Jan 18, 2018

Workplace bullying most typically happens between a manager/supervisor and an employee. We have also known reports of peer-to-peer bullying in the workplace, but that typically is not as distressing as bullying by a superior. Also, when an employee reports incidents of harassment to the ultimate employer (in a smaller company) or to the Human Resources (HR) department (in a larger company) they often do not receive the treatment that they deserve. In fact, instead of resolution of the problem what the employee might receive is more bullying from the employer and/or from HR.

Why does this happen? The following are some of the reasons:

  • Many companies do not do a good job in filling managerial/supervisory positions – they often promote people to those positions who do not have the skills required for supervising or managing.
  • They often promote employees to management or supervisory positions to reward them for their hard work as employees, but there is no guarantee that a good worker will also be a good manager or supervisor.
  • They should come up with other ways to reward a good employee so everyone does not have to be a manager to get ahead in the company.
  • Managers and supervisors often do not have the basic inter-personal skills needed to maintain a harmonious workplace.
  • Managers and supervisors erroneously believe that the only way to succeed is to maintain a strong “control” on the employees.
  • Employers and HR directors sometimes believe that it is easier to get rid of an employee rather than having to deal with his or her complaints.

Once employers and HR directors accept the fact that managing and supervising requires special skills, things will be better for the workplace environment.

 

Jan 11, 2018

I recently prepared a workshop proposal on the topic of “Prevention of child sexual abuse – the ethical challenges”, which is based on my second book. I wanted to share some of the questions I proposed to discuss as part of this workshop. Here is the list:

      • What kinds of changes are needed to become more effective in “preventing” a possibly abusive scenario?
      • How can you work effectively with service providers in spite of some of the existing inconsistencies?
      • How can you detect situations where immediate intervention is necessary and appropriate and what the associated legal issues might be?
      • How can you help single parents become proactive in avoiding situations that can possibly lead to abuse?
      • Should an ordinary citizen try to step in when there is an opportunity to prevent a possibly abusive scenario?
      • How can we be proactive in identifying situations where intervention is necessary and appropriate and act accordingly to prevent a possible abuse?
      • How can we make sure that our child protective services and our law enforcement services are adequately equipped to address this critical need?
      • Do our service providers truly understand the impact of child sexual abuse and are they properly trained to detect and intervene to prevent abuse?
      • How could the child protective services act differently in this story?
      • What could Law Enforcement have done differently in this story?
      • What could the family members have done differently in this story?

Jan 05, 2018

Recently during one of my presentations I got into an interesting discussion about what can parents do when one of their children is being bullied and it is affecting the child’s well-being. The discussion was about what options do the parents have? We came up with a number of thoughts – some of them are listed below:

  • Expect the school staff to be aware that bullying can be harmful and that they need to do something to take care of your child’s well-being. This was not the case 20 or 30 years back. But now all school staff should be aware that bullying can be extremely harmful.
  • Work closely with the school staff to make sure they do something significant to protect your child from this undesirable behaviors.
  • Let the school staff know that as a parent you expect them to maintain a peaceful environment at school where your child can learn effectively
  • Be willing to participate actively, if necessary, with the school staff to maintain a peaceful school environment
  • Most states have some form of legal requirements that the schools must adhere to in terms of prevention of bullying. Get to know those legal standards and prepare to act accordingly.
  • If nothing improves, consider taking your child to a different school where they truly believe in maintaining a bully-free environment
  • Most importantly, listen to your child and provide all the support he/she needs to deal with the situation

Dec 29, 2017

Why do some employers bully their employees? There could be various reasons:

  • Some of them might believe that that is the only way to motivate employees
  • Some might believe that because they are paying the employees’ salaries, they have full right to treat them as they please
  • They feel like they might be losing their positions if they do not maintain strict control on their employees
  • Some may simply have some personal issues that they do not know how to take care of. They decide to take it out on their employees to make themselves feel better
  • Some may be concerned that if they don’t maintain strong control the employees might revolt against them

