control is how you choose to respond.

35 What Can Employees Do? Recognize that bullying is about control
Realize that it’s not your fault Leave the division/organization Keep a detailed diary and paper trail

36 What Can Managers & Supervisors Do?
Create and enforce a zero tolerance policy Address the bullying behavior ASAP Hold an awareness campaign If you are the bully…stop…seek help Model effective professional behavior Use Facilitation, Mediation or design a Group Intervention/Team Building

37 The Power of an Apology A sincere apology benefits the giver and receiver. Shows respect and empathy for the wronged person It is a way of acknowledging an act that if left un-noticed may compromise the relationship.

38 Words to the Wise Be careful of the words you speak, and keep them nice & sweet, For we never know from day to day, which ones we will have to eat.

39 Thank you! Jennifer Ortiz EEOC and Denise P. McKenney FMCS

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