Posts

Why Are There So Many “People of Color” in the Projects?

I used to wonder why so many “people of color” were living in the “Projects” in Asheville NC, which is my hometown. Surely, most of them want to work and live a dignified life like most Americans.  Everyone has their own thoughts, but I am going to share mine. When I moved to Asheville, NC after retiring from the Air Force, I noticed that there were very few people of color in Asheville.  After working only a few days in my former government agency, I realized there was a serious problem going on and it had been going on for a long time.  It was time to address the matter and to educate others so they could make cultivated decisions about their careers.

Nepotism, which is the illegal hiring of family and friends in the government has been ignored by many and actually celebrated by those who are benefitting from it.  When you have unlawful hiring of family and friends, the moral in the workplace goes down and you see “qualified” people working in the lowest grades in the federal government and “unqualified” people getting hired and promoted in the federal government. Then add in the fact that racial discrimination also plays an important part of why there are so many “people of color” who are suffering from financial drawbacks to not being hired or promoted in my hometown.  You can learn more about racial discrimination at www.EEOC.gov

When I worked in the second largest federal government agency, I noticed that there were only five black employees out of about 550 employees.  I listened to my “white” management brag about hiring their family and friends.  It was disgusting to me as employees would secretly talk to me about the matter because they knew I had worked in Human Resources for over 22 years at the time.  You are probably wondering—yes—I did report it to the Office of Special Counsel in Washington D.C.

Photo Courtesy of Images.google.com, with permission to reuse this picture

Many of these employees had many years of experience and education that should have supported them in receiving a job offer or a promotion if they were already hired in the agency.  But, no, they were being deprived of having a fair opportunity, while unqualified people were hired and promoted because they were friends and family members of management. How do federal supervisors and manager get away with nepotism and racial discrimination?  I will share three ways that can happen.

First, if a federal supervisor/manager wants to hire a “certain person”, they can write a position description (PD) that would “eliminate” other potential people from being qualified.  The PD is written where only this person or very few people are qualified for a job posting.  This is called a prohibited personnel practice (PPP) and it grants the “targeted individual hire” an illegal and unfair disadvantage.  You can research nepotism restrictions in your state at http://www.ncsl.org/research/ethics/50-state-table-nepotism-restrictions.aspx.

Second, only certain federal employees receive training that can later support them receiving a promotion that requires the training they attended, while other employees may be denied this beneficial training. This is also a prohibited personnel practice that is illegal and reportable to the Office of Special Counsel that investigates valid prohibited personnel practices.  You can contact them here:  https://osc.gov

Third, if you are working in a federal agency and you are interviewed for a promotion opportunity, you may be “downgraded” in your skills or capabilities.  For example, when I applied for a supervisor position, I later found out that my supervisor experience was down-graded as if I had never been a supervisor and had no experience as a supervisor.  I had many years of experience as a supervisor and manager.  I found out my “low” supervisory scores I received during my in-house interview when I received access to view my scores and everyone else’s scores that applied for the promotion, through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  You can learn more about accessing FOIA (federal) records here:  https://www.foia.gov/report-makerequest.html

If you are concerned that you were not hired due to nepotism or because of your race, be sure to reach out to the resources I provided in this article.  It is illegal to receive retaliation for being a “whistleblower”.  Yes—retaliation does happen, but if you ignore a serious problem, it does not go away—it lingers.  If you receive any kind of reprisal for filing charges of nepotism, prohibited personnel practices or discrimination based on unfair treatment because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information, be sure to contact the agency you filed the charges with and submit the “alleged retaliation” charges within the required time-frame required for each agency.  Most reprisals have to be submitted within 45 calendar days of the retaliation action.

If you are looking for resources on workplace bullying or discrimination you can find many answers here:  http://www.fspagainstbullying.org/workplace-bullying.html

Every Wednesday, you can watch a new video (1 -3 mins) I put out weekly, that addresses workplace bullying and discrimination solutions.  Be sure to “like” our business page: https://www.facebook.com/FiftyShadesOfPurpleAgainstBullying/   so you can get notifications of new videos and other valuable information.

Join our Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/1752823468278515/ so you can get the support and guidance needed if you or another person is experiencing harassment or discrimination in the workplace.

