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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

Are You Being Bullied at Work? Should you go to HR for Help?

 

HR

 

If you are being bullied in the workplace—should you go to Human Resources (HR) for help? Yes and No.  The HR department may be part of your management when it comes to work hierarchy.  If you have an HR department where you work, it may be an “internal” work requirement to seek an HR expert’s assistance in dealing with discrimination or bullying.  BUT—are they there to support you in your time of need?  I am going to share some information to enlighten you.  I can do that—I am an HR expert who spent 22 years in the career field and I am still advising people as an HR consultant.  Here are three tips on seeking HR’s assistance:

First, if your HR department is part of the management of where you work, you must understand that the HR representative may be required to share the information you shared with them, to the director or top manager in your company.  That manager will want to know if there is dissension in the workplace.  If your agency is in the civilian sector, the cost, time, and energy spent on Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) matters or other agencies could destroy or cost the company much embarrassment.  Settlement fees or court costs will likely come out of the company owner’s pocket.  If it’s a government agency, there are still issues of money and time, but “settlement” comes out of the tax payer’s pocket.  An Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) case like the one I had for discrimination and later retaliation/bullying, can easily cost over $150k.

Second, an HR expert in your workplace may purposely try to down-play your accusations of discrimination or bullying because they know how serious the matter can become.  They may turn-it-around on you and state comments that make you fear that you may lose your job over your concerns.  Instead of relying on HR to be your subject matter expert (SME), why not learn everything you can about your rights at your workplace.  You can research policies and laws that would apply in your case.  If this is not for you—consider hiring a professional expert to help you with your matter.  If lack of money is an issue, you may qualify for pro bono assistance from an attorney.  Here is a good site to check out: https://apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/probono/directory.html

Third, if you file charges against your company or agency, you may face retaliation that can come in many forms.  If your HR expert is aware that you are being harassed or retaliated against because you reported someone in your workforce, they may be told to help support management by keeping you in the “dark” about your rights.  They may even be “involved” in attempts to fire you, discredit you, or defame you.  I filed charges of “nepotism” (Illegal hiring of family or friends by management) to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) in Washington D.C.  I had seen numerous managers hiring their family and friends in the Veteran Affairs.  It’s illegal and happens all the time.  It’s no wonder the Veteran Affairs is cited negatively in the news these days.

One of the many charges I filed was an HR employee hiring their grandchild to work for the Veteran Affairs for a summer program for college students.  No announcement had gone out at this time about summer hiring of temporary employees.   This HR employee knew this was a government prohibited personnel practice, but made a choice to ignore mandatory government laws and policies.  There was no turning to this HR employee for help when attempts were made to fire me with illegal allegations, that later proved to be false.

I want to wrap this up that there are many good HR employees out there and many that care about your circumstances.  You may never know if they truly want to help you if they don’t give you the support you need and deserve.  Sometimes, their hands are tied by the management in your workplace.  When I first began working in the Veteran Affairs in HR, I was told that I worked for management and I had to always put management first in all matters.  Think on that one.  I made some managers angry when I told VA employees their rights about Family Medical Leave Act matters and other personnel matters that they were entitled to by law.  Why?  Because some of the managers wanted to keep their employees in the “dark” about their rights and entitlements.  Very sad.  Those managers were fully utilizing their entitlements and wanting to control their employees through fear and manipulation.  The greatest joy in the world to me is to see someone stand up to workplace bullying and know their rights.

If you find yourself confused, dis-empowered or wanting to know more about your rights, be sure to check out my website at www.DawnMarieWestmoreland.com  You have the right to be treated with respect in your workplace and to know your rights as an employee.

How Strong is the Soul After Workplace Bullying?

Dawn in Mar 2012--Two weeks after getting out of the Mental Health ward

Sometimes we are unaware how strong and powerful we are on this earth. The picture of me looking exhausted and dis-empowered was taken two weeks after passing out in my workplace due to the stress of two years of workplace bullying.  My skin really was yellow back then and I had purple discoloration under my eyes at the time of this picture.  I ended up being taken to the Charles George VA Medical Center for treatment from the Midatlantic Consolidated Patient Accounting Center (MACPAC), which is the “revenue” agency within the Veteran Affairs. I had reported numerous managers for nepotism (illegal hiring of family and friends in the government by management) and other prohibited personnel matters. My management did everything they could to “break” me and to get me to quit my job, but I was determined to hold them accountable, which I did in March 2014. It was an “emotional victory” when I was able to refuse signing a “gag order” settlement that would keep me quiet and unable to share my story to help others who deal with workplace bullying.

