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Workplace Bullying 101 AFT Workshop 2011 Presented by Joe Bontke EEOC Houston District Office.

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Presentation on theme: "Workplace Bullying 101 AFT Workshop 2011 Presented by Joe Bontke EEOC Houston District Office."— Presentation transcript:

1 Workplace Bullying 101 AFT Workshop 2011 Presented by Joe Bontke EEOC Houston District Office

2 Where have I seen him before?

3 Workshop Objectives  Identify issues associated with workplace bullying and how they may turn into workplace 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

4 What’s in your “backpack” It’s what we “bring” It’s what we “bring” It’s who I am It’s who I am It’s my “stuff” It’s my “stuff”

5 Obligations of Employers  Make the workplace free of unlawful discrimination, harassment and retaliation  Promptly and confidentially investigate complaints of discrimination, harassment and retaliation  Where discrimination, harassment and retaliation may have occurred, take prompt and appropriate remedial action (i.e., discipline commensurate with the offense) (i.e., discipline commensurate with the offense)

6 Protected Federal Categories Race National Origin Color Race National Origin Color Genetic Information Genetic Information Disability Religion Sex Age +40 Disability Religion Sex Age +40

7 Generational Groups Traditionalists(prior 1945) Baby Boomers (1946-1963) Generation X (1964-1980) Generation Y (1981-2000) When were you born?

8 US Workforce Demographics 33 million 63 million 43 million 11 million 22% (Gen Y) 7% (Trad) 29% (Gen X) 42% (Boomers) Total Workforce: 150,000,000

9 Importance of Generations  There are a variety of things that help shape our values ( it ’ s a backpack issue)  Historical events impact individuals and generations  Differences in generations can create conflicts inside the home as well as at work

10 Workplace Dynamics ?  Define these terms Team player Team player Effective communication Effective communication Appropriat e Appropriat e Casual Casual

11 Is Social Media A Fad?

12 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

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

14 Is Workplace Bullying covered by EEO or HR?  The 3 primary avenues for workplace disputes: HR, Union, EEO and if you’re lucky – an ADR or CR Office  Unless the bullying actions specifically involve a protected basis under EEO, then it’s NOT covered by EEO laws, but does that mean that you should not address it?

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

16 What’s Covered by Federal EEO Law?  Charges dealing with EEO Cases Race Color Religion Sex National Origin Disability Age *Hostile work environment

17 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

18 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

19 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 or pervasive to create a hostile, offensive or abusive work environment

20 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)

21 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

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

23 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

24 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

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

26 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

27 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

28 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

29 The Dynamics of the Situation  We are in denial  We avoid the person for fear of escalation  We raise the issue with coworkers hoping that they will do something about it  We surround ourselves with protection from other coworkers for support and reverse bully  We “check-out” at work; look for other jobs

30 What Can You Do?  Before Situation Occurs  During Conflict  After Conflict

31 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, conduct or performance; respond appropriately  From: The Civility Solution: What to Do When People are Rude, St Martin’s Press, 2008

32 What Can You Do?  Ask yourself: Are you ready to stop whatever you’re doing and take action to address it?  Recognize that bullying is about control  Realize that it’s not your fault  Keep a detailed diary and paper trail  Explore Resources – Internet, HR Policies, Union  Think about leaving division/organization

33 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 best serve that goal?

34 How Should Complaints of Bullying be Addressed?  What is the outcome that you seek? To make the “bully” a better person? Behavior modification? Acknowledgement of an offense and apology? Other? Note: The aim of conflict resolution 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

35 “New Kid On The Block” Rachel Matthews is a new teacher at for Anderson Elementary School. While she’s experienced and graduated at the top of her class, she’s finding that during her first month in her new position, she’s been given a “mentor” who is the team lead for 1st Grade Classes. There’s definitely a hierarchy of sorts and she’s been having difficulty with her coworkers who are all older. They are all married, have children and even the one other single teacher in the group is only interested in talking about sports. There’s one student teacher in the unit, but this person is only in the office twice a week due to college. Her coworkers always call her “kiddo” and refer to themselves as “old timers” to get out of “bad assignments” which require more after hours face time at the various after school activities. They talk about the “good old days” when Teachers were respected, tell stories about the previous Principal and all talk about retirement – which is over 5 years away. Rachel doesn’t mind doing things to help out others or learn more about the job and she even accepts that she’s the “new” one to the group, but she’s been talking this situation over with her fiancée and he thinks this is discrimination. She doesn’t like being called “kiddo” and getting all the “bad” assignments, nor being dismissed by the others because of her age. Lately, she finds that these remarks are more and more targeted to make her feel outside of the group – like making fun of never having Records or using a typewriter - no matter what she does and has started to call in sick more. She recently did some searching online and brings this situation to your attention. She thinks this situation is unfair and wants you to tell her what she should do? What do you tell Rachel?

