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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.

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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/

 

 

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.

 

Negativity In Your Life?  Three tips to empower you

dawnIt is simply amazing, that as a community of people, there are quite a few miserable people on this earth.  How can this be, when we have so many venues to help us be happier and healthier in our lives?  If you are glued to the TV for the latest sensationalism, you are going to get a big dose of it, but it probably won’t make your day brighter.  Most TV stations are featuring negative and energy-draining broadcasts.  You may know people who are constantly sharing their fears or negativity about life, their work or about relationships.  We are conditioned by our culture, community, parents, teachers, mentors, and others who may share their concerns with you.   Many probably mean well and don’t realize the impact they are imparting on others.  In reality, they do their best with the experience and conditioning they have received in their lives.  Don’t fret!  We do have choices and can choose our thoughts and actions wisely.

First, pay attention to your inner guidance or your feelings.  If you have a “gut” feeling that something is not right, don’t dismiss it as nonsense.  We are all equipped with different “gifts” of intuition.  Trust yourself and your intuition.  For example if you have feelings of concern or you feel repelled towards someone, that could be an indication that you should be concerned about that person.  They may be someone who will take advantage of you or may not be a good person to hang around.  Don’t be afraid, just trust yourself on this one.   Your feelings are valid and should not be discarded because you don’t want to hurt someone.   You should always be respectful and decent to people, but you get to choose your friends and the people you want to be in your life that lift you up and keep you inspired.

Second, be mindful of the people, places and events in your life.  If you are constantly hanging around negative people or watching TV shows that make you depressed, consider limiting your activities around them.  While we cannot control everything in our lives, we have lots of control in our own homes and who we bring into our lives as friends.  Everything on this planet is “energy”.  We are energy too.  Yes—created by our Creator.  When you take in negativity, it can severely affect you and especially empathetic people.  Every day, I have a practice of visualizing “white light” emanating from inside of me and spreading throughout my home, property, and to other locations which I believe need to have positivity and pureness.   It really does work!  Try it sometime.  I have sent “white light” to places that are far away and later learned that they are feeling much better and the air seems “lighter”.   White light will remove “darkness” if you set the intention of love and light.  It will never harm anyone because it can only help with removing negativity and darkness.  Sometimes you may be going through a hard time and need some “white light” in your life.  You can start out with small issues and see that it works and then “go bigger”.

Third, there are times when you have created the “drama” in your life.   Just know that you have the power to change it with your thoughts, intentions and your actions.  You have “personal power” and were created and made in the image of our Divine Creator.   No one has to be a “victim”. You have the right and the skills to conquer many things in your life.   Stop blaming others or think they can control you!   Once you do this—you will become “unstuck” and able to take charge of your life.  Give yourself permission to let go of your “old stories” and make healthful life changes.  You can rely on yourself to get things done and ask people who want to see you succeed, to hold you accountable for taking action.   Just do it!  Many people find prayer to be very powerful.  It is part of my daily routine and I highly recommend praying for the things you need so you can become the person you want to be in your life.  Prayer works.

If you need more “confidence” to move ahead and to make positive changes in your life, you may need a little help.  I have created a complimentary “confidence” hypnosis/meditation audio that you can use daily to increase your confidence.   Many clients that come to me have issues with confidence.  Who couldn’t use a little more confidence in their life?   All you have to do is email me at CoachwithDawn@gmail.com and request your complimentary audio.  I know you will be glad that you did and I always love hearing your feedback on my blogs, services and products.

 

Dawn Westmoreland is a professional Life Purpose Coach & Hypnotherapist on a mission to empower and assist professional women who want to “break-through” their overwhelm, stress, and stop being “leaders in hiding”.  She has been featured in the Christian Science Monitor for her bravery and empowering people with her work.  You can learn more about Dawn and her services at www.DawnMarieWestmoreland.com

The Art and Science of Self-Care

Self careWe all know that burnt out feeling when we are tired or overwhelmed in our life.  It may come on slow, but it can really affect us personally and professionally when we are not taking good care of ourselves.  We rush, we scatter, and we are running with our heads cut off………We think it is the way to success, by always being busy and multi-tasking.  With all the conveniences we have today, we seem to be still on “overloaded” with work and activities.   No wonder we are so darn tired!

Self-care is about taking care of yourself and your needs.  I find that getting energy body work and massage to be very healing and grounding.  When I get regular energy work and massage, I am able to focus more on my practice and it recharges my energy.  Our bodies need regular care and if we do not practice self-care, we will end up feeling burnt out, overwhelmed, and not succeeding in all our endeavors.  I highly suggest that you make it a practice to get a massage, receive body work or experience a modality that helps your body to feel better.  The body heals itself, but it does count on us to make wise choices and to be good to ourselves.

