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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prozac or a Life Coach?

Dawn at her birthday party!If you had the choice, would you choose to take Prozac for “mild” depression or would you hire a Life Coach?  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. It is a leading cause of disability.  When it comes to what creates depression, you may want to consider the benefits of Prozac or any other mind-altering pharmaceutical or what paybacks you will get from working with a Life Coach.

It’s important to listen to your doctor and follow sage advice.  If you are dealing with depression—you may need pharmaceutical medicine to manage your depression. It may help you to find “stability” in your life or to find a way to cope with your depression. But—what if you could see how you have created your depression through hiring a Life Coach?  Sometimes you need another person to show you how you have become your own “worst bully” in your life.

For example, if you allow others to mistreat your or disrespect you, this could be causing you to have depression.  Working with a Life Coach who is well-suited to support your needs and goals can help you to “break” some habits that aren’t for you highest good.  See my blog on hiring the right Life coach:  http://dawnmariewestmoreland.com/2015/09/27/five-tips-before-hiring-a-life-coach/

If you have allowed yourself to be bullied by others, your self-esteem and self-love may be at an all-time low.  No one wants to be bullied.  It’s plain awful.   Often times, bullies target people who they feel are weak and easy to bully.   The harm—mental and physical can put you in a state of mind that is hard to overcome.  Every person feels their story is powerful to them.  Their perception is real to them.

One out of four women has been sexually molested, while one out of six men has experienced this also according to “Our Voice”, which is a non-profit organization in Asheville, NC that serves sexual assault abuse through counseling, advocacy, and education.  If you have experienced sexual abuse and have not been able to heal from it, you may be feeling insecure, have low self-esteem or self-love.   You may not mix well with others or you tend to be quieter than others.  Workplace bullies pick up on these tendencies and prey on those who they think are weak.

What if you could learn to love and respect yourself?  Chances are that you would have “healthier boundaries” with others.  You may learn how to be an “observer”, instead of an “absorber” when you deal with narcissistic bullies in the workplace.  Learning how to be a non-player in other people’s drama is very empowering and liberating.  Sometimes the greatest teachers are the narcissistic bully.

You can learn how to stand up to workplace bullying and you can find that with the right Life Coach. You will never find it by taking Prozac.  Now, don’t get me wrong—there is no “shame” in taking care of yourself and being on medication if you really need it.  Please make sound decisions when dealing with your health and well-being.  Listen to your doctor.

However, if you don’t learn how to set healthy boundaries in your life and to truly love yourself, you will probably be dealing with negative circumstances, over and over in your life.  It’s time to set yourself free from your “old stories”.  It’s time to own your “stories”, instead of your stories “owning” you.   Consider working with a Life Coach and learn how you can break your “chains” of dis-empowerment and live a better life.

Many Life Coaches have been in your “shoes” before and that is why they are attracted to helping others who have similar circumstances as they have in their life.   Some Life Coaches have worked on themselves and improved their own self-development before reaching out to help others.  There is nothing like being stuck in the “mud” and then overcoming the circumstances.

If you can learn how to become empowered, it’s like being taught how to fish.  Instead of someone giving you fish to eat, you learn to catch your own fish.  You become independent and trust yourself.  You get the point.  Claiming your personal power means holding yourself accountable to make wiser decisions and to get the help you deserve.  Many of the famous spiritual leaders in our world have gone through massive “transformations” to become who they are today.  They have been badly abused, they have overcome, and today, they are teaching others how to overcome.

In wrapping up, discern on which side of empowerment you want to be on—the side that keeps you weak and unhappy or the side that allows you to be the greatest version of you?  I hope you choose happiness and being empowered because you deserve it.

If you want more tips on standing up to workplace bullying and empowerment, check out www.DawnMarieWestmoreland.com and be sure to follow Dawn Marie Westmoreland on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/HealingThymeSvcs You will learn how Dawn became a successful government “whistleblower” through her story and how she is helping to empower others to stand up to workplace bullying as a national speaker, author, coach and HR consultant.

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

Workplace Bullying Scare Tactics–Three Tips to Empower You

I talked to a former government employee recently who thought she had “stacked evidence” of disciplinary violations against her from her managers. After talking to this employee, it turns out that her management had set up strategies to scare her as a “whistleblower”. Often times, bully managers will make up “false charges” on an employee to scare them, run them away from their job or discredit them.  BullyWhen you are a conscientious “whistleblower”, you can almost expect retaliation because it exposes the wrong-doer.