Stay empowered and drop me a line if you found this article to be helpful at http://www.workplacebullyingsupport.com/contact/

 

 

Five Tips to Honor MLK

21795142623_61033c702e_bTick tock…tick tock… time has turned into years and years have unfolded improvements that Martin Luther King was greatly responsible for in the mid-1960s.  The Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act for African Americans changed the laws in America so there would be repercussions for discrimination of race or color.  So now we have a kinder and more equal social justice in the United States.  Ummmm…I don’t think so!!! The EEOC reported that there were over 31,000 charges of racial discrimination reported in 2015.  Senator John Lewis (D-GA) spoke out recently and tweeted, “We must never, ever give up the right to protest for what is right, what is good, and what is necessary.”  If we choose to strive for justice and a kinder world, I have five tips that honor the “great work” of Martin Luther King.

First, be a “light” and don’t meet evil or darkness on its level.  Fighting with people who are bullies or are acting badly will only bring your own spirit and your energy down.  “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that” said Martin Luther King.  He strived for peace in non-violent ways. Rosa Parks was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white person.   Martin Luther King and his followers began to boycott the Montgomery bus public transit system in Alabama.  It was a huge success because most of the bus riders were African American and the boycott created an enormous financial deficit for the company.  Consider how you can make a non-violent action to stand up to injustice. For example, I speak, write, mentor, and I am a 27-year HR expert on workplace bullying and discrimination.  I do this in a compelling manner, but the tone of my actions is non-violent.

Second, learn as much as you can about discrimination so you can become more empowered and educated. Unfortunately, workplace bullying is not illegal, but discrimination is illegal.  With the exception that “retaliation” for reporting discrimination is illegal if a person has initiated discrimination charges to an agency like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. While the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) has lost power over the years, today we have organized groups who have the ability to enforce civility in the workplace, but not enough is being done to fix hostile work environments. Why not foster your skills and learn more about your rights to a safe and non-hostile work environment in my blog articles on my website.

Third, if you are enduring harmful behavior from others or you need help to speak your “truth,” why not find a mentor, spiritual leader or a life coach to support you.  I wrote an article, “Five Tips Before You Hire a Life Coach” to share guidance in finding ethical and competent Life Coaches.

Fourth, consider seeking legal counsel if you have questions about discrimination because of your race, color, sexual orientation, age, pregnancy, national origin, you are over 40 years old, gender identity, disabilities, genetic information or religion.  For about $20.00 a month, you can seek a lawyer’s advice at Legal Shield.  That is less than the cost of going out to dinner for most people.    An HR professional with expertise in workplace bullying and discrimination may become an essential expert to help you.  When an employee understands their “rights,” they can pursue justice or a fair outcome.   An experienced HR consultant could possibly save you a lot of money by avoiding costly legal fees.  Don’t get me wrong—employment attorneys can be powerful allies, but they will most likely charge more in fees.  I am suggesting that you do seek an attorney if you feel compelled to do so, but why not let an HR consultant support you at a lower cost?   Then you can reach out to an employee attorney later on if needed.

Fifth, be an advocate for social justice and fair treatment of others.  For example, a friend of mine recently saw a Caucasian man castigating an African American woman after she walked out of a grocery store.  He yelled derogatory comments at this lady accusing her of being lazy and that she should not be a drain on society.  Perhaps this woman needed to be on food stamps to support her family.  My friend saw the need to intervene and acted like she knew this woman.  This discouraged the angry man who walked away to his vehicle.  Thanks to my friend, this woman was able to get to her car with her children, with only tears running down her face.  There is no telling what could have happened if there had been no intervention to help this lady get to her car with the assurance that someone cared about her.

There are many ways to honor the late Martin Luther King.  We can all be “extensions” of his advocacy to end discrimination and make this a better world.  Think of ways that you can help positively eliminate injustice and take action.  Follow me on Facebook where I share tips to stand up to workplace bullying and discrimination to executive teams, global leaders, political teams, government leaders, attorneys, mental health professionals, and employees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dos and Don’ts on Social Media When You are Being Bullied at Work

Dawn empowered on the bridgeIt feels great to share your concerns or your victories on social media. It can feel gratifying to get approval or “likes” on your posts.  But—can your social media posts backfire on you?  Yes, they can.  If you are venting about your workplace bullying and using a person’s name, you could be committing defamation of character.  According to http://thelawdictionary.org/article/how-do-you-prove-a-defamation-of-character-claim/:

 Slander and Libel

“There are two different types of defamation of character. The first is when someone verbally says a false statement about you. This is referred to as slander. The second is when someone writes down or publishes a false statement about you. This is referred to as libel.