36 “The Devil Wears Prada”  Principal Williams is the best-dressed person in the school and even the entire district. Her motto is “dress for success” and she believes in judging a book by its cover. She struts her stuff down the halls during bell changes and everyone knows her by the clank of her Prada heels. Her sharp dressed views are matched by her sharp tongue. Her management style is command and control. She inspires fear in both students and this extends to Teachers and staff. You have witnessed several verbal altercations  believes in Kenny is known as the quirky guy in the office. He wears ties that light up for all the holidays and makes all kinds of bad jokes that no one ever laughs out. You know someone from another division who once went out on a date with Kenny and he pulled a gag during the date by putting a whoopee cushion in her chair. Your friend left the date and actually left the division to get away from Kenny. Kenny comes to you to complain that there are two individuals in the office who are abusive and mean to him. They walk away anytime that he talks, have told him to put everything in writing and started spreading rumors about him, so that now, others in the office are ignoring him too. He’s spoken with Ryan, the team lead, but Ryan told him to “not let other’s get to him and just focus on the work product” but Kenny can’t get anything done because people will not interact with him. His work is suffering, he doesn’t like going to the office anymore and believes that his performance evaluation will be marked lower. He recently heard that another employee went to HR to complain about him and when he saw them in the parking garage he simply said “You better watch yourself” and started humming some bad 80’s song “Why do I feel like somebody’s watching me” and walked off.  Mary Beth is an employee who’s worked with Kenny for years, but has complained about Kenny to you and states that his rude comments seem to be targeted to people like herself who are “pleasantly plump.” He seems to think it’s all right to make fun of people and their eating habits. Truth is, she was diagnosed with Diabetes last year and is eating better, but that still doesn’t make it right to make fun of larger people. She describes the same scene with Kenny in the parking lot and thinks he may be unstable and be violent.  If you are the local Manager, what do you do?  If you are the Union Steward, what do you do?  If you are HR/EEO, what do you do?

37 “Ragin Cajun”  Jimmy Boudreaux was a “super-4 star” manager for the Louisiana District Office for XYZ and has now been assigned to one of the lowest performing divisions in the southern Texas area. He volunteered for the transfer to make more money and has a reputation in the other offices for being very abrasive with staff. He’s over 12 employees in this new TX office and began his first day by telling everyone how there’s a “new sheriff in town” and things were going to change. He barks orders to all the staff, wags his fingers in people’s faces and laughs out loud when he hears anything that he thinks is funny, then changes his face to a serious look and says “bring me a real idea next time” – all of which have only served to make employees feel that they are working with a “Ragin Cajun.” In fact, Jimmy once heard staff referring to him in the break room as that and walked in and said “I like it!”, poured him some coffee and left with everyone’s mouth wide open.  As Regional HR Director based in Dallas, you’re starting to get calls from employees talking about a hostile environment. You speak with the Regional Director and he comes immediately to Jimmy’s defense saying that he hasn’t heard any complaints and only sees that the division performance measures have improved 12% after only 5 months.  What do you do? What conversations need to be had with upper management? What do you tell employees?

38 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.

39 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, Conflict Coaching, Mediation or design a Group Intervention/Team Building or Training Retreat

40 Continued Busy EEOC 99,922 Private Sector Charges: Most Ever Retaliation – 36,258 charges Race Discrimination – 35,890 charges Sex Discrimination – 29,029 charges Disability Discrimination – 25,165 charges Age Discrimination – 23,264 charges Sexual Harassment – 11,717 charges National Origin Discrimination – 11,304 charges

41 Retaliation Oppose an unlawful employment practice File a complaint, testify, assist or participate in an investigation, proceeding or hearing concerning prohibited discrimination Request a reasonable accommodation (religion or disability) EEOC statutes protect individuals who


43 90% of education is knowing where to find the information when you need it. Joe Bontke 713 209 3436 office 713 907 2855 cell email

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