Feb 07, 2019

Organizations can do a lot of things to make sure there is no bullying or harassment in the workplace. However, it all comes down to the owner or the CEO placing a high priority on developing and maintaining a bully-free organization. If they are truly serious about it, then the next levels of management will do their best to follow through.

In larger companies the CEO establishes the priority by first hiring a professional Human Resources Director who has experience in appropriately managing bullying and harassment issues, and makes sure that the HR Director understands the priority placed on this matter. In the true account story I describe in my book “How to stand up to workplace bullying and take on an unjust employer”, there was an HR Director involved, but I don’t believe she had the appropriate experience to deal with these issues. It appeared to me that she would rather avoid these issues rather than having to deal with them. Eventually she got rid of me probably because she thought that would help the situation. Of course, I decided to fight back and won my case through union-led arbitration. I believe if there was a well experienced HR Director involved, then the situation would have been handled differently.

In smaller companies it is much harder because owners often do not have the funding to hire an HR Manager. However, even in smaller companies, if the owner makes it very clear that bullying and harassment in the workplace will not be tolerated, then that message often gets through to everyone. Nobody in a workplace wants to go against the priorities set by the owner.

 

Jan 31, 2019

One of the points I try to make during all my presentations is that every adult has the responsibility to do something to protect a child from possible sexual abuse, if a red flag is detected. Of course, the family members and close friends have the main responsibility, but even ordinary citizens need to keep their ears and eyes open for possible warning signs.

Many adults seem to have the tendency to ignore red flags – they feel like they can’t worry about every little thing. They also feel that if they are getting concerned about every possible red flag, then they are being too paranoid. Well, the point I am trying to make is that there is nothing like being too paranoid when it comes to protection of children against possible sexual abuse. We always need to keep in mind that even one episode of sexual abuse can cause significant damage for the victim.

My request is for every adult to have a sense of urgency about this matter. If we see a possible red flag and if we follow through and check it out with the assistance of other systems/family members, there is no harm done. If it turns out that there was nothing to worry, then that is fine – it will still be a job well done. As I mentioned in my book “Father Figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse”, I went the extra mile to make sure two young girls were protected. It took a lot of patience and perseverance, but I feel it was all worth it. I hope others will do the same if they come across any possible red flags.

 

Jan 25, 2019

Many bullies in the schools do not really know what kind of long term impacts they are causing for the victims. They are often told that “bullying is bad – it is not an acceptable behavior in the school. There will be punishment if the bullying continues”. I think the results will be far better if the school officials made sure that the bullies truly understood the long term impact bullying can have on the victims.

Telling them that it is not an acceptable behavior and even handing out some punishment might be a short term solution, but I believe those things do not bring about long term change. Those steps can act as deterrents for a while, but sooner or later the bully gets back to his or her old tricks. That is why it is important to do something that can create a long term change. And based on the feedback I have received over the years from my presentations, I do believe that it is possible to help them make some permanent changes.

First of all, the bullies really need to understand what kind of long term negative impact bullying can have on victims. Most of the school bullies are not aware of this. They think it’s all for some harmless fun at the expense of others. But they don’t really understand that it is not at all “harmless” like they think it is. If they had a good understanding of the life-long devastating impact it can bring to the victims, most bullies will stop continuing the mistreatment. Also, it is really important to work with the parents of the bullies. If the bullies can have a reasonable home life, their actions while at school will be more positive.

 

Jan 18, 2019

I continue to believe that it is important for victims of workplace bullying to stand up and fight against it. Most organizations would at least have someone in management who would be willing to listen to you and do something about it. If not, then there are government organizations that one can go to for assistance in these matters.

Most employees within the Human Resource departments across the country are now well trained in dealing with the issues of bullying and harassment in the workplace. They know that it can be a significant issue for the company if reports of bullying and harassment are not handled properly. Most HR personnel are now well trained in establishing processes and procedures to handle complaints of this nature. In fact I have heard about cases where specific employees were told that they might be fired if their behavior did not change.

However, in smaller companies the situation can be very different. First of all, many small companies cannot afford to have an HR department. And when they do have one, it is not always managed by a trained HR professional. In the story in my book titled “How to stand up to workplace bullying and take on an unjust employer”, the organization I had my problems with had an HR department, but I don’t believe the director had a lot of experience in these matters. I needed to work with my employee union and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights to get some resolution.

 

Jan 11, 2018

When it comes to prevention of child sexual abuse, we have to realize that it is totally up to the adults to protect the children. Children are innocent and cannot be expected to take care of themselves in these complex situations. That is why it is of utmost importance for caregivers to keep a constant eye open for possible red flags.

Children are trusting individuals – they have no reason not to trust someone unless that person has been mean and/or insensitive to them. If a person is nice and sensitive to a child, he/she will likely have no problem in developing a trusting relationship with a child. Most predators know this well and are typically very good at developing trusting relationships with unsuspecting children. It is up to the adults to keep a close eye on all the people coming in close contact with the children to make sure the children are not at risk.

That is one of main points I try to make in my book “Father Figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse”. For example, a single mother starting to date a new person, should not introduce the person immediately to her children. She should take adequate amount of time to get to know the person well before slowly introducing her children to him. She should continue to keep an eye out to make sure the children are safe when they are in close contact with this person. Over time it will be clear if that person is trustworthy or not. You can of course never be 100% sure, but giving some time to get to know the person well can often minimizes the risk significantly.