The Final Step

Once you have proven to the court of law that the statement made against you was, in fact, false the last step is proving that the statement caused some form of damage to you or your reputation. Most lawyers are going to tell you that despite being the last step in the process proving that a statement has caused you harm is the most difficult part of the process. First of all, there is a clear different between a statement having the potential to cause you problems and the statement actually causing you problems. It is only considered defamation of character if the statement has actually caused you harm, not if it has the potential to cause you harm.

In order to win the claim, you are going to need to prove that the false statement has always ruined your reputation. If you are a business owner, for example, you would need to prove how the statement has had a devastating impact on your business. The unfortunate truth is that this does mean you will have to wait for the false statement to cause problems in order for the court to take action against them”.

Everyone has “rights” and if you “verbalize” or “publish” derogatory comments about another person, you could end up with a liability suit against you.  This could get very “sticky” as you will have to prove your comments as being “true”.  This could have the potential to tie you up in court and legal fees for years.  Is it worth it? Most people who are dealing with workplace bullying need an outlet to express their concerns and seek guidance from others who are experiencing the same issues.

A safer way to join a Facebook group that supports people who deal with workplace bullying is to make up a fake (pseudo name). I recommend never using another person’s name in your posts or comments, but discussing your issue in “general terms”.  If you join a Facebook group under your “real name”, be careful with what you post.  Keep out names and circumstances that could be “used” against you if it falls into the wrong hands.  There are cases where the bully or their attorney has compiled social media posts to use against the “bullied”.  It would not serve you for your highest good to have the “other side” to have ammunition to use against you.

Documentation that presents compelling evidence can be very powerful.  If you have made social media posts that could be potentially damaging to you if it gets in the right hands, do your best to delete these posts right away.

There is no way that a Facebook administrator, who is in charge of a Facebook group will be able to know who is the “bully” or “bullied” in their groups.  Anyone can request to join a Facebook group or Twitter group.  Always be careful and If you have a court hearing or an Equal Employment Opportunity Community (EEOC) hearing, the “bully” or attorneys representing the bully may attempt to find a way to access your social media to see if they can find “evidence” or posts that could help them “leverage” control over you.  For example, if you are pursuing an EEO hearing, you have signed a “statement” that you cannot discuss your case, except with certain professionals.  Your case can be thrown out by the EEOC because you “discussed” your case with others that don’t fall under the criteria of the EEOC.

For example, if you are pursuing an EEO hearing, you have signed a “statement” that you cannot discuss your case, except with certain professionals.  Your case can be thrown out by the EEOC because you “discussed” your case with others that don’t fall under the criteria of the EEOC.

Don’t beat yourself up if you have made defamatory remarks about a bully.  Just be mindful in the future and protect yourself.  You never want a bully to hold “power” over you, especially if you can prevent it.  Reach out to resources that can help or encourage you.  Be mindful of social media groups or any group individuals that focus only on the “negativity” of their situation.  Everyone’s story is powerful to them.  The caution you must take is to be mindful of each person’s contribution to the group.  Are they positive or negative?

It is very cathartic (healing) to share how you feel about your bullying situation.  However, some people will not make the effort to improve their situation.  They will wallow in their sorrow because they appreciate the “pity” attention they receive. Some of them will complain and spew negativity, but they will do nothing to help themselves become empowered.   I think most people want to become empowered and want to know how to stand up to workplace bullying.  Pay attention to the people you surround yourself with because their “energy” will rub off on you.

Last, reach out to support groups or create your own ones so you can get the help your need and the support you deserve.  Be smart and remember, “You are always on Parade”.  You are observed by people who are visible and not visible in your life.  The best revenge for workplace bullying is living well and succeeding in life.