Memories of all the “tactics” used to harm me, actually “liberated” me. If you are being bullied in the workplace, you also can become “liberated” too. I look back at all the false charges placed upon my character as I was on Administrative Leave for about 100 days, the wrongful denial of being given a medical Reasonable Accommodation as a severely disabled veteran, the hateful looks, and the denial of promotions, while management’s friends rose in their own promotion system, which was illegal. Reflecting back, I remember the man who called me on December 23, 2014 and told me he wanted to hire my healing services, but wanted no records and he would pay with cash. He asked me if I worked with gay people. That made me highly suspicious of this being a deceitful natured call. Who calls someone and asks if they work with “gay people”? I knew my Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) hearing was coming up in a couple of months and my “gut” was telling me that this call was not from a honest man. The entire call sounded like a “script” being read. Highly suspicious!

“Red flags” were coming up for me and I felt that this was no ordinary call. When I accepted the call and answered it, I had noticed it was from a “restricted’ caller, which denied me their phone number on my caller identification. While I listened to him, my intuition was also providing me with “insight” that this was not a normal call and he was up to something “shady”. I could even hear machinery in the background, which was common while I was waiting for my Equal Employment Opportunity hearing with the Administrative judge. I felt like the call was a “trap” of some kind and politely told the man that I did not feel that we were a good “fit” to work together and ended the call. Later 30 pages of my Facebook posts were entered into the “discovery” phase of the EEO process. All of my posts were positive and inspirational, which baffled my attorney and I. It appeared to me that desperate attempts were made to find something derogatory on me. That never happened. I had done no wrong.

When you deal with workplace bullying, you may experience a little or a lot of bullying. It really does not matter how much harm you receive–it’s how you perceive your own situation. Your thoughts form your belief system. Isn’t it time to evaluate if your belief system is supporting you for your highest good? Maybe it’s time to take a deep breath, and allow that breath to slowly be released, along with releasing old thought patterns that are keeping you trapped and small in your life.

You may be wondering how you can become liberated from workplace bullying. If you are a sensitive person, you may have a harder time working with aggressive workplace bullies. They sense that you are a “nice person” and according to statistics with the Workplace Bullying Institute, up to 37% of the people who are bullied in the workplace are targeted because they are compassionate and kind people. Often times, bullies perceive you as a “weak” person or an “easy target” to harass. Sometimes our “gifts” in our life come in ugly wrapping paper. The lesson or “gift” you may get out of bullying can help you to find comfort, healing, and owning your “personal power”. Let me explain. For me–I had to realize that the biggest bully was myself for thinking I was a “victim” during this time. That lesson propelled me forward to work on my own personal issues and become “free” from my past dis-empowerment. You may find that you get the “gift” of learning you need to set healthy boundaries in your life with all people or you may discover you need to work on having more self love and self respect. This give you the opportunity to discern on ways to “liberate” yourself and become happier in your life.

No matter how bad your situation is around workplace bullying, there is always an option you may never have thought about or an action you should take on your behalf. Keeping good records is always important. You can learn more about the importance and how to document at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1ZrLOMccHg  Once you “liberate” yourself and stand in your power, you may move onto a better job where you are treated with respect or you may become an entrepreneur like myself. What ever you do–live your soul’s purpose with great joy!

p.s.  If you would like a complimentary 20 minute strategy session with me about workplace bullying.  Reach out and contact me at www.DawnMarieWestmoreland.com

Dawn empowered on the bridge

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.

 

Why Fear is Important in our Lives

Why is it that we dislike being “fearful”? Why do we allow it to hold us “hostage” in our lives? I am not writing about fear of “rational” things like poisonous snakes and matters of safety.   More like, living small because of the “inner bully” in ourselves that wants to keep us small and protected by not living our soul’s calling with great joy. Often times our “inner critic” will try to serve us in ways that are not for our highest good. For example, when I began to train as a Life Coach, I knew that I was going to be doing work that I am passionate about, but I also was nervous about going “BIG” because I am an introvert. OK—an “extroverted” introvert to be more accurate.

Admitting raw and real stories about my past was the hardest thing for me to do, but yet, I do write and talk about them. I share with others about being sexually molested as a child, childhood/adult bullying, an alcoholic marriage, and landing in the Mental Health ward after dealing with two years of horrendous bullying for being a Veteran Affairs “Whistleblower”. As I wrote about these events in my book, there was a part of me that wanted to “hide” under the bed and not share these events with others. Part of me was fearful and it felt scary to be so authentic about these circumstances in my life. While these feelings were distressful and fearful to me, I received the message, “Yes, you can do this and you are going to help a lot of people by telling your story and how you overcame your own dis-empowerment”.

When I worked in the Midatlantic Consolidated Patient Accounting Center (MACPAC), which is a division of the Veteran Affairs in West Asheville, NC, I witnessed a lot of fearful people who were afraid to speak out about the nepotism (illegal hiring of family & friends) and other prohibited personnel actions that were going on in this VA agency. It made me sick to see the fear on these people’s faces and I knew that when I turned in the management of the MACPAC, that I would be paying a high price. I did it anyway. Yes—I was fearful, but in the large picture of that event, I knew that it was important to change the unfair hiring practices and expose the bullying that happened when conscientious “whistleblowers” like myself turn these illegal practices in to government agencies that handle these matters.

