WGBH’s “Greater Boston” on workplace bullying and the Healthy Workplace Bill

On Tuesday I was a guest on WGBH’s “Greater Boston” nightly news program, talking about workplace bullying and the Healthy Workplace Bill. I joined program host Emily Rooney, reporter Adam Reilly, and developmental psychologist and consultant Sharon O’Connor for the studio discussion, complemented by interview footage featuring organizational consultant Paula Parnagian, workplace bullying target Shelton Prince, and small business policy advocate Bill Vernon.

It’s about a 12-minute segment.

7 responses

  1. This is excellent. Thank you for your work on this issue.

    Companies that oppose this legislation are hiding behind other organizations who are speaking in opposition on their behalf. In this segment the National Federation of Independent business spoke in opposition on behalf of its members and at the public hearing on the Healthy Workplace Bill Associated Industries of Massachusetts spoke in opposition on behalf of its members to the Joint Committee for Labor and Workforce Development. We’ve seen this before. Years ago big tobacco did the same thing, and today gun manufacturers are using the NRA similarly. The companies that are hiding behind these associations are hiding because opposing this legislation is bad PR, and opposing this legislation is bad PR because it’s bad for people.

  2. David, great job with the interview. You were very articulate and delivered your message clearly. For many people, they need to experience real workplace bullying before they will consider it a problem. Or, at least utilize media that will open their eyes to the horrors experienced by targets.

    Maybe we should pitch a program to Hollywood. A take on Undercover Boss…. Let’s pitch Undercover Bosshole. Your friend in Tulsa. Kevin Kennemer, The People Group

  3. Dear David,

    Since the news came out about the firefighters and police of New York being accused of fraud with pictures of them fishing as “proof” I have been thinking about them. I have PTSD, and what most do not understand is that we can do things that are in safe environments, but being in scary situations can cause further loss of function. I did volunteer work for many years after I had to leave an abusive workplace, and those seeing me function in that place could have drawn the same conclusion, but I did it with the approval of my psychiatrist and psychologist. Sometimes when symptoms were increasing I had to withdraw for a bit, but could return and in the long term giving to my community helped me. Doing fun and relaxing things helped too.

    You have done a great deal toward helping others understand about PTSD. I never did get back to the level of functioning that I had before the 2nd breakdown, and I am not sure that I would even be alive today if I had not had help and good doctors that understood that going back to workplace trauma could have ended my ability to function even more. I feel that this lack of understanding could be affecting these brave people and being accused of fraud could impact their lives negatively even more.

    My own understanding of the permanent changes in the brain was helped by a book PTSD, the Victim’s Guide to Healing and Recovery by Raymond B. Flannery, Jr. where he describes “kindling” on pages 53-54. It is now 18 years after the trauma and when having to interact with my former employer over retirement benefits has been a huge trigger for me.

    Thank you for all you do.


  4. EDITOR’S NOTE: This comment has been edited for length. For more about Neal Dias’s work to address working conditions at Verizon, go to http://justiceatverizon.wordpress.com/.


    WBGH News

    Ref: January 14, 2014 WGBH News Station – Segment on Workplace Bullying

    Dear Ms. Emily Rooney and Mr. Adam Reilly,

    On January 14, 2014, on your WGBH News station, I watched your segment on Workplace Bullying . . . .

    It was this week’s in-depth FOCUS report, on examining the new push to ban bullying in the workplace. It’s a controversial idea, and as WGBH news reporter Adam Reilly focus was on a classic case of good intentions gone too far.

    In the process you had interviewed Mr. Shelton Prince and Professor David Yamada, both of them I have been so lucky to have met. I had the great opportunity of meeting them specifically because of workplace bullying that I myself witnessed and was a victim of while working at Verizon Communication in Massachusetts. I credit Mr. Shelton Prince for having the strength to come forward for so long in this for dignity.

    We are lucky in Massachusetts to have committed advocates like Professor David Yamada, Mr. Greg Sorozan and Deb Falzoi from the Massachusetts Healthy Workplace. They fight each day for a Healthier Workplace for every citizen in this state, and many have no clue that they are doing this. You have Deb Falzoi, who is the most committed woman I know. She puts more time into this cause in Massachusetts, than probably than anyone combined in this country for no money or recognition, but just for a better place for us all.

