Sep 12, 2019

I understand that for some victims of workplace bullying it might seem difficult to do anything about it. But not doing anything at all can become extremely stressful and can have significant impact on personal lives.

I am aware that there are people who are putting up with a lot of bullying and harassment at their workplace but are not willing to do anything about it because they believe that if they take any actions they would likely lose their jobs and they wouldn’t know where to go to find another job. I can understand that as a valid concern. However, I do believe that almost everyone can take the simple step of bringing it up to management simply as an issue that the employee would like to discuss because this is affecting the employee’s personal life. The idea would be to bring it up in a positive manner in a constructive approach. There are times when the employer might actually try to do something about this since it was brought up not as a complaint but more as a constructive request.

If nothing comes out of this, then after a few weeks or months, the employee can go back to the employer again and make it a bit stronger than the first time around. The most important thing is to maintain documentation of the efforts the employee makes to demonstrate that the employee was trying his or her best to resolve this in a peaceful manner. Escalating the matter in a step-by-step approach is one of the best ways to handle the situation (and maintaining documentation along the way).

In a case like this, if the employee does get terminated, he or she will have documentation to show that sincere efforts were made by the employee to resolve this in a positive and constructive manner. This can then be taken to the appropriate government department (such as Department of Human Rights) for resolution. It will also be useful in case it does become a lawsuit.

 

Sep 06, 2019

The point I try to make at my presentations is that any adults might find himself or herself in a position to do something about a possible risk to a child. All of us need to develop and maintain a preventive mindset.

What does a ‘preventive’ mindset really mean? It means keeping an eye open at all times for any possible red flags. It means being very careful about each and every person a child comes in contact with over the course of his or her childhood. It does not mean isolating the children from all contacts – it simply means to keep their personal safety in mind whenever they are in contact with others.

I found myself in a situation where I saw some possible risks to children and therefore I decided to act on it. That is the story I describe in my book “Father Figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse”. I was a friend to a single mother and her two young daughters. The girls looked at me as a father figure. My single mother friend started dating a new person. I noticed a couple of red flags and decided to do a background check on her dating partner and found some extremely disturbing information. That prompted me to try to take some actions because I thought the children could be at risk.

It was not an easy task – there were numerous obstacles I had to overcome to make it safer for the kids. Many people who have read my book have told me that they were surprised to see that I stuck to my goals in spite of having to deal with a lot of non-cooperation from various parties. But that is what a preventive mindset is all about.

 

Aug 29, 2019

The purpose of bullying is to exert control over another person. That is why it often transforms into Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) for the victim because OCD acts like an internal bully trying to exert control over the victim. Bullying must be prevented.

For a typical bully controlling someone else is the most important objective. Of course there is another important factor that keeps these bullies going – that is the reaction of the bystanders. Often the bystanders are directly or indirectly encouraging the bullies to make fun of innocent victims. And that provides added incentive for the bullies to continue mistreating innocent individuals. But exerting control over others is probably the primary motivation for the bullies to continue this mistreatment. That is why ignoring the bully works the best because it defies the control that the bully seeks to exert. But that is easier said than done.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) tortures the victims in a somewhat similar manner. It forces the victims to do something (that they do not want or like to do) because otherwise something very bad will happen. Here too the key is to find a way to ignore what OCD is asking the victim to do and live with the associated anxiety. But a victim needs a lot of help to be able to do that. Fortunately there are professionals around who are able to help with this practice. It is possible to achieve recovery through medication and therapy. But it can certainly significantly disrupt the victims’ lives for many long years. Nobody deserves this.

 

Aug 23, 2019

There can be many reasons why a manager/supervisor bullies one or more of the employees. But whatever the reasons may be, it always points to the ineffectiveness of the person in the role of a manager or a supervisor. This person simply should not be in a managerial position.

All good managers and supervisors realize that each employee is an individual and likely has his or her own characteristics and personalities. It is likely that what works as a successful motivational approach for one employee may not be the right approach for other employees. It is possible that some employees are used to being subjected to yelling and shouting, and they might get motivated when the manager uses that kind of motivational technique. However, for most employees yelling and shouting do not work. Most employees look at this as verbal abuse and as a demotivating factor. Work becomes extremely stressful for them and it starts affecting their personal lives.

A good manager is able to figure out what approach works best as a motivating factor for each and every employee and uses an individualized approach, instead of one approach for all. Quite often a reasonable sensitive but firm approach works for most employees. All employees know that they are there to do the work and they get paid for doing their jobs well. If someone cannot perform his or her job function, then there are other ways to manage their performance, but yelling and shouting is never an answer.

 

Aug 15, 2019

If a single parent has a new dating partner, then it is always safer to do a background check on the person before introducing him or her to the children. Then if something significant comes up in a background check, then one needs to be extra vigilant.

Some people seem to believe that it is not polite to do a background check on someone you are trying to get to know. Well, when it comes to protecting your children, you need to do whatever is necessary to eliminate risks for your children. Your children needs to come first because they are dependent on you for their protection.

Some people also believe that a person might be offended if you do a background check on him or her. Again, if the person is offended, then maybe it wasn’t a good fit to start with. Most responsible people would understand that it is important for a single parent to make sure that the person they are dating will be safe around their children.