I could have done nothing and then everything would remain the same in my former job, within the MACPAC. While feeling scared and knowing so many people would turn against me, I turned in my management to the Office of Special Counsel in Washington D.C. and to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in Charlotte, NC. Why was I fearful? Because I turned in over 15 people for prohibited personnel actions and they ganged up on me very quickly. While being fearful, I still held them accountable and “settled” with the Veteran Affairs in March 2014, without a “gag order”.   Often I get asked how I can tell my story when I settled with the Veteran Affairs. I can tell my story because I refused to sign a settlement with the VA that would keep me quiet. The VA attorneys finally agreed to this settlement, two days before the EEOC hearing. Moving through all of my fear made me a “victor” in the end.

We are always going to feel “fear”. It is what we do with it that counts. We can stay stuck or we can move through it. How we deal with “fear” is important.   Do we listen to our “inner critic” that says to play small, stay silent, stay hidden and don’t take chances? Or do we listen to our soul that says to keep moving through our “fears” and to follow our soul’s purpose for being on this earth? We get to choose how we deal with fear. The reason why fear is so important in our life is because we get to “play” bigger in our lives if we move through our fears.   First, fear can inspire us to take positive action.   Fear can push us to take the actions we need in our life and create wonderful opportunities.   Second, we can become “liberated” when we move through our fears and accomplish worthy goals. It can push us out of our comfort zone and created a new life for us if we allow it to happen. Third, fear can build our confidence because when we do something positive that makes us fearful, it can make us stronger and more confident.   So, anytime we are dealing with “fear”, consider what side of fear we want to be on— the “empowered” side or the “victim” side.  For I am not letting the “inner critic” in my head win.   I am heading to the Vancouver area to do a workshop on “Overcoming Fear” with my friend, Wendy McClelland on Sept 26th, 2015.   I am hoping you will want to become more empowered and live the life you are supposed to live on this earth.

If you would like to learn more about “overcoming” your old “stories” and moving through fear, check out my book, “The Empowered Whistleblower: A Practical and Spiritual Path to Personal Power” at http://getbook.at/Dawn   You can also get a complimentary copy of my first chapter at www.TheEmpoweredWhistleblower.comDawn looking to the side with mike

Services

Dawn Westmoreland Consulting, LLC

bullying

For Global Leaders, Executive or Political Teams, Government Administrators, and Managers:

Bullying

For Employers

  • With Dawn’s 27 years of Human Resources expertise, she develops an action plan for prevention or correction of workplace bullying
  • Hire Dawn for your company as a speaker, mentor, or HR consultant on workplace bullying and discrimination
  • Develop a healthy workplace culture and protect your company or agency from unnecessary potential of a lawsuit
  • Guidance to create and maintain civility in your workplace: a cultural assessment, review of employees EEO training, effective documentation training of bullying/discrimination behavior, strategic civil work solutions, reviewing and implementing of effective work performance standards, which can reduce EEO and litigation risks with employees
  • Civility  EEO, and Bystander training for your employees and managers
  • Leadership coaching to achieve a healthy and respectful work environment with on-going review of plans to achieve your corporate values and mission

Mallet of justice!

For Attorneys:

Buddha

For Spiritual Leaders and Mental Health Professionals:

  • Subject matter expert (SME) support and strategies to aid your discriminated/bullied clients
  • Continuing Learning Education (CLE) support and education
  • 27 years of experience to assist you as an expert witness on workplace harassment/bullying as a speaker, author, professional coach and HR consultant
  • Skilled subject matter expert guidance and strategies to support your discriminated/bullied clients
  • Speaking engagements on workplace bullying/discrimination and empowerment
  • Training and consulting so that you can support your clients and parishioners

Senior business woman lecturing at Conference.

Speaking Engagements:

Dawn in Red Jacket

Consultation / Coaching / Speaking Pricing

Currently, Dawn speaks on these five keynote topics:

Some Gifts Come in Ugly Wrapping Paper

Break free from your dis-empowerment! This keynote workshop will show you how to unwrap your ‘gifts’, and find your voice, strength, and personal power.

 How to Stand Up to Workplace Bullying and Discrimination

How can you protect yourself from workplace bullying? Dawn’s 27 years of HR experience will shed light on the documentation, resources, and empowerment strategies you need!

Where is Your “Shout”?

Don’t work in a job you hate – review your skills, sharpen your talents, and find the perfect position for you! After this keynote speech, you won’t want to sit silently anymore.

Your Dream Needs a Voice

Do you feel like people walk all over you? In this keynote address, learn how to set healthy boundaries, pursue your dreams, and gain the tools you need to empower your life.