Most employees are not HR employees and they don’t know the guidelines, laws, and protocols that support a healthy workplace environment or their rights as an employee.  I was smiling on my end of the phone–because everything was handled in a very unprofessional manner from her managers and from an HR perspective–this employee had nothing to worry about in regards to disciplinary action. In fact–she now had my HR advice to support defamation of character on her part and mental/physical harm that has been done to her.  It’s nice to “arm” employees and teach them their “rights” so they can stand up to workplace bullying. This employee will be working with an attorney and was feeling more empowered after our session.

So, how do you know how to transmute “false charges”’ against you if you have been bullied in the workplace or you are receiving retaliation because you are a “whistleblower”?  Here are three tips:

First, if you know how to research your work’s policies, guidelines, manuals, handbooks etc., start studying them to learn more about your rights.  For example, if you work in the Veteran Affairs (VA), you could research the VA’s handbooks and directives by going to http://www.va.gov/vapubs/  or you could research it on the web by looking for information that governs your workplace.

If you work for the Veteran Affairs, you can research disciplinary action for employees.  You may find information such as the VA disciplinary table, it falls under VA Handbook 5021/15 and is called “Employee/Management Relations”.  Why could this table be important to you?  Because it tells you all the disciplinary range of penalties for stated offenses.  This is important, because if you have been charged with something that is not on this table, you have knowledge of possibly being falsely charged with an offense.

If you have been falsely charged with an offense that is on this table, you can cite this table and the nature of offense when you work with an attorney, HR expert or another professional.  You may be able to use this as proof of bullying or retaliation, especially if you have filed charges against your workplace with the Office of Special Counsel (www.osc.gov) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (www.EEOC.gov).

Second, if you don’t have the time or the energy to do your own research on regulations etc., consider hiring a human resources (HR) professional if you are getting nowhere with your own HR department or there is no HR department where you work.  The money you may save by hiring an HR expert could offset the emotional and financial damage of your workplace bullying situation.  You can also hire an attorney and I would recommend it if you feel the need to hire a legal expert.  Often times, the HR expert will cost less money than an attorney.  In addition, they are able to provide an HR technical review of your workplace bullying situation.  The HR expert is able to review and analyze the facts and documentation you have in regards to your situation.  When I hired my attorney to handle my disability discrimination and retaliation cases, I was able to provide him with great documentation, that ultimately allowed me to settle with the VA and refuse to sign a “gag order” to keep quiet about my story and to help others who deal with workplace bullying.

Third, when you deal with cowardly bullies, they may be desperate to defame you, fire you, or ruin your credibility. It does not matter how strong you think you are—everyone has a breaking point and bullies will do their best to find the weak link in your defenses.  It can take a serious toll on your health.  It’s important to find avenues of relaxation that resonate with you.  You need to focus on everything that is good in your life.  When your mind wanders on any negativity, be sure to bring it back to “neutral” or a more positive thought. Our thoughts form our belief system.  You are worthy of claiming your “personal power” and having a healthy work environment.

In 2016, I will be traveling across the U.S. and speaking about workplace bullying and empowerment in the workplace.  If your organization would like to hire me for speaking, be sure to check out:  http://dawnmariewestmoreland.com/speaking

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Kind People Can Stand Up to Bullying

According to The Bully Institute, http://www.workplacebullying.org/tag/bullying-statistics/ the person who gets targeted the most in the workplace is the person who is considered kind and compassionate. Yikes, what if that is you in the workplace? Well, it was me when I worked in the Midatlantic Consolidated Patient Accounting Center (MACPAC), which is a Veteran Affairs organization in West Asheville, North Carolina.  Years ago, when I worked there,  I was asked by my former management to run an employee assistance program that would help MACPAC employees when they had economic issues that would come up. I was known for my “humanitarian” skills and for caring about other people.

Even though I consider myself a kind and compassionate person, I am a no-nonsense person when it comes to bullying or any kind of mistreatment in the workplace. Everyone is entitled to work in a safe environment and where they are treated with respect. After working 20 years in the Air Force as a female, I learned to be assertive when needed. That skill has come in handy many times in my life. I have never had a problem in being a “nice” person, but you must do so with healthy boundaries too. Let me explain. While I am a nice person, I held my bullies accountable and reported them to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and “settled” in March 2014. I held my “ground” and had great documentation—I “settled” with the Veteran Affairs without a “gag order” that would prevent me from telling my story. How often do you hear about that? You can be nice and you can also stand in your “personal power”.