If you need help with your own workplace bullying or discrimination matter—you can find resources on my website at www.DawnMarieWestmoreland.com

What Government Employee Bullies Don’t Want You to Know

Dawn sitting on a rock in black and white

 

 

 

 

Let’s face it, depending on whose statistics you use, government workplace bullying is on the rise.  According to http://www.forbes.com/sites/naomishavin/2014/06/25/what-work-place-bullying-looks-like-in-2014-and-how-to-intervene/ “96% of American employees experience bullying in the workplace, and the nature of that bullying is changing”.   Workplace bullying creates a hostile workplace that is devoid of a safe and respectful work environment.  Bullied employees can hardly put out their best work when they are under so much stress. Then they may face disciplinary action because they are not working up to mandated work standards.  Talk about stress and feeling like a ‘victim’!  Holding government workplace bullies accountable can be hard, but I can make it a little easier for you. Let me share five tips for dealing with workplace bullying so you employ these tips and have a better outcome.

The first tip is to document your workplace bullying.  I created a video that explains it further at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1ZrLOMccHg  This video explains the importance of why and how you should document workplace bullying.  I was able to ‘settle’ with the Veteran Affairs (VA) in March 2014 because I had ‘solid” documentation that supported my case of retaliation for being a VA “Whistleblower”.  Two days before my Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) hearing, the VA attorneys were willing to ‘settle’ with me.  I won an emotional victory as I can now write and talk about my own bullying story to help others because I refused to sign a “gag-order” that would keep me from sharing my story.

Second, be mindful that most government Human Resource departments are part of management.  If you are being bullied by management, you are also addressing your bullying situation with your management.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, but you should be aware of your organization’s structure.  Every government agency is required to have information on their bulletin boards such as job safety/health, Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) information, etc., that comply with government requirements.  Here is more information on Equal Employment Opportunity rights:  http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/posters/pdf/eeopost.pdf  Be aware of your rights and who to contact if they are being violated.  For example, if you file a discrimination report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, sex or genetics, you must file within 45 days of the occurrence or the claim may not be accepted.

Third, federal laws prohibit covered entities from retaliating against a person who files a charge of discrimination, participates in a discrimination proceeding, or otherwise opposes an unlawful employment practice.  If you have filed an EEO case or have submitted prohibited personnel information to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and receive retaliation from your workplace, you are entitled to report the alleged allegations within 45 days for retaliation of you filing a grievance. Often times, the retaliation case may be combined with your initial reported case, for ease of processing and time guidelines. Be sure to report each occurrence of retaliation within 45 days or it may not be accepted.  Note:  Winning a discrimination case can be tough, however, if you are retaliated against and have good evidence or documentation, you may end up winning or settling on your ‘retaliation’ case because you are in a ‘protected status’ for filing your claim.

Fourth, often times there is very little disciplinary action done against government perpetrators. For example, the Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) has taken action to employ accountability in the Veteran Affairs and a new law was passed according to http://cv4a.org/cva-applauds-house-passage-va-accountability-act/ however, there does not seem to be a lot of accountability in regards to removing employees who meet disciplinary action mandates.   If you decide to ‘settle’ with the government agency you work in, you may consider not signing a “gag order” that keeps you legally from discussing your case with others. Who knows—you may want to write a book or share your story to help others who deal with government workplace bullying. If you have kept great documentation records, you may want to hold your ‘ground’ and refuse to sign a ‘gag order’ settlement agreement that most government attorneys will want you to sign.  Remember—it’s negotiable, but you must have the courage, documentation, and the willpower to demand it.

Fifth, workplace bullying takes a toll on your mental and physical health.   You must find balance, peace, and positive distractions so that you can stand up to your bullies, demand your entitled rights, and own your personal power.  It’s imperative to find a modality that helps you manage your stress.  You may find great relaxation with yoga, deep breathing exercises, meditation or another modality that resonates with you.  Also, learning how to empower yourself is one of the best ways to step up and own your ‘personal power’.  Find a coach, mentor, clergy member or someone that can help you to find your own confidence and empowerment that is within you.  Claiming your ‘personal power’ and becoming empowered is the greatest revenge of all when it comes to workplace bullying in the government.

P.S.  Did you know you can request a complimentary 20 minute “find your voice/strength here:  Get Advice or Coaching  As an anti-bullying speaker, author, coach, and HR consultant, I am able to help others stand up to workplace bullying.