There may be many other reasons for employers to act in this negative manner. But their actions are misguided no matter what the reason is. The problem is likely to be more prominent in smaller companies. Most larger organizations now have well trained Human Resource Professionals who are very well informed about bullying in the workplace and are able to put in processes and procedures to minimize behaviors of this nature. However, in smaller companies this can be a real issue. Many smaller companies don’t even have a Human Resources professional, or they have someone who is not well trained in all aspects of employment issues. In the true account story in my book “How to stand up to workplace bullying and take on an unjust employer” I had to deal with an HR Director who simply was not well trained in dealing with issues of this nature. Without a trained HR professional, this can become a much more difficult problem.

Dec 22, 2017

One of the comments I made in my book “Father Figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse” is that I was totally surprised with what I felt was lack of support from Law Enforcement. Here is an excerpt from my book about this issue:

“Perhaps the greatest mystery remaining from Father Figure, and the leading cause of our setbacks in this story, is the confusing reactions that we received from Law Enforcement. I can never forget how helpless I felt when we were apparently let down by the cops.

To this day, I remain utterly confused over what actually happened behind the scenes with law enforcement. From the outside looking in, it seemed as though they were plagued with discrepancies over how they should deal with the situation.

To law enforcement officers reading this, I request that you please use this most unique story as a case study for similar situations in the future and encourage your units to support more training in handling cases of Child Sexual Abuse. In a similar predicament concerning a sex offender, I certainly hope that law enforcement will err on the side of caution and choose to protect the kids. I also hope that a citizen will not feel threatened by law enforcement when he/she is reporting a good faith concern. Regardless of what rules or regulations were in place at the time, there was no justification that we could see for the local police to threaten my friend like they did. We believe that we had approached law enforcement with a very good faith concern, and nothing that we did had warranted such an aggressive response. In general we felt there was a lack of swift and appropriate response to the reported threat.

I have always had the highest regard for the law enforcement profession. However, I must admit that for many months after this situation, I had a very negative feeling toward police officers in general. Every time I saw a cop car drive by, I had a bitter taste in my mouth. Over time, I have worked with myself to instead focus on all the great officers who dedicate their lives to serve and protect us each day. Law enforcement is still one of the most honorable professions.

To all officers reading this story, please continue to restore my faith. Please use this story to do your best to look out for those children at risk.”

Dec 14, 2017

I continue speaking around the country about prevention of bullying and child abuse primarily because I have come to realize that stories like mine can be very inspiring to children who are currently being abused. What also inspire me greatly are the comments I continue to receive from children around the country who attend my presentations. Here are a few examples:

I just wanted to say that your story was incredibly inspiring. I think a lot of kids in our school needed to hear everything you said.”

“I was bullied a lot when I was younger, mostly because of my name, or my glasses. I want to thank you for giving me inspiration, and putting something that was tragic, to good use.”’

“I just wanted to say that your speech was extremely inspiring. I have had sort of a traumatizing life, so this made a HUGE impact on me.”

Hearing your story has helped me out a lot, I was bullied really bad in school too, and I actually thought there for a while suicide was the answer. You are really an inspiration.”

“I was the one that talked to you about the kids calling me n word and a teacher is doing nothing about it. Thank you for your advice and help.” 

I just wanted to say thank you. Also I passed what you said to me to one of my friends it helped her she quit self-harm! It made me happy and I hope I can do what you do later in my life I’m thinking about going to school to be a therapist.”

 

Comments like these keep me going – I only hope that I can continue to make a difference.

