Harassment and Bullying--For Leaders


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Your employee comes to you and says they are being bullied or harrassed. Are they? And what should you do about it?

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Harassment and Bullying--For Leaders

  1. 1. Harassment & Bullying Creating a Respectful Workplace
  2. 2. Objectives • Know the laws regarding discrimination and harassment • Know what to do if you are offended • Know what to do if you offend someone
  3. 3. Harassment • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Can’t discriminate on the basis of: Race, Color, Religion, Sex, National Origin and Pregnancy • Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) – Can’t discriminate against any person 40 years or older • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) – Can’t discriminate on the basis of disability (mental or physical) For more information: http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/practices/harassment.cfm
  4. 4. Wisconsin Law Protects Even More: • Wis. Stats. 111.31—Fair Employment Law …The practice of unfair discrimination in employment… by reason of their age, race, creed, color, disability, marital status, sex, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, arrest record, conviction record, military service, use or nonuse of lawful products off the employer's premises during nonworking hours, or declining [or participation in] religious matters or political matters… For more information: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/111/II/31
  5. 5. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) • Enforces federal law • Most employers with 15+ employees are covered by EEOC (20 regarding age discrimination) • Laws apply to all types of work situations including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, wages, training and benefits For more information: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/index.cfm
  6. 6. State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Equal Rights Division • State institution to protect workers • Must file a complaint within 300 days For more information: www.dwd.wisconsin.gov/er
  7. 7. Also… • Anti-discrimination laws protect people who have complained about harassment from retaliation – Both state and federal laws address this
  8. 8. Harassment • Can be perpetrated by anyone on company grounds – Not just employees of the organization • Can be perpetrated by the “silent observer”
  9. 9. Harassment May Include:
  10. 10. Sexual Harassment • Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, etc. – Verbal: “Wow, those are nice…!” – Non-verbal: Giving massage oil for a Secret Santa exchange – Physcial: Touching; hugging; patting; brushing against For more information: http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/sexual_harassment.cfm
  11. 11. Sexual Harassment • A 1x incident could be sufficient for sexual harassment and/or a criminal offense
  12. 12. Is It Sexual Harassment? • A man uses terms of endearment for a female coworker such as “pumpkin,” “cutie,” and “beautiful.” – What if a female used these terms toward another female? • The employee asks their co-worker to stop saying these things, which they do, but from then on the co-worker ignores important e-mails, fails to give proper communication, and nitpicks the employee’s work.
  13. 13. The Victim • Can be the target of the harassment • Can be an “innocent bystander” who is offended by the harassment • Should object—then the harasser is responsible to stop
  14. 14. The Impact • Lost productivity – The victim may suffer depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress – Other employees are uncomfortable and less productive • The organization and managers may be liable if they knew about the harassment and didn’t stop it immediately
  15. 15. Your Policy • Can be found where?
  16. 16. Responsibility of Leadership • Monitor work environment • Counsel employees on prohibited behavior • Stop anything that may be harassment • Limit work contact between parties involved • Formally investigate the complaint
  17. 17. Employee Responsibility • Refrain from participation in, or encouragement of, actions that could be perceived as harassment • Encourage other employees to report • Make unwelcome actions known to person involved
  18. 18. Is It Harassment? • A boss is swearing at you and 3 others, calling you “stupid” and “incompetent” • At work a co-worker often talks about their sexual endeavors to a group of friends who don’t seem to mind. Another employee overhears and is uncomfortable. • Your boss has targeted you—she often puts you in impossible situations and when things go wrong blames you. You think she’s threatened by your competence
  19. 19. Harassment is not… • A one-time incident – It’s a pattern of abusive or degrading conduct – Often sufficient to interfere with a person’s work • A “slight annoyance” – “Reasonable person standard” re: a work environment that’s intimidating, hostile or offensive – Teasing, comments or incidents that are not serious are not illegal
  20. 20. Harassment Becomes Illegal When… • It is targeted towards a “protected class” or is sexual in nature AND… • The conduct is unwelcome AND… – By either participant or bystander • It creates a work environment that is intimidating, offensive or hostile OR… • It results in an adverse employment decision – Fired, demoted, etc.
  21. 21. Is It Harassment? • Your boss is Polish. He thinks “Pollack jokes” are hilarious and tells them all the time.
  22. 22. Is It Harassment? • You’re newly hired. Your co-workers have been pulling pranks on you. They say you have to “earn the right to work here.”
