Working Notes: September 5, 2012


From TCB Review article on workplace bullying

Periodically I use this Working Notes feature to highlight a variety of odds & ends worthy of mention:

1. The Conference Board Review on workplace bullying

It’s a good thing when The Conference Board Review, the flagship publication of The Conference Board — an influential, global research organization promoting best practices in business — runs a major feature on workplace bullying. That’s why I’ve been meaning to share this thorough, well-written article about workplace bullying by Vadim Liberman from the Summer 2012 issue:

Bosses have tormented workers ever since there were workers to torment, but only recently have we become sensitized to what studies indicate is four times more common than sexual harassment. Most workplace bullying doesn’t climax at the point of a pistol, but it can be devastating nevertheless to morale, productivity, and HR departments, strongly affecting not only the target but his whole department—and even the entire company.

Vadim interviewed me at length for the piece, and I am pleased that he dug well beneath the surface to present a lot of information and different points of view to his readers.

2. Brian Austin, Madison WI detective and labor activist, on Labor Day

Here’s a thoughtful, substantive, bracing blog post about the meaning of Labor Day 2012 from Brian Austin, a Madison, Wisconsin detective and labor activist:

Today is labor day.  This should be a day of celebrating the achievements of the labor movement in providing dignity and a voice for all workers, yet this year I am filled with a sense of both urgency and alarm.  Workers in this nation are in real trouble, and many don’t even know it.

Amen. Keep reading.

3. Sara Horowitz, Freelancers Union founder, on Labor Day for independent workers

Sara Horowitz, pioneering founder of the Freelancers Union, looks at the meaning of the labor movement for independent workers in this blog piece for The Atlantic:

At Freelancers Union, we’ve been heavily influenced by [labor leader Sidney] Hillman’s vision. It’s why we built our own social-purpose insurance company to serve our independent workforce. It’s why we’re sponsoring new nonprofit health plans in New York, New Jersey, and Oregon next year. And it’s why we’re opening a bricks-and-mortar, zero-co-pay medical center in Downtown Brooklyn this fall.

Sara and the Freelancers Union are blazing trails to create support for, and solidarity within, the growing sector of independent workers.

4. Employment lawyer Jon Hyman on preventing workplace violence

Ohio employment lawyer Jon Hyman has penned a concise, useful blog piece on preventing workplace violence for Workforce Management that discusses the importance of organizational culture:

1. Treat employees with respect—while they work for you, during a termination, and even after they are no longer your employees.

2. Flag at-risk employees for assistance.

3. Offer employee assistance programs for those who need them.

4. Involve security personnel and local law enforcement at the first hint that an employee might turn violent.

Over the years, Jon and I have had spirited exchanges over the need for workplace bullying legislation. His excellent Ohio Employer’s Law Blog is a terrific resource for employment lawyers and human resources administrators.

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