 

Jan 04, 2019

As the New Year rolls in, we need to make a firm resolution to continue our efforts to prevent bullying in our schools across the country. There are still many schools out there where bullying continues to be a problem. We simply cannot afford to allow the devastating long term impact it can have on victims.

If you want to stop something you would need to place a high priority on it and put in dedicated efforts in achieving success. Many schools do identify bullying prevention as one of their key objectives, but they don’t really place a high enough priority on this issue. Many schools have programs in place, but they don’t often follow up on identified issues and therefore bullying still continues.

Children become aware very quickly if the school staff is serious about something. If the school staff truly wanted to stop bullying in their schools, I believe most students will get the message and adjust their behaviors accordingly. I believe that school staff are still not taking full responsibility in trying to eradicate bullying. And I think that is because of the fact that many school staff members do not fully understand the possible long term negative impact on victims of bullying. That is the reason why school staff need to be trained properly to be able to understand what bullying can do to victims over the rest of their lives.

 

Dec 28, 2018

Most of the time bullying and harassment in the workplace takes place simply because the manager/supervisor is not well trained in being able to handle the various issues that typically come up when there are a number of employees involved. Some companies do recognize this need and provide the necessary training to the managers and supervisors. However, there are many businesses where no such training is provided.

If you need people to get your work done, then you must know how to deal with people. A manager’s job is to make sure that an employee puts in the best effort possible to get his or her work done in the most satisfactory manner. But at the same time, it is also important for the manager/supervisor to make sure that the employees are happy in doing their work. If employees are unhappy then their work output becomes unsatisfactory and eventually the work environment becomes negative.

One way to keep employees happy and engaged in their work is to make sure their work environment remains positive. That is why it is critical to make sure there is no bullying and/or harassment going on in the workplace. If an employee is having to face bullying and/or harassment either from the supervisor or from another employee, his or her work performance will certainly suffer. Since the goal at a work place is to make sure work performance is the highest possible, it is critical to make sure no bullying or harassment takes place in the workplace.

 

Dec 21, 2018

Parents have a lot of responsibility in protecting children from risky situations. Children often get their clues from their parents. They will typically trust someone who is trusted by the parents. That is all the more reason why parents need to be extra careful in making sure that people coming in contact with the children can truly be trusted.

In the story in my book “Father Figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse”, I describe a single mother of two young daughters, starting to date a convicted child molester. There is nothing wrong in dating a convicted child molester since he has already done his time, but there really is no need to bring the children in for close contact with the person immediately. Because the mother encourages the children immediately to come close to the new person, the children will typically believe that this man can be trusted fully.

The point I try to make in the book is that it is not a good idea to get the children to connect with the new man at a very early stage. Even if the man is not a convicted child molester, it is important for the single mother to take some time to get to know the person well before introducing him to the children. This is an important precautionary move that is critical for protection of children. Parents should always keep in mind that what they do and how they do it, have a lot of impact of their children.

 

Dec 14, 2018

After speaking at various schools around the country I am of the firm opinion that children really understand what I talk about. They really get the point that bullying can have significant negative impact on the victims for many years into the future and can get them derailed from their original tracks. I have received many emails from children following my presentations. We just need to continue to communicate with them.

Many kids get into bullying other kids simply because their own lives are not at a good place. Often they feel like no one values them at their own homes – so they need to show at school that they have some power. It gives them recognition that they crave so badly. Many bystanders watch bullying happening, and that adds to the perception of power for the bully. The bullies feel that everyone notices them and therefore they have a solid standing at school.

But most of these bullies do not really know how bad things can be for the victims in the long run. They do the bullying without thinking about the possible long term impact on the victims. When I present to a group of children, I make the point to describe to them the significant impact it has had on my life, and I also make the point that there are many others like me who are still suffering silently. When they look at me, they see someone who has gone through this himself. It is not just another speaker telling them that bullying is not a good thing. I have received several emails from bullies who have told me that after listening to my presentation they have stopped bullying others. That proves to me that with proper guidance most of these bullies can be turned around.

 

Dec 07, 2018

Company owners and CEOs can do a lot to eradicate bullying and harassment in the workplace. This should be a key mandate given to the Human Resources department. If upper management makes it very clear to everyone that this is one of top priorities for the company, then it can be possible to develop and maintain a bully-free positive work environment.

Most professional HR personnel have training and expertise in this area. If the CEO/Owner of the firm gives a mandate to the HR team about making sure the organization creates and maintains a positive bully-free environment, the professional HR team can typically achieve that goal. They just have to put in appropriate processes and procedures in place so employees are able to openly address any issues that might come up.

If the employees know that if they face any bullying or harassment at work they can approach the HR department and if the HR department follows through with appropriate investigations, most employees will feel good about the company. Maybe the HR department will need to put together some mandatory training for all employees and supervisors so everyone is aware of the company mandate and the associated processes and procedures. But the bottom line is that it all starts with the upper management (i.e., CEO/Owner) making it clear to everyone that bullying/harassment in the workplace will not be tolerated and asks the HR department to make sure the processes are implemented appropriately.

© 2017 - Sumi Mukherjee
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