  23. 23. DWD—Fair Employment Law • Unfair treatment is not necessarily unlawful. – Unless adverse action is taken because of a person’s protected class (dwd.wisconsin.gov/er) • This behavior is BULLYING
  24. 24. Bullying “Repeated, unreasonable actions directed towards an employee which are intended to intimidate, degrade, humiliate, or undermine; or which create a risk to the health or safety of the employee(s).” http://www.workplaceethicsadvice.com
  25. 25. Bullying • An on-going / repeated pattern of behavior • Can be peer to peer • Can be supervisor to subordinate • Can be a group targeting one person
  26. 26. Bullying Is Not • A one-time incident • A “tough” or “demanding” boss • A confrontation or criticism that makes you “feel bad” – “My boss told me to stop showing up late or I’d be written up—she’s bullying me!” • Illegal – Unless it involves harassment based on protected classes
  27. 27. Bullying Examples
  28. 28. Factors that Increase Bullying • Significant organizational change • Worker characteristics – Threat to bully: smart, competent, well-liked – Passive, non-confrontational – New to organization or department • Poor workplace relationships • Ineffective work systems – Staff shortages – Role ambiguity – Inadequate communication flow
  29. 29. Bullying Affects People • High stress; PTSD • Reduced self-esteem • Psychosomatic complaints – aches, pains and illness • Phobias • Sleep disturbance • Depression • Family tension and stress
  30. 30. Bullying Affects Organizations • Staff turnover • Lost productivity – Work efforts displaced – Low morale • Poor work performance • Costs associated with complaints, investigations, and legal action
  31. 31. If You Are Bullied or Harassed • Recognize it for what it is • Realize you are not the source of the problem • Realize that bullying is about control and not about you
  32. 32. It’s Tough To Confront a Bully • People avoid dealing with them – “It’s just easier that way.” • But it’s not right! • Victims have power to stop it – Leaders will investigate per policy – No retaliation laws/policy – Zero tolerance FROM THIS POINT FORWARD!
  33. 33. Take Action • Say No! – Be firm, be clear—the behavior is unwelcome. • Record dates, times, places, comments, actions, & witnesses – Obtain documents and paper trails • Send a letter to the perpetrator – Include facts/What you would like to happen • Report the behavior to supervisor/HR • Expect the perpetrator to deny it
  34. 34. If You’ve Offended Someone • Knock it off! • Pay attention to how you affect others – Body language – Facial expressions – Comments (even joking comments) • • • • Accept feedback about your behavior Apologize Commit to stopping Stop
  35. 35. True or False? • You must tell the perpetrator to stop the unwanted behavior before it can be considered harassment. • If you think you are being harassed the first thing you should do is call the EEOC. • If you file a harassment claim and it is unfounded you are still legally protected from retaliation.
  36. 36. True or False? • If you keep your offensive behavior on the side of bullying (vs. harassment) no adverse action can be taken against you. • If you think you are being harassed or bullied it is a good idea to objectively document events. • If you have questions you know where to get them answered.
  37. 37. Is It Illegal? • You get really upset and call 3 of your employees “incompetent” and “stupid” • You tell your peer that they look sexy today • Someone makes a fat joke about a co-worker
  38. 38. A Leader’s Role— What should you do about bullying? • Have a zero tolerance bullying policy • Increase employee awareness • Encourage reporting /open door policies • Investigate the extent—culture surveys • Take complaints seriously • Investigate promptly • Address bullying behavior IMMEDIATELY
  39. 39. Levels of Intervention • Informal – “Hey, we don’t talk like that here.” • Level 1: Awareness Intervention – “I’m concerned about what I’m hearing.” • Level 2: Authority Intervention – Written action plan • Level 3: Disciplinary Intervention – Follow through with consequences
  40. 40. Have You Ever Dealt With A Bully? How Did It Go?
  41. 41. Is It Bullying? Your employee, Sam, came to you with complaints about another employee, Rose. Sam said that Rose was often rude, and sometimes criticizing in front of guests. When Rose gets upset at Sam (and others) she gives the silent treatment. Sam is afraid to confront Rose because of how she anticipates Rose will react. What do you do?
  42. 42. Is It Bullying? You decided to mediate a conversation between Sam and Rose. It seemed to go okay, but a few days later Sam comes back to you and states that Rose is making passive-aggressive statements like, “HELLO Sam, how NICE to see you today!” Sam has overheard Rose talking to others, saying, “Be careful how you talk to Sam, she might tattle if she takes it the wrong way.” Now what do you do?
  43. 43. Is It Bullying? You’ve educated your staff about bullying, and proclaimed an open-door policy. Since then 2 other employees have come to you about Rose’s behavior. You decide to implement a performance improvement plan. As you are talking about it with Rose, she exclaims, “This is outrageous! You are bullying me!” What do you do?
  44. 44. Is It Bullying? For the most part your staff avoids conflict at all costs—except for Lisa. Lisa is an “in your face” kind of person. She directs other people’s behavior in a no-nonsense way, and she never accepts excuses. She is a great worker, and does excellent customer service, but other associates have complained that they feel “bossed around” by her. What do you do?
  45. 45. What Will You Commit To Today?
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