Lessons I Learned from Landing in the Mental Health Ward

No one wants to exhibit “victim” behavior, but what do you do when you feel hopeless, lost, or harmed? Dawn’s experiences shed light on the ways we evaluate the energy we put out into the world, and methods for improving your life with peace using proven strategies.

 


Contact Dawn for a customized price for your needs.

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About Dawn



Dawn Marie Westmoreland has always found her joy in inspiring, supporting, and empowering those who need it most. That joy has been reflected in her career and continues to be her driving force to this day. Dawn has also experienced workplace bullying and discrimination first-hand.  In 2012, Dawn reported her former government agency to the Office of Special Counsel and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for prohibited personnel practices and retaliation. As a result, her managers and co-workers turned on her, and she was subjected to two years of horrific workplace bullying and discrimination.

These years wreaked havoc on Dawn’s mental and physical health, but she persevered. Holding her workplace bullies accountable, Dawn settled with her employer outside of court. Because of her knowledge of HR and leadership skills, she has no gag order to prevent her from sharing her story to empower others who look to her for help. This experience, as well as overcoming her personal history of abuse, has strengthened Dawn’s personal mission to educate and inspire those who are or have suffered from workplace bullying and discrimination.

Dawn is on the Board of Directors with Fifty Shades of Purple Against Bullying as a subject matter expert on workplace bullying and discrimination.  Learn more about FSP Against Bullying here:  FSP Against Bullying

If you are looking for inspiration, healing, education, and empowerment–follow Dawn’s weekly “Wednesdays With Westmoreland” videos at “Wednesdays With Westmoreland”

You can also learn more about Dawn here: Dawn’s Story

Erin Brokovich and I will be doing some projects together in the future. We both share the love of advocacy of serving those who need our help.


Brandon Coleman (far right) was the first person Dawn supported with HR Consulting after starting her business as an HR consultant, author, speaker, and coach on workplace bullying and discrimination. Brandon shares his testimonial on Dawn Westmoreland: Dawn is a caring compassionate individual with tremendous firsthand knowledge of bullying and whistleblower retaliation within the Federal Workforce. After I came forward to Office of Special Counsel in December 2014 as a VA Whistleblower Dawn and I spoke or emailed quite regularly and her wisdom and “go get em” attitude helped me over the next 18 months to see my case through and win so I could get back to helping Veterans. I will always be grateful to Dawn for her help and consider her a friend. ~ Brandon Coleman, Whistleblower, Addiction Therapist, Anthem CBOC, VA Health Care System


Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) asked Dawn to share her “Veteran Affairs Whistleblowing” story with over 30 Senators and to ask for their support in protecting Veteran Affairs Whistleblowers in Apr 2015.


In April 2015, the Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) sent Dawn to Washington, D.C. to educate Senators on the need to protect Veteran Affairs Whistleblowers. Since then, President Trump signed an executive order to create the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, a new office within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Dawn and 26 other co-authors came together and became Amazon Best-selling authors for writing the “Strength of My Soul” anthology book about overcoming hardships in life.


Dawn is being interviewed by SharRon Jamison about her workplace bullying/discrimination story and how she is serving others today with her experience and skills.


Dawn is with her fun-loving peer coaches as her eight- month coaching course wraps up in Miami, FL in 2014.


Dawn retiring after serving over 20 years in the United States Air Force. While serving in the Air Force, Dawn earned a Business/Managment degree and went on to earn three other degrees, to include a masters in Management/Human Resources. Dawn worked in the Pentagon, served in President H.W. Bush’s inauguration, and worked mainly in Air Force special assignments due to her professionalism and leadership skills.


Professional Qualifications

With a Master’s degree in Management/Human Resources and twenty-seven years of Human Resources experience, Dawn’s career has followed her passion for empowering others. Her qualifications include:

  • Subject Matter Expert (SME) and Expert Witness on workplace bullying/discrimination
  • HR Consultant on Workplace Bullying, Discrimination, Policies & Procedures, and more
  • Board member/expert for Fifty Shades of Purple (anti-bullying initiatives/resources)
  • Workplace Bullying / Discrimination Training and Development
  • Certified Life Coach
  • Mediation and Advocacy
  • Staff Recruitment and Retention
  • Experience with Family Medical Leave Act, American Disability Act, Equal Employment Opportunity and Worker’s Compensation
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • And more!

Dawn is honorably retired from the United States Air Force, after twenty years of service. Since then, she has authored two books, appeared on more than fifty radio shows, and written seven magazine articles. She has been lauded by both the Concerned Veterans for America Organization and the Christian Science Monitor for her work.


Standing up to unfairness in the workplace takes a great deal of courage, strength, and persistence. Dawn has been through her own horrific experience and held her bullies accountable. Why not hire Dawn to be your subject matter expert on workplace bullying and discrimination?


