06 December 2016

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05 December 2016

Townsville Hospital worker claims she was bullied

A TOWNSVILLE Hospital employee says she tried to commit suicide twice following ongoing workplace bullying and harassment.
Jodi Miller (pictured) said she wanted to share her story so to give others strength to come forward with their experiences. It comes after the Bulletin revealed numerous employees across the Townsville Hospital and Kirwan Health Campus had lodged bullying complaints. Since then, 15 employees have contacted the Bulletin to discuss their experiences.
Ms Miller has been seeing a psychologist for anxiety that she said was caused from chronic fatigue and workplace issues.

She said while she had been a victim of verbal abuse, failure to address workload issues and roster adjustments were what “tipped her over”. “I asked for my rosters to be adjusted between July and August 2015,” she said. “I was also working every weekend, there was no balance between work and my family life.”

Ms Miller said there was never enough people on during her night shift, leaving her feeling exhausted. Ms Miller said when her roster was adjusted, it wasn’t what she had requested.
“I took three months off with chronic fatigue and then returned to work again on July 13,” she said.

Ms Miller said she hadn’t been back an hour before she was requested to help with a patient who became aggressive and bit her on the arm.
“I finished the job and burst into tears,” she said.
“I went straight to the doctors and was told I had high blood pressure, which I have never had.”

Ms Miller said she applied for a work cover claim however it was denied. She said following an independent psychiatric investigation, it was determined that the bite on her forearm was not the main cause for her poor mental health and was told she couldn’t go back to work for three months.

“My issue is now sitting with Australian Workers’ Union lawyers to see if I can overturn the decision,” she said.

Ms Miller said she wanted to bring awareness to workplace bullying.

“I tried taking my own life twice, it tipped me over,” she said.

Townsville Hospital and Health Service chief operating officer Kieran Keyes said the matters raised by Ms Miller had been investigated and welcomed the opportunity to discuss them with her. “The health service has not received any grievances relating to workplace harassment or bullying from Ms Miller,” he said.

“A number of the matters raised by Ms Miller are protected by employee privacy and we remain committed to protecting the privacy of our staff.
“We work with staff to ensure rosters are assigned to ensure a balance between work and family commitments as well as the organisation’s operational requirements.”
Mr Keyes said there were nine patient handlers rostered on night shifts.

Source: http://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/news/townsville-hospital-worker-claims-she-was-bullied/news-story/3f28856e65cf157743bd216df189a01e

02 December 2016

Queensland Industrial Court Vice-President Dianne Linnane faces Workplace Bullying claim

Queensland Industrial Court vice-president Dianne Linnane.
A secret investigation has been ordered into allegations of workplace bullying against one of Queensland’s most senior industrial umpires.
The high-ranking official within a Queensland government agency pockets $400,000 a year.
Justice Department deputy ­director-general Simon Blackwood commissioned the almost unprecedented independent probe into Queensland Industrial Court vice-president Dianne Linnane after she allegedly bullied a fellow judicial officer.

Melbourne lawyer Barry Sherriff has been quietly conducting interviews for months,
after being asked to investigate whether Ms Linnane — who is paid an annual base salary of nearly $400,000 and has tenure until she is 70 — breached the state’s Work Health and Safety Act.

She is alleged to have bullied Industrial Court commissioner Minna Knight.

The judicial officers serve on the Industrial Court and Queensland Industrial Relations Commission, which are responsible for resolving workplace disputes. The Australian understands Ms ­Linnane denies the allegations being investigated by Mr Sherriff and is considering legal options.

The Australian
is not suggesting Ms Linnane engaged in the conduct, only that she is being investigated for it. She did not respond to questions from this paper put through the court’s registry yesterday.

The case is highly sensitive for the state, given judges’ right to ­immunity from prosecution and the separation of powers.

It is doubtful any action could be taken against Ms Linnane by the government even if the ­allegations were proven.

Under Queensland law, the only way to remove a judicial ­officer from their office is for the governor to order the removal after a vote of parliament for “mental or physical incapacity” or “misbehaviour”.

It is unlikely that bullying allegations against Ms Linnane would justify such an action, and Mr Sherriff is not conducting a general investigation into her fitness as a judicial officer. Under the Industrial Relations Act, judicial officers such as Ms Linnane are afforded ­immunities similar to Supreme Court judges for performing their duties.