    I am writing you today as I am going to share my story with you. . . .

    . . . I was a very successful manager at Verizon communication, and high up on the Verizon’s New England Diversity Committee. I was making a great six figure income and living great. I was on many leadership committees what at Verizon and was asked by Verizon to speak often in garages and offices on inclusion and diversity. I was a part of The Boston Partnership program which I know you heard of. It’s a very elite training and mentoring course prepared through this organization. It’s specifically for upscale minority leaders in each organization to train to move up the corporate ladder and in their specific communities in Boston Massachusetts (http://www.thepartnershipinc.org/). This training program was expensive and it was fully paid for by Verizon. I was the only one selected in Verizon New England to attend this year long course. In fact, I was the selected to be the graduating speaker to represent the class.

    I also was nominated and flown into New York by Verizon, to receive an award from the President of Verizon. It was for my leadership role in the Verizon’s New England Diversity Committee. There is an endless amount of things that I have done for Verizon, the Employees of Verizon and the customers and I was awarded for my hard work and successes, and my career was perfect.

    But it was in 2004 I decided to confront two workplace bullies that were very well connected to the top of Verizon, to the Verizon Corporate Security and EEO Departments. And it was then that my career was now taking a different course, in a negative spiral. In 2008 of December, days before Christmas I was let go as it was covered up in a lay off. From 2004 – 2008 I was discriminated against, harassed, bullied, targeted and then wrongfully terminated, it’s been livid hell.

    It was in 2011 that I decided to post what had happened to me on line (which you will receive as an attachment with this letter), it then opened the flood gates to so many to tell me their personal stories, which are so sad and never should have happened. I have access to millions now by post, emails, calls and Facebook (with over 700 groups) so the stories are endless.

    The news story that you put on your show, is just the tip of the iceberg as the abuse in our culture and workplaces today. It’s way beyond the destruction that we see in our schools when it comes to bullying.
    The laws we created to protect our children were great in Massachusetts. We now have the toughest bullying laws in the country when it comes to protecting our children but Massachusetts. But when it comes to Workplace Bullying Laws in Massachusetts and the other 49 states, we are neglecting the parents of all these protected children.

    You may ask why this bill hasn’t passed into law in over 30 something states! Politics is the reasons. Some politicians own and have friend that own businesses and feel this law will do more bad than good, as I disagree. Then you have the larger companies like Verizon that will donate millions to some of these politicians to not vote in favor of this bill, as they feel it’s not in their best favor. Bulling laws passed very quickly for our children because there was no monetary loss or gain for the politicians.

    You look at victims that go against companies like Verizon. I was in a federal mediation in Boston. My attorney was present, as well as the Verizon Attorneys and a Federal Mediator (Former Federal Judge). Verizon said: They will not allow me to ever win my case because they have endless resources. So many workplace bullying victims have not chance at all to compete for justice, so we need a law to make the playing field level for victims of this hennas crime. . . .

    . . . This situation has destroyed our lives, and the lives of many good and innocent people that get up each day to go to work. Many of these people made the right decision to stay out of trouble, get good grades when they were younger, some went to college, some went into the military to serve their country (like me as a former U.S. Marine) and some didn’t, but none of them, no matter what how they prepared for their futures to support themselves, and their families should ever have to endure such abusive and physiological torment at the workplaces. Some victims have acted out and seriously harmed or killed their bullies at workplaces. Some have killed themselves because of the overbearing pressures. Many lose their homes and families. . . .

    . . . I personally went from earning a great living and paying my bills, to preparing for a foreclosure on my home and preparing for the filing of bankruptcy. This down fall because of workplace bullying, discrimination, reporting a hostile work environment, racism and then retaliation in several wants including my wrongful termination.

    So please do not stop until we can celebrate the victory of a Healthier Workplace for all of us, and our children’s futures as well.

    Thank you,

    Neal W. Dias

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