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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

Are You Being Bullied at Work? Should you go to HR for Help?

 

HR

 

If you are being bullied in the workplace—should you go to Human Resources (HR) for help? Yes and No.  The HR department may be part of your management when it comes to work hierarchy.  If you have an HR department where you work, it may be an “internal” work requirement to seek an HR expert’s assistance in dealing with discrimination or bullying.  BUT—are they there to support you in your time of need?  I am going to share some information to enlighten you.  I can do that—I am an HR expert who spent 22 years in the career field and I am still advising people as an HR consultant.  Here are three tips on seeking HR’s assistance:

First, if your HR department is part of the management of where you work, you must understand that the HR representative may be required to share the information you shared with them, to the director or top manager in your company.  That manager will want to know if there is dissension in the workplace.  If your agency is in the civilian sector, the cost, time, and energy spent on Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) matters or other agencies could destroy or cost the company much embarrassment.  Settlement fees or court costs will likely come out of the company owner’s pocket.  If it’s a government agency, there are still issues of money and time, but “settlement” comes out of the tax payer’s pocket.  An Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) case like the one I had for discrimination and later retaliation/bullying, can easily cost over $150k.

Second, an HR expert in your workplace may purposely try to down-play your accusations of discrimination or bullying because they know how serious the matter can become.  They may turn-it-around on you and state comments that make you fear that you may lose your job over your concerns.  Instead of relying on HR to be your subject matter expert (SME), why not learn everything you can about your rights at your workplace.  You can research policies and laws that would apply in your case.  If this is not for you—consider hiring a professional expert to help you with your matter.  If lack of money is an issue, you may qualify for pro bono assistance from an attorney.  Here is a good site to check out: https://apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/probono/directory.html

Third, if you file charges against your company or agency, you may face retaliation that can come in many forms.  If your HR expert is aware that you are being harassed or retaliated against because you reported someone in your workforce, they may be told to help support management by keeping you in the “dark” about your rights.  They may even be “involved” in attempts to fire you, discredit you, or defame you.  I filed charges of “nepotism” (Illegal hiring of family or friends by management) to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) in Washington D.C.  I had seen numerous managers hiring their family and friends in the Veteran Affairs.  It’s illegal and happens all the time.  It’s no wonder the Veteran Affairs is cited negatively in the news these days.

One of the many charges I filed was an HR employee hiring their grandchild to work for the Veteran Affairs for a summer program for college students.  No announcement had gone out at this time about summer hiring of temporary employees.   This HR employee knew this was a government prohibited personnel practice, but made a choice to ignore mandatory government laws and policies.  There was no turning to this HR employee for help when attempts were made to fire me with illegal allegations, that later proved to be false.

I want to wrap this up that there are many good HR employees out there and many that care about your circumstances.  You may never know if they truly want to help you if they don’t give you the support you need and deserve.  Sometimes, their hands are tied by the management in your workplace.  When I first began working in the Veteran Affairs in HR, I was told that I worked for management and I had to always put management first in all matters.  Think on that one.  I made some managers angry when I told VA employees their rights about Family Medical Leave Act matters and other personnel matters that they were entitled to by law.  Why?  Because some of the managers wanted to keep their employees in the “dark” about their rights and entitlements.  Very sad.  Those managers were fully utilizing their entitlements and wanting to control their employees through fear and manipulation.  The greatest joy in the world to me is to see someone stand up to workplace bullying and know their rights.

If you find yourself confused, dis-empowered or wanting to know more about your rights, be sure to check out my website at www.DawnMarieWestmoreland.com  You have the right to be treated with respect in your workplace and to know your rights as an employee.

How Strong is the Soul After Workplace Bullying?

Dawn in Mar 2012--Two weeks after getting out of the Mental Health ward

Sometimes we are unaware how strong and powerful we are on this earth. The picture of me looking exhausted and dis-empowered was taken two weeks after passing out in my workplace due to the stress of two years of workplace bullying.  My skin really was yellow back then and I had purple discoloration under my eyes at the time of this picture.  I ended up being taken to the Charles George VA Medical Center for treatment from the Midatlantic Consolidated Patient Accounting Center (MACPAC), which is the “revenue” agency within the Veteran Affairs. I had reported numerous managers for nepotism (illegal hiring of family and friends in the government by management) and other prohibited personnel matters. My management did everything they could to “break” me and to get me to quit my job, but I was determined to hold them accountable, which I did in March 2014. It was an “emotional victory” when I was able to refuse signing a “gag order” settlement that would keep me quiet and unable to share my story to help others who deal with workplace bullying.