The Linnane stoush spilt into the courtroom recently when ­Industrial Court president and Supreme Court judge Glenn Martin was forced to order Ms Lin­nane be removed from hearing an unrelated case in which Dr Blackwood would be a key witness.

The case involved public servant Alain D’Hotman De Villiers, who was sacked by Dr Blackwood from the Office of Industrial Relations. Lawyers for both the ­bureaucrat and the government asked Ms Linnane to recuse herself after she agreed to sign a ­notice ordering the production of documents.

The notice required the production of documents “showing Simon Blackwood’s involvement in responding to any complaint or complaints” about or involving Ms Linnane in the past five years, and all documents relating to the appointment of an investigator of any such complaints.

In a two-minute hearing in late October, Ms Linnane refused to hear arguments that she should recuse herself for apprehended bias. The government and Mr De Villiers’s lawyers appealed, and Justice Martin ruled on November 3 that she be recused because “the necessary ground for establishing apprehended bias has clearly been made out”.

When contacted by The Australian to give Ms Linnane a right of reply, her solicitor, Glen ­Cranny, said “it would not be ­appropriate to comment further at this point in time”.
Commissioner Knight and Dr Blackwood declined to comment.

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said she was “aware” of the independent investigation but it was “the sole responsibility of the department”.

Aged in her mid-60s, Ms Linnane was appointed to both the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission and the Industrial Court by the Beattie Labor government in 1999 after a career as a barrister.

In 2010, Right to Information documents obtained by The Courier-Mail revealed a long-running stoush between Ms Linnane and then-commissioner Don Brown, in which she ordered him not to enter the commission’s tearoom, library and his own chambers.

: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/industrial-relations/industrial-umpire-dianne-linnane-faces-workplace-bullying-claim/news-story/a81914f2f31ea23c96e6f58b88b13fcb 

Also: http://finance.nine.com.au/2016/11/15/10/04/queensland-official-investigated-over-workplace-bullying-claim

30 November 2016

RESEARCH: Bullying and Sexual Harassment Rife in the Workplace

Humiliation, exclusion, harassment and unwanted sexual advances.

New research has found adult employees are increasingly finding themselves struggling at work and are victims of cruel and juvenile taunts that were once exclusively reserved for the school yard.
However, is workplace bullying on the rise, or has there been a shift in culture to where it is no longer tolerated? With employees more confident to report abuse.

Government body, Safe Work Australia, has released a report that found one in ten employees claim they have been bullied at work, either by a boss, colleague or customer.

The research also found employees believe that it is not co-workers, but supervisors who commit majority of the bullying.

Alarmingly, instances of isolated conflict are even more prevalent, with one in three employees saying they have been verbally berated, while another one in four have said to have been publicly humiliated.

One in five also report to have been physically assaulted by a customer, client or in the medical industry, a patient.

Safe Work Australia found that bullying is most likely to occur in the power and water supply sectors or the transport and mining industries.  It is also women who are more likely to be physically assaulted or sexually harassed.

On the other hand men are subject to being sworn at or racially abused.

And the implications of such bullying don’t come cheap.

These heartless acts are costing us $36 billion a year in healthcare and lost business productivity, according to the report.

Meanwhile a number of women have spoken out about what it feels like when a customer crosses the line.

spoke to about 20 women who work across a range of industries including hospitality, retail, education and health.

Many women confessed to verbal or physical harassment and in some cases rape and stalking incidents also occurred.

Many employees believe putting up with such events is “just part of the job” however many are unaware that a change to the Sex Discrimination Act has made it illegal for customers to sexually harass employees.

However the lack of campaigns to protect staff against these acts has many fuming.

“If we were seeing those sorts of injury rates for a piece of machinery, you’d expect to see ads on TV, there would be approved training, there’d be prosecutions,” workplace relations and discrimination lawyer Lisa Heap argued.
“You’d have to conclude it’s entrenched sexism in regulating authorities.”
Any unwelcome sexual behaviour which makes a person feel humiliated, offended or intimated falls under the new law.