Your presence and your demeanor tells everyone how you feel about yourself. If you carry yourself with dignity and grace, that is the way you are generally perceived by others. Bullies, who generally have low self-esteem, can pick up your energy and know that you may be an easy target to harass. They generally go after the people they deem as weak.  I realize that there are many kind and “sensitive” souls who have dealt with hardships in their life—divorce, death, bullying, etc. It’s part of your own journey to become your greatest self, but only if you learn your lessons or experience self-growth from these experiences.

If your old “stories” are “owning” you, instead of you “owning” your old stories, then it’s time to heal your past. Nurturing old wounds and not healing them is a sure way to stay small and stuck in your life. You must let go of your “hurtful” past so you can fully live the life you deserve! You can reach out to a trusted clergy person, a coach, mentor, therapist or anyone who is reputable and will help you heal your past. If you want to be truly “free” in your life, you must forgive the perpetrators in your life and let go of your old “stories”. You are forgiving them for your own “healthy” reasons—to move on with your life and heal.

I spent many years dealing with self-loathing and insecurities because I was molested as a young child. After I dealt with forgiving the perpetrator and working on my own self-development, I really found my “inner strength” and began to realize I could now help others because I am on the “other” side. I will admit—it was not easy, but it was worth it! In the past, I have lived in fancy houses and had many materialistic things in my life, but I was not happy. I had attracted an “alcoholic” into my life and my home felt like a “prison” back in those days.   I did not realize at that time, that I was looking through the “lens” of a victim and someone who had not found their “personal power”.   I had attracted many negative things in my life because I had felt “hopeless” and very insecure back then. That has changed, because I took 100% charge of my life and began to “cut” out negative people out of my life as much as possible. I carefully discern on who I want as friends today and it really makes a big difference for me. Today, I have never had more “freedom” and peace in my life. You deserve it too!

Let me share a webinar, which is now a video, I made about “Commanding Respect in Your Life”. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oV12-pzac4   More free resources at  www.DawnMarieWestmoreland.com

 

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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?


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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prozac or a Life Coach?

Dawn at her birthday party!If you had the choice, would you choose to take Prozac for “mild” depression or would you hire a Life Coach?  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. It is a leading cause of disability.  When it comes to what creates depression, you may want to consider the benefits of Prozac or any other mind-altering pharmaceutical or what paybacks you will get from working with a Life Coach.

It’s important to listen to your doctor and follow sage advice.  If you are dealing with depression—you may need pharmaceutical medicine to manage your depression. It may help you to find “stability” in your life or to find a way to cope with your depression. But—what if you could see how you have created your depression through hiring a Life Coach?  Sometimes you need another person to show you how you have become your own “worst bully” in your life.

For example, if you allow others to mistreat your or disrespect you, this could be causing you to have depression.  Working with a Life Coach who is well-suited to support your needs and goals can help you to “break” some habits that aren’t for you highest good.  See my blog on hiring the right Life coach:  http://dawnmariewestmoreland.com/2015/09/27/five-tips-before-hiring-a-life-coach/

If you have allowed yourself to be bullied by others, your self-esteem and self-love may be at an all-time low.  No one wants to be bullied.  It’s plain awful.   Often times, bullies target people who they feel are weak and easy to bully.   The harm—mental and physical can put you in a state of mind that is hard to overcome.  Every person feels their story is powerful to them.  Their perception is real to them.

One out of four women has been sexually molested, while one out of six men has experienced this also according to “Our Voice”, which is a non-profit organization in Asheville, NC that serves sexual assault abuse through counseling, advocacy, and education.  If you have experienced sexual abuse and have not been able to heal from it, you may be feeling insecure, have low self-esteem or self-love.   You may not mix well with others or you tend to be quieter than others.  Workplace bullies pick up on these tendencies and prey on those who they think are weak.

What if you could learn to love and respect yourself?  Chances are that you would have “healthier boundaries” with others.  You may learn how to be an “observer”, instead of an “absorber” when you deal with narcissistic bullies in the workplace.  Learning how to be a non-player in other people’s drama is very empowering and liberating.  Sometimes the greatest teachers are the narcissistic bully.