You never want to think of self-care as a luxury.  It is not.  It is a necessity that will keep your body “fueled” and in a homeostasis manner.  Pay attention to the food that you put in your body.  Is it free of pesticides, herbicides, dyes, additives, chemicals etc.?  Our body was not designed to eat poisonous foods and drinks.  Are you overweight and depressed?  It is time to evaluate the self-care you are giving yourself.  Are you getting the necessary exercise you need?  Sometimes, it is as simple as taking a daily walk and experiencing the benefits of an active body in motion.  It is well known that people sleep better at night when they have a good exercise routine.

I encourage you to evaluate how you can incorporate self-care in your life.  One of the best ways to see how your life is changing is to journal each day.  You can later review your trends and your accomplishments.   Be good to yourself!  Not only do you deserve it, but your body needs it.  I find that getting regular massages and energy work to be the best self-care for my body.  It shows too.  I have accomplished so much more in my life and people notice the difference in me too.  I attribute it to being better at self-care and loving myself in a healthier way.

Did you know that hypnosis is a great way to provide your body with self-care.   Not only is it extremely relaxing, but it is very effective in being therapeutic for your body.  Check out my complimentary “relaxation” hypnosis/meditation video at www.DawnMarieWestmoreland.com  You will find it on the top right side of my home page.  Enjoy.  Relax.  You are on your way to self-care.

Step Into Your Personal Power

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Let’s face it!  Do you ever feel tired and out of energy?  Have you considered how your energy is leaking from you and leaving you empty?  Our minds are so powerful and our thoughts play a large role in how we view our world.   Our thoughts are the foundation to how we live and think.   Life is either good or bad according to our belief system.  We can control our thoughts and become a leader of our thoughts!  I encourage you to pay attention to your thoughts first thing in the morning.  If you keep them positive, your day will likely be more productive and cheerful.

How can you find more positivity in your life?

  • Change a negative thought to a positive thought
  • Surround your life with positive people and events
  • Do activities that make you happy
  • Cherish the simple pleasures in life–there are many out there
  • Be around people that make you feel good
  • Love yourself unconditionally–there is only one YOU!
  • Detach from negative people and events when possible

We can get so much support from positive people, but some people like drama and are energy vampires.   They enjoy the attention they receive being a victim or creating chaos.  We all know people who are like this. As a very sensitive person, who dislikes drama and chaos, I have to set boundaries with these kind of people. It’s not that they are bad.  I believe all people are good, but some are frightened and act out of fear.  These kind of people can “suck” out your energy in no time.   They want to tell you about all the drama in their life or they are continuously negative, which leaves you feeling fatigued and depleted.   While we all have our “bad” days, we need to keep things in prospective.  So what can you do to help yourself from getting “sucked in” by energy vampires and negative thoughts?

First, notice how you are feeling.  If you are feeling uncomfortable around a certain person, that is a sign that your energy is being compromised. This is a time to notice and take action!  Everyone deserves to be happy and respected.   If you are trying to grow personally or spiritually, you may want to evaluate the people you want in your life and environment.  While you may not have a choice in some matters, you can choose your companions and friends wisely.  You also have a choice in your thoughts.  If you catch yourself thinking negatively, imagine placing your negative thoughts in a helium balloon and releasing it so it can be removed from you.  Bring in positive and nurturing thoughts that support you.

Second, it takes courage to “cut-off” people who continue to barrage you with their drama and chaos.  I encourage supporting people who need an “ear” or emotional support.  We all need to take responsibility and be accountable for 100% of our lives.  So, when a person is not willing to be responsible and take appropriate actions for their life, they are willing to stay in a place that may not be beneficial to them.  I realize that we all “slip” sometimes–even I fall short sometimes and get “de-railed”.   I am far from perfect and I have gotten caught up in other people’s drama schemes by trying to help them, while they are not taking any responsibility for their own lives.   Rescuing people does not  help them if they are willing to stay a victim of their own life.

None of us know how long we will be on this earth and how life will unfold each day. However, we have a lot of power in having positive thoughts and friends.  I am sharing a wonderful story that reminds me I have a choice in my life–to be happy or to be unhappy.  I chose to being happy and be responsible for my life. Life is good.

Good Wolf Bad Wolf

A traditional Native American story describes a boy who was feeling angry and upset at an injustice, who goes to his old Grandfather for advice. The Grandfather tells the boy that he, too has felt these feelings of hate and anger. The Grandfather shares that he has also realized how these feelings have no effect on his enemy, but they do cause him great pain.

“It is as if I have two wolves living inside me,” says the Grandfather. “One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.”

“But the other wolf,” Grandfather continues, “fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. The smallest thing will send him into a fury. He cannot think because his anger and rage are so great; however for all its fury, his anger changes nothing.

“Sometimes it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”

The boy looks into his Grandfather’s eyes and asks, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”

His grandfather replies, “Whichever one I feed.”

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