 

Blog

Pages

Why Are There So Many “People of Color” in the Projects?

I used to wonder why so many “people of color” were living in the “Projects” in Asheville NC, which is my hometown. Surely, most of them want to work and live a dignified life like most Americans.  Everyone has their own thoughts, but I am going to share mine. When I moved to Asheville, NC after retiring from the Air Force, I noticed that there were very few people of color in Asheville.  After working only a few days in my former government agency, I realized there was a serious problem going on and it had been going on for a long time.  It was time to address the matter and to educate others so they could make cultivated decisions about their careers.

Nepotism, which is the illegal hiring of family and friends in the government has been ignored by many and actually celebrated by those who are benefitting from it.  When you have unlawful hiring of family and friends, the moral in the workplace goes down and you see “qualified” people working in the lowest grades in the federal government and “unqualified” people getting hired and promoted in the federal government. Then add in the fact that racial discrimination also plays an important part of why there are so many “people of color” who are suffering from financial drawbacks to not being hired or promoted in my hometown.  You can learn more about racial discrimination at www.EEOC.gov

When I worked in the second largest federal government agency, I noticed that there were only five black employees out of about 550 employees.  I listened to my “white” management brag about hiring their family and friends.  It was disgusting to me as employees would secretly talk to me about the matter because they knew I had worked in Human Resources for over 22 years at the time.  You are probably wondering—yes—I did report it to the Office of Special Counsel in Washington D.C.

Photo Courtesy of Images.google.com, with permission to reuse this picture

Many of these employees had many years of experience and education that should have supported them in receiving a job offer or a promotion if they were already hired in the agency.  But, no, they were being deprived of having a fair opportunity, while unqualified people were hired and promoted because they were friends and family members of management. How do federal supervisors and manager get away with nepotism and racial discrimination?  I will share three ways that can happen.

First, if a federal supervisor/manager wants to hire a “certain person”, they can write a position description (PD) that would “eliminate” other potential people from being qualified.  The PD is written where only this person or very few people are qualified for a job posting.  This is called a prohibited personnel practice (PPP) and it grants the “targeted individual hire” an illegal and unfair disadvantage.  You can research nepotism restrictions in your state at http://www.ncsl.org/research/ethics/50-state-table-nepotism-restrictions.aspx.

Second, only certain federal employees receive training that can later support them receiving a promotion that requires the training they attended, while other employees may be denied this beneficial training. This is also a prohibited personnel practice that is illegal and reportable to the Office of Special Counsel that investigates valid prohibited personnel practices.  You can contact them here:  https://osc.gov

Third, if you are working in a federal agency and you are interviewed for a promotion opportunity, you may be “downgraded” in your skills or capabilities.  For example, when I applied for a supervisor position, I later found out that my supervisor experience was down-graded as if I had never been a supervisor and had no experience as a supervisor.  I had many years of experience as a supervisor and manager.  I found out my “low” supervisory scores I received during my in-house interview when I received access to view my scores and everyone else’s scores that applied for the promotion, through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  You can learn more about accessing FOIA (federal) records here:  https://www.foia.gov/report-makerequest.html

If you are concerned that you were not hired due to nepotism or because of your race, be sure to reach out to the resources I provided in this article.  It is illegal to receive retaliation for being a “whistleblower”.  Yes—retaliation does happen, but if you ignore a serious problem, it does not go away—it lingers.  If you receive any kind of reprisal for filing charges of nepotism, prohibited personnel practices or discrimination based on unfair treatment because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information, be sure to contact the agency you filed the charges with and submit the “alleged retaliation” charges within the required time-frame required for each agency.  Most reprisals have to be submitted within 45 calendar days of the retaliation action.

If you are looking for resources on workplace bullying or discrimination you can find many answers here:  http://www.fspagainstbullying.org/workplace-bullying.html

Every Wednesday, you can watch a new video (1 -3 mins) I put out weekly, that addresses workplace bullying and discrimination solutions.  Be sure to “like” our business page: https://www.facebook.com/FiftyShadesOfPurpleAgainstBullying/   so you can get notifications of new videos and other valuable information.

Join our Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/1752823468278515/ so you can get the support and guidance needed if you or another person is experiencing harassment or discrimination in the workplace.