You can learn how to stand up to workplace bullying and you can find that with the right Life Coach. You will never find it by taking Prozac.  Now, don’t get me wrong—there is no “shame” in taking care of yourself and being on medication if you really need it.  Please make sound decisions when dealing with your health and well-being.  Listen to your doctor.

However, if you don’t learn how to set healthy boundaries in your life and to truly love yourself, you will probably be dealing with negative circumstances, over and over in your life.  It’s time to set yourself free from your “old stories”.  It’s time to own your “stories”, instead of your stories “owning” you.   Consider working with a Life Coach and learn how you can break your “chains” of dis-empowerment and live a better life.

Many Life Coaches have been in your “shoes” before and that is why they are attracted to helping others who have similar circumstances as they have in their life.   Some Life Coaches have worked on themselves and improved their own self-development before reaching out to help others.  There is nothing like being stuck in the “mud” and then overcoming the circumstances.

If you can learn how to become empowered, it’s like being taught how to fish.  Instead of someone giving you fish to eat, you learn to catch your own fish.  You become independent and trust yourself.  You get the point.  Claiming your personal power means holding yourself accountable to make wiser decisions and to get the help you deserve.  Many of the famous spiritual leaders in our world have gone through massive “transformations” to become who they are today.  They have been badly abused, they have overcome, and today, they are teaching others how to overcome.

In wrapping up, discern on which side of empowerment you want to be on—the side that keeps you weak and unhappy or the side that allows you to be the greatest version of you?  I hope you choose happiness and being empowered because you deserve it.

If you want more tips on standing up to workplace bullying and empowerment, check out www.DawnMarieWestmoreland.com and be sure to follow Dawn Marie Westmoreland on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/HealingThymeSvcs You will learn how Dawn became a successful government “whistleblower” through her story and how she is helping to empower others to stand up to workplace bullying as a national speaker, author, coach and HR consultant.

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

Workplace Bullying Scare Tactics–Three Tips to Empower You

I talked to a former government employee recently who thought she had “stacked evidence” of disciplinary violations against her from her managers. After talking to this employee, it turns out that her management had set up strategies to scare her as a “whistleblower”. Often times, bully managers will make up “false charges” on an employee to scare them, run them away from their job or discredit them.  BullyWhen you are a conscientious “whistleblower”, you can almost expect retaliation because it exposes the wrong-doer.

Most employees are not HR employees and they don’t know the guidelines, laws, and protocols that support a healthy workplace environment or their rights as an employee.  I was smiling on my end of the phone–because everything was handled in a very unprofessional manner from her managers and from an HR perspective–this employee had nothing to worry about in regards to disciplinary action. In fact–she now had my HR advice to support defamation of character on her part and mental/physical harm that has been done to her.  It’s nice to “arm” employees and teach them their “rights” so they can stand up to workplace bullying. This employee will be working with an attorney and was feeling more empowered after our session.

So, how do you know how to transmute “false charges”’ against you if you have been bullied in the workplace or you are receiving retaliation because you are a “whistleblower”?  Here are three tips:

First, if you know how to research your work’s policies, guidelines, manuals, handbooks etc., start studying them to learn more about your rights.  For example, if you work in the Veteran Affairs (VA), you could research the VA’s handbooks and directives by going to http://www.va.gov/vapubs/  or you could research it on the web by looking for information that governs your workplace.

If you work for the Veteran Affairs, you can research disciplinary action for employees.  You may find information such as the VA disciplinary table, it falls under VA Handbook 5021/15 and is called “Employee/Management Relations”.  Why could this table be important to you?  Because it tells you all the disciplinary range of penalties for stated offenses.  This is important, because if you have been charged with something that is not on this table, you have knowledge of possibly being falsely charged with an offense.

If you have been falsely charged with an offense that is on this table, you can cite this table and the nature of offense when you work with an attorney, HR expert or another professional.  You may be able to use this as proof of bullying or retaliation, especially if you have filed charges against your workplace with the Office of Special Counsel (www.osc.gov) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (www.EEOC.gov).

Second, if you don’t have the time or the energy to do your own research on regulations etc., consider hiring a human resources (HR) professional if you are getting nowhere with your own HR department or there is no HR department where you work.  The money you may save by hiring an HR expert could offset the emotional and financial damage of your workplace bullying situation.  You can also hire an attorney and I would recommend it if you feel the need to hire a legal expert.  Often times, the HR expert will cost less money than an attorney.  In addition, they are able to provide an HR technical review of your workplace bullying situation.  The HR expert is able to review and analyze the facts and documentation you have in regards to your situation.  When I hired my attorney to handle my disability discrimination and retaliation cases, I was able to provide him with great documentation, that ultimately allowed me to settle with the VA and refuse to sign a “gag order” to keep quiet about my story and to help others who deal with workplace bullying.