I am not saying that anyone with some type of criminal record should always be rejected. But if you know the background of a person, then you can prepare yourself appropriately keeping the safety of your children in mind. In most cases, it is important to take a good amount of time to get to know the person well before introducing your children to him or her. Maybe he or she is a good person but just made a mistake and had to pay for it. But one needs to take time to make sure that the person is truly reformed.

 

Aug 08, 2019

Being bullied is an extremely significant stress on a child. And if the child has to face this stress on a daily basis and several times during the day while at school, one can imagine the impact it can have on the child. It must be prevented.

The point is that the kind of bullying that a child typically faces is not a one-time thing. It doesn’t just happen once and then it’s all done. What really happens is that a child goes to school every day knowing that he or she will likely have to face the bullies again. And when this happens to a child almost on a daily basis for several years, it should be easy to see why the long-term impact can be extensive.

Adults at the schools across the country need to understand the severity of this situation and take full responsibility for protecting these children. School staff must understand that their responsibility is not only to educate the children but also to provide a positive and peaceful environment for all children. These two objectives go hand in hand. If a child is not happy and is always concerned about someone bullying him or her, the child simply cannot concentrate on school work. Teaching at schools is not the same as lecturing at a university to adult students. Teaching at schools need to include making sure that all kids are feeling safe and protected so they can concentrate on learning.

 

Aug 02, 2019

I strongly believe that anyone experiencing bullying or harassment in the workplace must do something about it, instead of allowing it to have a serious impact on themselves. Reporting it to someone, following through, and maintaining documentation can often have some positive impact.

The point is that everyone has a right to work in a positive and safe environment without being harassed or intimated by someone else. If a manager or a supervisor has an issue with the work being done by an employee, he or she can address it through the performance management process. And those discussions should take place in a private setting. There is no need to publicly humiliate an employee. The manager can give a warning to an employee if performance is not satisfactory, and if things don’t improve, the employee can be terminated. But none of this needs to be done in a harassing manner.

I have written the book “How to stand up to workplace bullying and take on an unjust employer” in order to encourage people to stand up for their rights. And I also wanted everyone to know that there are things one can do to fight back against bullying and harassment in the workplace. Reporting to authorities within the organization is the first step, and if nothing comes out of that, then reporting to authorities outside the organization is the next step. And all throughout the process, maintaining good documentation is extremely important.

 

Jul 29, 2019

For prevention of child sexual abuse, adult family members need to remain vigilant at all times and keep an eye open for any possible risks. One can never be too protective when it comes to prevention of child sexual abuse.

The true account story I describe in my book “Father Figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse”, there are a lot of comments about what various groups of adults can do to protect the children under their care, in order to minimize risks to the children. Out of all those different groups of adults, the family members probably have the most critical role. I believe that if the family members can remain extremely vigilant, then the risks to the children will likely be the minimum.

The biggest issue I have experienced in this story with family members is that they don’t always perceive the risks to be significant. Many of them are typically good-hearted people who find it hard to believe that a trusted person who appears to have good intentions can be a threat to the children, and that is understandable. But the problem is that if something bad does happen, then it can become too late, because even one episode of child sexual abuse can scar a person for the rest of his or her life. It’s always better to keep an eye open for everyone who might be in contact with the children.

 

Jul 18, 2019

Many school officials around the country still seem to believe that bullying during school years does not have any lasting impact on the victims. They need to understand that it is possible that some victims may be lucky and not have any long term impacts, but many others do and that is why it is critical to prevent bullying.

I think it’s all a matter of whether you want to do something about it or not. School officials who do not want to do something about it will always point to the fact that there are many children who face bullying during school years but are able to move on without any significant impact. But this is a situation when you can’t just look at the children who were able to withstand bullying without having any long-term impact and not look at the ones who have had to deal with significant long-term impact because of bullying.

I believe all school officials must focus on the fact that even one child ending up having to deal with long-term issues is one too many. Every child counts and it is important that every child deserves a bully-free safe school environment. This needs to be a top priority for all school officials. They need to form a close partnership with parents to make sure that every child finds it safe to come to school every day without having to worry about which bully they might be facing. There are children around the country who do not want to go to school to avoid being bullied – this simply cannot be allowed to go on.

 

Jul 11, 2019

Bullying and harassment happens in a workplace when the upper management does not want to accept the fact that maintaining a positive work environment is one of their responsibilities. Because I believe that if managers/supervisors understand clearly that bullying will not be tolerated, then the environment will be safe for everyone.

It is very important that the owner and/or the CEO sends a very clear message to the rest of the company that bullying and harassment will not be tolerated. Along with that it is also necessary to put together a set of processes and procedures so that any reported incidents of bullying and harassment can be investigated properly. It is also necessary to put together appropriate training programs for all supervisors and managers as well as for all employees to make sure everyone is aware of what is expected in terms of maintaining a positive professional environment.

In larger companies the task of maintaining a positive professional environment is often the responsibility of the Human Resources Department. Most HR personnel these days are well aware for these issues and are typically well qualified to set up processes and procedures and training for handling these matters. However, many small companies do not have HR departments. In those cases the owner may have to get involved with this matter and set up some minimal processes and procedures to handle any reported incidents. The bottom line is that it needs to come down from the top as one of the key priorities for the organization.

 

© 2017 - Sumi Mukherjee
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