: https://tenplay.com.au/news/national/november/bullying-and-sexual-harassment-rife-in-the-workplace

26 November 2016

Don’t be afraid to confront bullies in the workplace

Bullying can be as harmful in the workplace as it is in schools, causing well-understood effects on people, plus a long list of challenges for organisations. More sobering to business leaders are the irrefutable statistics – bullying is costing businesses billions annually.

As explained by Lisa Castle, the vice president of human resources at the University of British Columbia in Canada:

"Its impact is enormous: disengagement; loss of creativity and productivity; sick leave, benefit and turnover costs." For every short-term result that a bully achieves, there is a list of longer-term negative business impacts that far outweigh any temporary benefits.

The good news is that increased public awareness, research, and an expanded appreciation of the costs/effects of bullying have paved the way for efforts to address it.

Further, there are many tools, experts and ideas for formulating an effective action plan. In the highly diverse Middle Eastern workplaces, to effectively address bullying, it is essential to have skills and a common language to talk about difficult things, across differences and in a consistent manner. While managing aggressive behaviour is difficult, it’s worth speaking up and taking action – for you, your workplace culture and the bottom line.

Having a discussion about bullying is never enjoyable but that doesn’t mean it should be avoided. Most organisations are generally unprepared and terrible at managing workplace bullying. There are many contributors:

Business leaders are afraid to confront bullies

While most leaders are aware that workplace harassment is a severe problem, they are often afraid to deal with it. Bullying is a sensitive topic because it requires a difficult discussion – confrontation, conflict and courage as much as it requires tools. Fear often feeds the problem: fear of the actual confrontation, of what else might be uncovered.

Having talked with plenty of executives, it is fair to state that fear of having that discussion is a serious impediment to eliminating the issue. The result is paralysis, and so the bullying continues.

A focus on results

In our hyper-competitive world, there are intense demands for results. Organisations become so focused on short-term results that they ignore how they are achieved. If there is one commonality among bullies, it’s a gift for whipping up results.

Misinterpretation of a ­"competitive workplace"

Organisations confuse healthy competition with a "survival of the fittest" model for workplace behaviour. There have been stories about Amazon, Apple and other global companies where staff members are regularly challenged to outperform their colleagues using over-the -top rewards for the winner.

It is possible to have both workplace respect and healthy competition. Staff members do not need to be abused to perform to their fullest. The truth is that by addressing bullying and empowering staff, leaders improve workplace culture, increase employee engagement and motivate innovation.

A belief that bullying is a ­leadership style

Bullying is the opposite of leadership. In my opinion, executives who use this excuse to support a tormentor are probably afraid to confront the problem. They discount the level of the bullying, rationalise it as a leadership issue or find another excuse to avoid actively engaging. They leave the mess alone, hoping it will sort itself out. That never happens if leaders don’t speak up.

Lack of effective policies

Most organisations have a harassment policy that outlines what is unacceptable workplace behaviour. How­ever, many organisations don’t have an effective complaints process. Without a fair, impartial, confidential and effective complaints and conflict resolution processes, the policy is meaningless.

The above reasons are why organisations fail to respond effectively to cases of bullying.

There are undoubtedly others, too. What is important is that even though the vast majority of leaders acknowledge the problem should be eradicated, very few actually do. The effect on organisational success is significant and totally preventable. With the help of others and a willingness to confront the problem head-on, long-term improvements to the workplace culture and bottom line await.

by: Paul Pelletier a consultant with PDSi, a coaching and leadership development company that has created its own certified programme, HardTalk, to help individuals and teams have the difficult conversations necessary for success

22 November 2016

Sydney Woman paid more than $1 million paid out for Workplace Bullying at NSW Government Agency

The interrogation came out of the blue and continued mercilessly, even while she was doubled over sobbing.

The woman, who was 41 at the time of the incident, has been awarded more than $1 million in a negotiated workplace bullying settlement.

See here for video interview with Lawyer
Australia's million dollar workplace bullying payoutThe lawyer of a woman who was the victim of workplace bullying explains the details of the million dollar case.  

The bullying she experienced at a NSW government agency five years ago has rendered her unable to ever work again.

As two bosses hurled accusations at her during a meeting called to provide her with feedback on an internal job application, the woman who could only speak on the condition of anonymity, said she was in shock and disbelief.