Third, when you deal with cowardly bullies, they may be desperate to defame you, fire you, or ruin your credibility. It does not matter how strong you think you are—everyone has a breaking point and bullies will do their best to find the weak link in your defenses.  It can take a serious toll on your health.  It’s important to find avenues of relaxation that resonate with you.  You need to focus on everything that is good in your life.  When your mind wanders on any negativity, be sure to bring it back to “neutral” or a more positive thought. Our thoughts form our belief system.  You are worthy of claiming your “personal power” and having a healthy work environment.

In 2016, I will be traveling across the U.S. and speaking about workplace bullying and empowerment in the workplace.  If your organization would like to hire me for speaking, be sure to check out:  http://dawnmariewestmoreland.com/speaking

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Kind People Can Stand Up to Bullying

According to The Bully Institute, http://www.workplacebullying.org/tag/bullying-statistics/ the person who gets targeted the most in the workplace is the person who is considered kind and compassionate. Yikes, what if that is you in the workplace? Well, it was me when I worked in the Midatlantic Consolidated Patient Accounting Center (MACPAC), which is a Veteran Affairs organization in West Asheville, North Carolina.  Years ago, when I worked there,  I was asked by my former management to run an employee assistance program that would help MACPAC employees when they had economic issues that would come up. I was known for my “humanitarian” skills and for caring about other people.

Even though I consider myself a kind and compassionate person, I am a no-nonsense person when it comes to bullying or any kind of mistreatment in the workplace. Everyone is entitled to work in a safe environment and where they are treated with respect. After working 20 years in the Air Force as a female, I learned to be assertive when needed. That skill has come in handy many times in my life. I have never had a problem in being a “nice” person, but you must do so with healthy boundaries too. Let me explain. While I am a nice person, I held my bullies accountable and reported them to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and “settled” in March 2014. I held my “ground” and had great documentation—I “settled” with the Veteran Affairs without a “gag order” that would prevent me from telling my story. How often do you hear about that? You can be nice and you can also stand in your “personal power”.

Your presence and your demeanor tells everyone how you feel about yourself. If you carry yourself with dignity and grace, that is the way you are generally perceived by others. Bullies, who generally have low self-esteem, can pick up your energy and know that you may be an easy target to harass. They generally go after the people they deem as weak.  I realize that there are many kind and “sensitive” souls who have dealt with hardships in their life—divorce, death, bullying, etc. It’s part of your own journey to become your greatest self, but only if you learn your lessons or experience self-growth from these experiences.

If your old “stories” are “owning” you, instead of you “owning” your old stories, then it’s time to heal your past. Nurturing old wounds and not healing them is a sure way to stay small and stuck in your life. You must let go of your “hurtful” past so you can fully live the life you deserve! You can reach out to a trusted clergy person, a coach, mentor, therapist or anyone who is reputable and will help you heal your past. If you want to be truly “free” in your life, you must forgive the perpetrators in your life and let go of your old “stories”. You are forgiving them for your own “healthy” reasons—to move on with your life and heal.

I spent many years dealing with self-loathing and insecurities because I was molested as a young child. After I dealt with forgiving the perpetrator and working on my own self-development, I really found my “inner strength” and began to realize I could now help others because I am on the “other” side. I will admit—it was not easy, but it was worth it! In the past, I have lived in fancy houses and had many materialistic things in my life, but I was not happy. I had attracted an “alcoholic” into my life and my home felt like a “prison” back in those days.   I did not realize at that time, that I was looking through the “lens” of a victim and someone who had not found their “personal power”.   I had attracted many negative things in my life because I had felt “hopeless” and very insecure back then. That has changed, because I took 100% charge of my life and began to “cut” out negative people out of my life as much as possible. I carefully discern on who I want as friends today and it really makes a big difference for me. Today, I have never had more “freedom” and peace in my life. You deserve it too!

Let me share a webinar, which is now a video, I made about “Commanding Respect in Your Life”. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oV12-pzac4   More free resources at  www.DawnMarieWestmoreland.com

 

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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?