Memories of all the “tactics” used to harm me, actually “liberated” me. If you are being bullied in the workplace, you also can become “liberated” too. I look back at all the false charges placed upon my character as I was on Administrative Leave for about 100 days, the wrongful denial of being given a medical Reasonable Accommodation as a severely disabled veteran, the hateful looks, and the denial of promotions, while management’s friends rose in their own promotion system, which was illegal. Reflecting back, I remember the man who called me on December 23, 2014 and told me he wanted to hire my healing services, but wanted no records and he would pay with cash. He asked me if I worked with gay people. That made me highly suspicious of this being a deceitful natured call. Who calls someone and asks if they work with “gay people”? I knew my Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) hearing was coming up in a couple of months and my “gut” was telling me that this call was not from a honest man. The entire call sounded like a “script” being read. Highly suspicious!

“Red flags” were coming up for me and I felt that this was no ordinary call. When I accepted the call and answered it, I had noticed it was from a “restricted’ caller, which denied me their phone number on my caller identification. While I listened to him, my intuition was also providing me with “insight” that this was not a normal call and he was up to something “shady”. I could even hear machinery in the background, which was common while I was waiting for my Equal Employment Opportunity hearing with the Administrative judge. I felt like the call was a “trap” of some kind and politely told the man that I did not feel that we were a good “fit” to work together and ended the call. Later 30 pages of my Facebook posts were entered into the “discovery” phase of the EEO process. All of my posts were positive and inspirational, which baffled my attorney and I. It appeared to me that desperate attempts were made to find something derogatory on me. That never happened. I had done no wrong.

When you deal with workplace bullying, you may experience a little or a lot of bullying. It really does not matter how much harm you receive–it’s how you perceive your own situation. Your thoughts form your belief system. Isn’t it time to evaluate if your belief system is supporting you for your highest good? Maybe it’s time to take a deep breath, and allow that breath to slowly be released, along with releasing old thought patterns that are keeping you trapped and small in your life.

You may be wondering how you can become liberated from workplace bullying. If you are a sensitive person, you may have a harder time working with aggressive workplace bullies. They sense that you are a “nice person” and according to statistics with the Workplace Bullying Institute, up to 37% of the people who are bullied in the workplace are targeted because they are compassionate and kind people. Often times, bullies perceive you as a “weak” person or an “easy target” to harass. Sometimes our “gifts” in our life come in ugly wrapping paper. The lesson or “gift” you may get out of bullying can help you to find comfort, healing, and owning your “personal power”. Let me explain. For me–I had to realize that the biggest bully was myself for thinking I was a “victim” during this time. That lesson propelled me forward to work on my own personal issues and become “free” from my past dis-empowerment. You may find that you get the “gift” of learning you need to set healthy boundaries in your life with all people or you may discover you need to work on having more self love and self respect. This give you the opportunity to discern on ways to “liberate” yourself and become happier in your life.

No matter how bad your situation is around workplace bullying, there is always an option you may never have thought about or an action you should take on your behalf. Keeping good records is always important. You can learn more about the importance and how to document at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1ZrLOMccHg  Once you “liberate” yourself and stand in your power, you may move onto a better job where you are treated with respect or you may become an entrepreneur like myself. What ever you do–live your soul’s purpose with great joy!

p.s.  If you would like a complimentary 20 minute strategy session with me about workplace bullying.  Reach out and contact me at www.DawnMarieWestmoreland.com

Dawn empowered on the bridge

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.

 

Why Fear is Important in our Lives

Why is it that we dislike being “fearful”? Why do we allow it to hold us “hostage” in our lives? I am not writing about fear of “rational” things like poisonous snakes and matters of safety.   More like, living small because of the “inner bully” in ourselves that wants to keep us small and protected by not living our soul’s calling with great joy. Often times our “inner critic” will try to serve us in ways that are not for our highest good. For example, when I began to train as a Life Coach, I knew that I was going to be doing work that I am passionate about, but I also was nervous about going “BIG” because I am an introvert. OK—an “extroverted” introvert to be more accurate.

Admitting raw and real stories about my past was the hardest thing for me to do, but yet, I do write and talk about them. I share with others about being sexually molested as a child, childhood/adult bullying, an alcoholic marriage, and landing in the Mental Health ward after dealing with two years of horrendous bullying for being a Veteran Affairs “Whistleblower”. As I wrote about these events in my book, there was a part of me that wanted to “hide” under the bed and not share these events with others. Part of me was fearful and it felt scary to be so authentic about these circumstances in my life. While these feelings were distressful and fearful to me, I received the message, “Yes, you can do this and you are going to help a lot of people by telling your story and how you overcame your own dis-empowerment”.

When I worked in the Midatlantic Consolidated Patient Accounting Center (MACPAC), which is a division of the Veteran Affairs in West Asheville, NC, I witnessed a lot of fearful people who were afraid to speak out about the nepotism (illegal hiring of family & friends) and other prohibited personnel actions that were going on in this VA agency. It made me sick to see the fear on these people’s faces and I knew that when I turned in the management of the MACPAC, that I would be paying a high price. I did it anyway. Yes—I was fearful, but in the large picture of that event, I knew that it was important to change the unfair hiring practices and expose the bullying that happened when conscientious “whistleblowers” like myself turn these illegal practices in to government agencies that handle these matters.