Stay empowered and drop me a line if you found this article to be helpful at http://www.workplacebullyingsupport.com/contact/

 

 

Five Tips to Honor MLK

21795142623_61033c702e_bTick tock…tick tock… time has turned into years and years have unfolded improvements that Martin Luther King was greatly responsible for in the mid-1960s.  The Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act for African Americans changed the laws in America so there would be repercussions for discrimination of race or color.  So now we have a kinder and more equal social justice in the United States.  Ummmm…I don’t think so!!! The EEOC reported that there were over 31,000 charges of racial discrimination reported in 2015.  Senator John Lewis (D-GA) spoke out recently and tweeted, “We must never, ever give up the right to protest for what is right, what is good, and what is necessary.”  If we choose to strive for justice and a kinder world, I have five tips that honor the “great work” of Martin Luther King.

First, be a “light” and don’t meet evil or darkness on its level.  Fighting with people who are bullies or are acting badly will only bring your own spirit and your energy down.  “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that” said Martin Luther King.  He strived for peace in non-violent ways. Rosa Parks was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white person.   Martin Luther King and his followers began to boycott the Montgomery bus public transit system in Alabama.  It was a huge success because most of the bus riders were African American and the boycott created an enormous financial deficit for the company.  Consider how you can make a non-violent action to stand up to injustice. For example, I speak, write, mentor, and I am a 27-year HR expert on workplace bullying and discrimination.  I do this in a compelling manner, but the tone of my actions is non-violent.

Second, learn as much as you can about discrimination so you can become more empowered and educated. Unfortunately, workplace bullying is not illegal, but discrimination is illegal.  With the exception that “retaliation” for reporting discrimination is illegal if a person has initiated discrimination charges to an agency like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. While the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) has lost power over the years, today we have organized groups who have the ability to enforce civility in the workplace, but not enough is being done to fix hostile work environments. Why not foster your skills and learn more about your rights to a safe and non-hostile work environment in my blog articles on my website.

Third, if you are enduring harmful behavior from others or you need help to speak your “truth,” why not find a mentor, spiritual leader or a life coach to support you.  I wrote an article, “Five Tips Before You Hire a Life Coach” to share guidance in finding ethical and competent Life Coaches.

Fourth, consider seeking legal counsel if you have questions about discrimination because of your race, color, sexual orientation, age, pregnancy, national origin, you are over 40 years old, gender identity, disabilities, genetic information or religion.  For about $20.00 a month, you can seek a lawyer’s advice at Legal Shield.  That is less than the cost of going out to dinner for most people.    An HR professional with expertise in workplace bullying and discrimination may become an essential expert to help you.  When an employee understands their “rights,” they can pursue justice or a fair outcome.   An experienced HR consultant could possibly save you a lot of money by avoiding costly legal fees.  Don’t get me wrong—employment attorneys can be powerful allies, but they will most likely charge more in fees.  I am suggesting that you do seek an attorney if you feel compelled to do so, but why not let an HR consultant support you at a lower cost?   Then you can reach out to an employee attorney later on if needed.

Fifth, be an advocate for social justice and fair treatment of others.  For example, a friend of mine recently saw a Caucasian man castigating an African American woman after she walked out of a grocery store.  He yelled derogatory comments at this lady accusing her of being lazy and that she should not be a drain on society.  Perhaps this woman needed to be on food stamps to support her family.  My friend saw the need to intervene and acted like she knew this woman.  This discouraged the angry man who walked away to his vehicle.  Thanks to my friend, this woman was able to get to her car with her children, with only tears running down her face.  There is no telling what could have happened if there had been no intervention to help this lady get to her car with the assurance that someone cared about her.

There are many ways to honor the late Martin Luther King.  We can all be “extensions” of his advocacy to end discrimination and make this a better world.  Think of ways that you can help positively eliminate injustice and take action.  Follow me on Facebook where I share tips to stand up to workplace bullying and discrimination to executive teams, global leaders, political teams, government leaders, attorneys, mental health professionals, and employees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dos and Don’ts on Social Media When You are Being Bullied at Work

Dawn empowered on the bridgeIt feels great to share your concerns or your victories on social media. It can feel gratifying to get approval or “likes” on your posts.  But—can your social media posts backfire on you?  Yes, they can.  If you are venting about your workplace bullying and using a person’s name, you could be committing defamation of character.  According to http://thelawdictionary.org/article/how-do-you-prove-a-defamation-of-character-claim/:

 Slander and Libel

“There are two different types of defamation of character. The first is when someone verbally says a false statement about you. This is referred to as slander. The second is when someone writes down or publishes a false statement about you. This is referred to as libel.