Dec 07, 2017

The true account story in my book “How to stand up to workplace bullying and take on an unjust employer” is important because it addresses a number of different issues, processes and procedures that many employees are not aware of. Here is a list of items discussed in my book:

    • It talks about feeling empowered to challenge the intricate system that creates and encourages workplace bullying and harassment
    • It focuses on protecting a person’s basic rights to perform his/her job duties
    • It describes options for those interested in taking action but do not know where to begin
    • There are many individuals who are not aware of their rights in situations of this nature
    • There are many people who are facing unemployment hearing, but do not know how to prepare adequately to defend their positions
    • It focuses on how to stand up to workplace bullying in a legally appropriate manner
    • It provides information on seeking and receiving legal help to respond to workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination
    • It describes interactions with government organizations that have been established to assist with negative workplace situations
    • Unions can have a significant role in working with employees and employers in situations like this

Nov 30, 2017

What happened in the true story in my book “Father Figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse” can and does happen more frequently than people realize, and more frequently than any of us would further wish to acknowledge. In this day and age, with technology such as iPhones; the Internet; and Facebook, it is easier than before to take precautions and advocate safety on behalf of the children who we feel are at risk. I implore and challenge everyone reading this to take a moment today to reexamine whether there is a vulnerable child in your community who could possibly benefit from your help and involvement. If so, please find the courage and creativity to try and assist that child, of course with proper attention to the legal system and the laws of our society.

Even when the situation repeatedly felt hopeless in Father Figure, I continued to brainstorm, to think outside the box, and to look for new lawful ways to remain effective. In other words, I simply refused to give up. As a society, our children are our most valuable resources and are quite literally our future. Each one deserves the right to grow up feeling safe and respected, and to grow up in an environment free of all forms of abuse. As the adults, it is our responsibility and obligation to give each precious child that full opportunity. To all ordinary citizens reading this, I hope you will agree, based on the results in this story.

 

Nov 24, 2017

I am looking forward to my nest presentation at the National Interfaith Anti-Bullying Summit in Washington, DC, on Saturday Dec 2. I will be speaking about long term impact of bias-based bullying based on my first book titled “A Life Interrupted – the story of my battle with bullying and obsessive compulsive disorder”. The summit is organized by the American Muslim health Professionals organization. Here is an excerpt from their website”

“American Muslim Health Professionals (AMHP) is pleased to host a National Interfaith Anti–Bullying Summit at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. This Summit is a collaborative effort between AMHP and various faith partners including the National Baptist Convention, Islamic Networks Group, the Hindu American Foundation, the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom and Sikh Kid 2 Kid. Teasing, harassment, and bullying based on real or perceived religious differences have become an increasingly prevalent problem on school campuses. According to surveys, while one quarter of students overall say they have been bullied at school, half of Muslim students, for example, report having been bullied or harassed. Most often, these incidents are triggered by misperceptions about the religious beliefs of targeted populations. AMHP and its partners aim to increase awareness of religious-based bullying in schools, exploring causes, prevention, and possible remedies. The primary objective of the Summit, therefore, is to share research and best practices about an increasingly serious problem facing youth of various religious backgrounds. To the best of our knowledge, such an anti–bullying interfaith summit has yet to occur. At this time of heightened fear and discrimination, such an event and the efforts that follow from it are of critical importance”.

Nov 15, 2017

I wrote my book on workplace bullying and harassment because of the following reasons:

    • Bullying and harassment in one form or another exists at numerous places of employment in our country
    • Some people are able to accept the situation and move on anyway, but there are many who are not able to do so, and it is not their fault.
    • Many are facing day-to-day oppressive atmosphere in their workplaces but do not feel empowered to do anything about it.
    • For many individuals around the country personal life is being affected significantly because of a very negative work situation, causing anxiety, depression and other associated mental health disorders
    • There are many who are facing one or more different forms of discrimination, but do not feel comfortable in standing up against it
    • There are employees around the country who are facing undeserved consequences for doing the right thing at work, but are feeling helpless in fighting back
    • Dedicated workers not willing to report unjust activities at work (whistle blowing) because of fear of negative consequences
    • Many individuals are having to deal with wrongful termination
© 2017 - Sumi Mukherjee
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