Working Notes: Upcoming speaking appearances, Summer 2013

I’m looking at a busy summer speaking schedule, mostly on the topic of workplace bullying. Although the travel can be wearying at times, I’m grateful for opportunities to share ideas and information with others. Here goes:

Labor and Employment Relations Association, Annual Meeting, St. Louis, MO (June 5-9, 2013) — LERA is a non-partisan, multidisciplinary association for practitioners and scholars in labor & employment relations. I’ll be presenting two talks: (1) “Intellectual Activism: How Scholarship Can Inform Employment Law and Policy (and Vice Versa)”; and (2) “As Workplace Bullying Enters the Mainstream of American Employment Relations, Will Law and Public Policy Follow?”

National Employment Lawyers Association, Annual Convention, Denver, CO (June 26-29, 2013) — NELA is a national bar association for attorneys who specialize in representing workers, and many of the leading plaintiffs’ employment lawyers are active members. On June 28 I’ll be on a panel titled “Preventing Workplace Bullying & Harassment.”

International Academy of Law and Mental Health, Biennial Congress, Amsterdam, Netherlands (July 14-19, 2013) — This is a huge international gathering, with dozens of programs daily. I’ll be speaking on two panels, with talks titled “Therapeutic Jurisprudence and Intellectual Activism” and “Can Therapeutic Jurisprudence Inspire and Inform a Healthier Culture of Legal Scholarship?”

Association of Labor Relations Agencies, Annual Conference, Washington, D.C. (July 21-24, 2013) — I’ll be giving a speech on workplace bullying and labor relations. This invitation is evidence of the growing impact of the workplace anti-bullying movement: ALRA members are employment relations “neutrals” from government labor relations agencies across North America, and this will provide us with great visibility among an important group.

11 responses

  1. David
    What can a victory for people like myself,who’s life has changed drastically,from being bullied and lost evetything after filing a.claim with the MCAD

    • Shelton, I can’t say. Even when the Healthy Workplace Bill becomes law someday, it will apply only to situations occurring after enactment. So your options are likely limited to existing laws.

  2. After my most recent firing-three weeks ago, now-I haven’t been able to obtain an attorney who would be willing to take a look at the issue. When attempting to request that someone sit down with me and review the materials I have collected over the years, I was simply asked a series of questions with the focus being on whether or not I thought I was discriminated against based upon a protected group.

    My thought is I am not an attorney, and I needed someone to give me a chance to tell my story. I get the sense that unless the case appears to be cut and dry, so to speak, attorneys do not want to bother with the more complicated situations that are fueled by savvy supervisors who have learned the art of their trade so well, that they know how to go virtually undetected in the legal sense of the word. However, in my case, I have been able to document some rather outrageous behavior and that is why I was such a threat. But I couldn’t get anyone to hear me out.

    It seems as though our fundamental rights as employees have been compromised so much so that with the at-will clause, where an employer can fire someone based upon a good reason, a bad reason, and/or no reason at all, the workplace dynamics, then, lends itself to being a hostile work environment by the very nature of this employer/employee agreement.

    It appears that if a supervisor lies or provides an untruth as the grounds for termination, without her superior investigating the matter, an employee loses one’s job, as well as one’s integrity in the community, and is put at risk of plummeting into despair-especially given the economy’s climate- thereby potentially losing everything.

    Currently, I am at dire risk of losing my home, my car, and my pets. For now, my daughter is staying with friends. I cannot guarantee how long they will be able to keep her afloat so that she doesn’t feel the sting of this termination.

    My supervisor lied about her rationale for my termination to the CEO. He didn’t bother to question me about the matter, simply took her word for it-even though he knew that there has been a toxic relationship between us for years-and wrote up the termination papers, etc.

    When I told him that the termination rationale was inaccurate, in the end, he simply stated: “well it has already been done”, as if to say that since the termination had been initiated, even if it was based on a faulty premise, he might as well proceed with it, anyway.

    To me, there is something fundamentally wrong with the employment sector as it pertains to employees’ rights. I truly think that there needs to be a more middle ground approach to this issue, otherwise, hard working employees across the employment sector are losing their jobs based upon faulty premises often initiated by bullying supervisors who seek and obtain negative control over the work environment and can, in essence, get away with anything they want.

    • JP, unfortunately plaintiffs’ employment attorneys are dealing with the severe limitations of current law. Because only a small fraction of initial inquiries turns into potential income generating cases, they have to do a quick triage with those inquiries — and for many that line is whether the case is a viable discrimination claim or not. And, unlike large commercial law firms, they’re not in an economic position to take on a complicated case that may not even have a clear legal claim. It’s why we need the workplace bullying legislation — right now, plaintiffs’ lawyers are like doctors fighting infections before we had antiseptics.

      • I will admit, David, I would feel more reassured if I was aware that there are employment attorneys (plaintiff attorneys) that are supporting this bill.

        I do not get the sense that there is a strong attorney lobbying group. I would very much wish to be mistaken.

        Having said that, thank you for your responsiveness. It does become discouraging that employees are subjected to such cruel treatment without there being appropriate recourse. Working under the chronic long-term diress that many of us face-have faced-has a psychic-kind of torture chamber experience to it.

        This legislation needs to be passed.

      • JP, it has taken the plaintiffs employment attys a while to warm up to bullying. Many of them, frankly, have regarded the Healthy Workplace Bill cause as chasing at windmills.

        However, I’m pleased about the invitation to speak at the national conference of the National Employment Lawyers Association. It came out of the blue, and it’s a sign that this is more on their radar screen.

      • All I can say, David, is that I am most grateful-and I say that from the bottom of my heart- that you have stepped forward on behalf of all of us.

        Without you in our corner, I simply do not know where we would be as it pertains to the human cruelty that our hard working and dedicated workforce endure.

        My family has been devastated by the years of torment brought upon by a woman who has zero interest or concern in the suffering that she inflicts upon others.

  3. I will say too that I am grateful for David. I worked at a job I loved for 24 years until we received our “bully boss”. My whole life has also been devastated as Justicepending. I reported to the EEOC and still waiting. I was bullied since 2010 and upper management lied along with the bully. It is a very sick work environment to be in. I do have a lawyer but feel he is not passionate enough about this subject. We need the Healthy Workplace Bill to prevent these sick people from running over good employees.

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