The Final Step

Once you have proven to the court of law that the statement made against you was, in fact, false the last step is proving that the statement caused some form of damage to you or your reputation. Most lawyers are going to tell you that despite being the last step in the process proving that a statement has caused you harm is the most difficult part of the process. First of all, there is a clear different between a statement having the potential to cause you problems and the statement actually causing you problems. It is only considered defamation of character if the statement has actually caused you harm, not if it has the potential to cause you harm.

In order to win the claim, you are going to need to prove that the false statement has always ruined your reputation. If you are a business owner, for example, you would need to prove how the statement has had a devastating impact on your business. The unfortunate truth is that this does mean you will have to wait for the false statement to cause problems in order for the court to take action against them”.

Everyone has “rights” and if you “verbalize” or “publish” derogatory comments about another person, you could end up with a liability suit against you.  This could get very “sticky” as you will have to prove your comments as being “true”.  This could have the potential to tie you up in court and legal fees for years.  Is it worth it? Most people who are dealing with workplace bullying need an outlet to express their concerns and seek guidance from others who are experiencing the same issues.

A safer way to join a Facebook group that supports people who deal with workplace bullying is to make up a fake (pseudo name). I recommend never using another person’s name in your posts or comments, but discussing your issue in “general terms”.  If you join a Facebook group under your “real name”, be careful with what you post.  Keep out names and circumstances that could be “used” against you if it falls into the wrong hands.  There are cases where the bully or their attorney has compiled social media posts to use against the “bullied”.  It would not serve you for your highest good to have the “other side” to have ammunition to use against you.

Documentation that presents compelling evidence can be very powerful.  If you have made social media posts that could be potentially damaging to you if it gets in the right hands, do your best to delete these posts right away.

There is no way that a Facebook administrator, who is in charge of a Facebook group will be able to know who is the “bully” or “bullied” in their groups.  Anyone can request to join a Facebook group or Twitter group.  Always be careful and If you have a court hearing or an Equal Employment Opportunity Community (EEOC) hearing, the “bully” or attorneys representing the bully may attempt to find a way to access your social media to see if they can find “evidence” or posts that could help them “leverage” control over you.  For example, if you are pursuing an EEO hearing, you have signed a “statement” that you cannot discuss your case, except with certain professionals.  Your case can be thrown out by the EEOC because you “discussed” your case with others that don’t fall under the criteria of the EEOC.

For example, if you are pursuing an EEO hearing, you have signed a “statement” that you cannot discuss your case, except with certain professionals.  Your case can be thrown out by the EEOC because you “discussed” your case with others that don’t fall under the criteria of the EEOC.

Don’t beat yourself up if you have made defamatory remarks about a bully.  Just be mindful in the future and protect yourself.  You never want a bully to hold “power” over you, especially if you can prevent it.  Reach out to resources that can help or encourage you.  Be mindful of social media groups or any group individuals that focus only on the “negativity” of their situation.  Everyone’s story is powerful to them.  The caution you must take is to be mindful of each person’s contribution to the group.  Are they positive or negative?

It is very cathartic (healing) to share how you feel about your bullying situation.  However, some people will not make the effort to improve their situation.  They will wallow in their sorrow because they appreciate the “pity” attention they receive. Some of them will complain and spew negativity, but they will do nothing to help themselves become empowered.   I think most people want to become empowered and want to know how to stand up to workplace bullying.  Pay attention to the people you surround yourself with because their “energy” will rub off on you.

Last, reach out to support groups or create your own ones so you can get the help your need and the support you deserve.  Be smart and remember, “You are always on Parade”.  You are observed by people who are visible and not visible in your life.  The best revenge for workplace bullying is living well and succeeding in life.