I could have done nothing and then everything would remain the same in my former job, within the MACPAC. While feeling scared and knowing so many people would turn against me, I turned in my management to the Office of Special Counsel in Washington D.C. and to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in Charlotte, NC. Why was I fearful? Because I turned in over 15 people for prohibited personnel actions and they ganged up on me very quickly. While being fearful, I still held them accountable and “settled” with the Veteran Affairs in March 2014, without a “gag order”.   Often I get asked how I can tell my story when I settled with the Veteran Affairs. I can tell my story because I refused to sign a settlement with the VA that would keep me quiet. The VA attorneys finally agreed to this settlement, two days before the EEOC hearing. Moving through all of my fear made me a “victor” in the end.

We are always going to feel “fear”. It is what we do with it that counts. We can stay stuck or we can move through it. How we deal with “fear” is important.   Do we listen to our “inner critic” that says to play small, stay silent, stay hidden and don’t take chances? Or do we listen to our soul that says to keep moving through our “fears” and to follow our soul’s purpose for being on this earth? We get to choose how we deal with fear. The reason why fear is so important in our life is because we get to “play” bigger in our lives if we move through our fears.   First, fear can inspire us to take positive action.   Fear can push us to take the actions we need in our life and create wonderful opportunities.   Second, we can become “liberated” when we move through our fears and accomplish worthy goals. It can push us out of our comfort zone and created a new life for us if we allow it to happen. Third, fear can build our confidence because when we do something positive that makes us fearful, it can make us stronger and more confident.   So, anytime we are dealing with “fear”, consider what side of fear we want to be on— the “empowered” side or the “victim” side.  For I am not letting the “inner critic” in my head win.   I am heading to the Vancouver area to do a workshop on “Overcoming Fear” with my friend, Wendy McClelland on Sept 26th, 2015.   I am hoping you will want to become more empowered and live the life you are supposed to live on this earth.

If you would like to learn more about “overcoming” your old “stories” and moving through fear, check out my book, “The Empowered Whistleblower: A Practical and Spiritual Path to Personal Power” at http://getbook.at/Dawn   You can also get a complimentary copy of my first chapter at www.TheEmpoweredWhistleblower.comDawn looking to the side with mike

Services

Dawn Westmoreland Consulting, LLC

bullying

For Global Leaders, Executive or Political Teams, Government Administrators, and Managers:

Bullying

For Employers

  • With Dawn’s 27 years of Human Resources expertise, she develops an action plan for prevention or correction of workplace bullying
  • Hire Dawn for your company as a speaker, mentor, or HR consultant on workplace bullying and discrimination
  • Develop a healthy workplace culture and protect your company or agency from unnecessary potential of a lawsuit
  • Guidance to create and maintain civility in your workplace: a cultural assessment, review of employees EEO training, effective documentation training of bullying/discrimination behavior, strategic civil work solutions, reviewing and implementing of effective work performance standards, which can reduce EEO and litigation risks with employees
  • Civility  EEO, and Bystander training for your employees and managers
  • Leadership coaching to achieve a healthy and respectful work environment with on-going review of plans to achieve your corporate values and mission

Mallet of justice!

For Attorneys:

Buddha

For Spiritual Leaders and Mental Health Professionals:

  • Subject matter expert (SME) support and strategies to aid your discriminated/bullied clients
  • Continuing Learning Education (CLE) support and education
  • 27 years of experience to assist you as an expert witness on workplace harassment/bullying as a speaker, author, professional coach and HR consultant
  • Skilled subject matter expert guidance and strategies to support your discriminated/bullied clients
  • Speaking engagements on workplace bullying/discrimination and empowerment
  • Training and consulting so that you can support your clients and parishioners

Senior business woman lecturing at Conference.

Speaking Engagements:

Dawn in Red Jacket

Consultation / Coaching / Speaking Pricing

Currently, Dawn speaks on these five keynote topics:

Some Gifts Come in Ugly Wrapping Paper

Break free from your dis-empowerment! This keynote workshop will show you how to unwrap your ‘gifts’, and find your voice, strength, and personal power.

 How to Stand Up to Workplace Bullying and Discrimination

How can you protect yourself from workplace bullying? Dawn’s 27 years of HR experience will shed light on the documentation, resources, and empowerment strategies you need!

Where is Your “Shout”?

Don’t work in a job you hate – review your skills, sharpen your talents, and find the perfect position for you! After this keynote speech, you won’t want to sit silently anymore.

Your Dream Needs a Voice

Do you feel like people walk all over you? In this keynote address, learn how to set healthy boundaries, pursue your dreams, and gain the tools you need to empower your life.

Lessons I Learned from Landing in the Mental Health Ward

No one wants to exhibit “victim” behavior, but what do you do when you feel hopeless, lost, or harmed? Dawn’s experiences shed light on the ways we evaluate the energy we put out into the world, and methods for improving your life with peace using proven strategies.

 


Contact Dawn for a customized price for your needs.

Blog

About Dawn



Dawn Marie Westmoreland has always found her joy in inspiring, supporting, and empowering those who need it most. That joy has been reflected in her career and continues to be her driving force to this day. Dawn has also experienced workplace bullying and discrimination first-hand.  In 2012, Dawn reported her former government agency to the Office of Special Counsel and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for prohibited personnel practices and retaliation. As a result, her managers and co-workers turned on her, and she was subjected to two years of horrific workplace bullying and discrimination.

These years wreaked havoc on Dawn’s mental and physical health, but she persevered. Holding her workplace bullies accountable, Dawn settled with her employer outside of court. Because of her knowledge of HR and leadership skills, she has no gag order to prevent her from sharing her story to empower others who look to her for help. This experience, as well as overcoming her personal history of abuse, has strengthened Dawn’s personal mission to educate and inspire those who are or have suffered from workplace bullying and discrimination.

Dawn is on the Board of Directors with Fifty Shades of Purple Against Bullying as a subject matter expert on workplace bullying and discrimination.  Learn more about FSP Against Bullying here:  FSP Against Bullying

If you are looking for inspiration, healing, education, and empowerment–follow Dawn’s weekly “Wednesdays With Westmoreland” videos at “Wednesdays With Westmoreland”

You can also learn more about Dawn here: Dawn’s Story

Erin Brokovich and I will be doing some projects together in the future. We both share the love of advocacy of serving those who need our help.


Brandon Coleman (far right) was the first person Dawn supported with HR Consulting after starting her business as an HR consultant, author, speaker, and coach on workplace bullying and discrimination. Brandon shares his testimonial on Dawn Westmoreland: Dawn is a caring compassionate individual with tremendous firsthand knowledge of bullying and whistleblower retaliation within the Federal Workforce. After I came forward to Office of Special Counsel in December 2014 as a VA Whistleblower Dawn and I spoke or emailed quite regularly and her wisdom and “go get em” attitude helped me over the next 18 months to see my case through and win so I could get back to helping Veterans. I will always be grateful to Dawn for her help and consider her a friend. ~ Brandon Coleman, Whistleblower, Addiction Therapist, Anthem CBOC, VA Health Care System


Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) asked Dawn to share her “Veteran Affairs Whistleblowing” story with over 30 Senators and to ask for their support in protecting Veteran Affairs Whistleblowers in Apr 2015.


In April 2015, the Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) sent Dawn to Washington, D.C. to educate Senators on the need to protect Veteran Affairs Whistleblowers. Since then, President Trump signed an executive order to create the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, a new office within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Dawn and 26 other co-authors came together and became Amazon Best-selling authors for writing the “Strength of My Soul” anthology book about overcoming hardships in life.


Dawn is being interviewed by SharRon Jamison about her workplace bullying/discrimination story and how she is serving others today with her experience and skills.


Dawn is with her fun-loving peer coaches as her eight- month coaching course wraps up in Miami, FL in 2014.


Dawn retiring after serving over 20 years in the United States Air Force. While serving in the Air Force, Dawn earned a Business/Managment degree and went on to earn three other degrees, to include a masters in Management/Human Resources. Dawn worked in the Pentagon, served in President H.W. Bush’s inauguration, and worked mainly in Air Force special assignments due to her professionalism and leadership skills.


Professional Qualifications

With a Master’s degree in Management/Human Resources and twenty-seven years of Human Resources experience, Dawn’s career has followed her passion for empowering others. Her qualifications include:

  • Subject Matter Expert (SME) and Expert Witness on workplace bullying/discrimination
  • HR Consultant on Workplace Bullying, Discrimination, Policies & Procedures, and more
  • Board member/expert for Fifty Shades of Purple (anti-bullying initiatives/resources)
  • Workplace Bullying / Discrimination Training and Development
  • Certified Life Coach
  • Mediation and Advocacy
  • Staff Recruitment and Retention
  • Experience with Family Medical Leave Act, American Disability Act, Equal Employment Opportunity and Worker’s Compensation
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • And more!

Dawn is honorably retired from the United States Air Force, after twenty years of service. Since then, she has authored two books, appeared on more than fifty radio shows, and written seven magazine articles. She has been lauded by both the Concerned Veterans for America Organization and the Christian Science Monitor for her work.


Standing up to unfairness in the workplace takes a great deal of courage, strength, and persistence. Dawn has been through her own horrific experience and held her bullies accountable. Why not hire Dawn to be your subject matter expert on workplace bullying and discrimination?