If you need help with your own workplace bullying or discrimination matter—you can find resources on my website at www.DawnMarieWestmoreland.com

What Government Employee Bullies Don’t Want You to Know

Dawn sitting on a rock in black and white

 

 

 

 

Let’s face it, depending on whose statistics you use, government workplace bullying is on the rise.  According to http://www.forbes.com/sites/naomishavin/2014/06/25/what-work-place-bullying-looks-like-in-2014-and-how-to-intervene/ “96% of American employees experience bullying in the workplace, and the nature of that bullying is changing”.   Workplace bullying creates a hostile workplace that is devoid of a safe and respectful work environment.  Bullied employees can hardly put out their best work when they are under so much stress. Then they may face disciplinary action because they are not working up to mandated work standards.  Talk about stress and feeling like a ‘victim’!  Holding government workplace bullies accountable can be hard, but I can make it a little easier for you. Let me share five tips for dealing with workplace bullying so you employ these tips and have a better outcome.

The first tip is to document your workplace bullying.  I created a video that explains it further at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1ZrLOMccHg  This video explains the importance of why and how you should document workplace bullying.  I was able to ‘settle’ with the Veteran Affairs (VA) in March 2014 because I had ‘solid” documentation that supported my case of retaliation for being a VA “Whistleblower”.  Two days before my Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) hearing, the VA attorneys were willing to ‘settle’ with me.  I won an emotional victory as I can now write and talk about my own bullying story to help others because I refused to sign a “gag-order” that would keep me from sharing my story.

Second, be mindful that most government Human Resource departments are part of management.  If you are being bullied by management, you are also addressing your bullying situation with your management.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, but you should be aware of your organization’s structure.  Every government agency is required to have information on their bulletin boards such as job safety/health, Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) information, etc., that comply with government requirements.  Here is more information on Equal Employment Opportunity rights:  http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/posters/pdf/eeopost.pdf  Be aware of your rights and who to contact if they are being violated.  For example, if you file a discrimination report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, sex or genetics, you must file within 45 days of the occurrence or the claim may not be accepted.

Third, federal laws prohibit covered entities from retaliating against a person who files a charge of discrimination, participates in a discrimination proceeding, or otherwise opposes an unlawful employment practice.  If you have filed an EEO case or have submitted prohibited personnel information to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and receive retaliation from your workplace, you are entitled to report the alleged allegations within 45 days for retaliation of you filing a grievance. Often times, the retaliation case may be combined with your initial reported case, for ease of processing and time guidelines. Be sure to report each occurrence of retaliation within 45 days or it may not be accepted.  Note:  Winning a discrimination case can be tough, however, if you are retaliated against and have good evidence or documentation, you may end up winning or settling on your ‘retaliation’ case because you are in a ‘protected status’ for filing your claim.

Fourth, often times there is very little disciplinary action done against government perpetrators. For example, the Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) has taken action to employ accountability in the Veteran Affairs and a new law was passed according to http://cv4a.org/cva-applauds-house-passage-va-accountability-act/ however, there does not seem to be a lot of accountability in regards to removing employees who meet disciplinary action mandates.   If you decide to ‘settle’ with the government agency you work in, you may consider not signing a “gag order” that keeps you legally from discussing your case with others. Who knows—you may want to write a book or share your story to help others who deal with government workplace bullying. If you have kept great documentation records, you may want to hold your ‘ground’ and refuse to sign a ‘gag order’ settlement agreement that most government attorneys will want you to sign.  Remember—it’s negotiable, but you must have the courage, documentation, and the willpower to demand it.

Fifth, workplace bullying takes a toll on your mental and physical health.   You must find balance, peace, and positive distractions so that you can stand up to your bullies, demand your entitled rights, and own your personal power.  It’s imperative to find a modality that helps you manage your stress.  You may find great relaxation with yoga, deep breathing exercises, meditation or another modality that resonates with you.  Also, learning how to empower yourself is one of the best ways to step up and own your ‘personal power’.  Find a coach, mentor, clergy member or someone that can help you to find your own confidence and empowerment that is within you.  Claiming your ‘personal power’ and becoming empowered is the greatest revenge of all when it comes to workplace bullying in the government.

P.S.  Did you know you can request a complimentary 20 minute “find your voice/strength here:  Get Advice or Coaching  As an anti-bullying speaker, author, coach, and HR consultant, I am able to help others stand up to workplace bullying.

 

Blog