Now aged 46, the victim still has no idea what motivated the attack.
Now aged 46, the victim still has no idea what motivated the attack. Photo: Louie Dovis
Now aged 46, she still has no idea what motivated the attack which had come without any warning. A string of psychiatrists have provided evidence that her mental injury has rendered her unable to return to work. "I can never get those five years back. I can't do what I used to do," she said.

"My career was going well. The agency had just paid for me to do a public service management course. I thought I was earmarked for senior management and then this happened."

The woman's lawyer, Lucinda Gunning from Carroll and O'Dea Lawyers in Sydney, said the more than $1 million payout was made up of two components – one for total and permanent disablement, which was paid out by a private insurer, and a workers compensation payment, for past and future earning capacity.

Lucinda Gunning from Carroll & O'Dea Lawyers says the $1m payout is the highest sum she has seen paid for a workplace ...
Lucinda Gunning from Carroll & O'Dea Lawyers says the $1m payout is the highest sum she has seen paid for a workplace bullying claim.  Photo: Ryan Stuart
"In my experience, this is the highest sum that I have seen paid for a workplace bullying claim," she said. Like many cases of workplace bullying, the circumstances at first glance appear trivial.

The woman who worked in middle management had made an error in an internal application for another job within her state government agency. She had accidentally duplicated an answer to one question in response to another. She says she accepted the error had effectively invalidated the application.

However, her bosses insisted on meeting to provide feedback despite her saying it was unnecessary because she understood her error.

I can never walk into a room with two people in an interview again because of the way they dealt with me.
When she sat down with a male and female supervisor, they accused her of having an inappropriate relationship in the office and of passing off a colleague's ideas as her own, which she flatly denies.
"I was blindsided by it. I couldn't understand where the allegations were coming from," she says.
"Had they given me some sort of notice or asked me in a less hostile environment, I could explain it. It was just incorrect. But they just kept going and going.

"I was sobbing and doubled over and they were still making allegations about information sharing.

"It just didn't stop. At one point they said we can put you in contact with the counselling service.
"I said I will absolutely need it after this meeting and still they went on. I don't know why I didn't walk out. It went on for ages."
When the meeting was finally over, the public servant went on annual leave. 

When she returned to work, she was forced to work with one of the supervisors who had bullied her in the meeting.
"I asked to be moved out of that department. But they felt the need to humiliate me further by sitting me outside their office and the team I used to manage," she said.

"I wasn't allowed to contribute.
"I couldn't breath in there. I felt so useless.
"It got to the point where I would sit in the bathroom for six hours and no one would notice I was there.
"I didn't do any work because I couldn't."
The woman, who described herself as a resilient person before the experience with bullying, was sent to a mediation session with the female supervisor.
"The woman attacked me again to the point where the mediator told her to stop. It was horrible," she said.
"She said I had given another industry representative information about a meeting for stakeholders. But they had sent out a notice of the meeting. It was ridiculous. There was a clear explanation for how someone I was accused of telling found out about the meeting.
"I was trying to explain it to them, but they wouldn't listen.
"The woman accused me of trying to take credit for someone else's work in my job application. I said I wasn't taking credit, I had delegated the work and I was her boss.
"The tone of the meeting could have been very different. They could have just said: 'Could you just please go through this with me'.
"But they were only interested in attacking me. 
"As a result they changed my life. I did not leave that office the same person I was when I arrived."
By May, 2012, the woman left the organisation feeling "hopeless".
Every time she entered a lift she would look to the ground to see if she could identify the shoes of her supervisors. 
"I was terrified. I couldn't be near them," she said.
The woman's complaints were initially investigated in house in what she describes as an unfair process.
It took five years to finalise her claim during which insurance companies put her and her children under surveillance.
"This is a psychological injury, not a physical one," she said.
"Everything was challenged. I was pushed to the absolute limit. I'm surprised I'm actually still here."
After five years of "hell", the woman said she had hoped to feel better now the pressure is off.
"But I still don't," she said.
"I can never get those five years back. I can't do what I used to do."

20 November 2016

How to start changing an unhealthy work environment by Glenn D. Rolfsen at TEDxOslo

Do you think backbiting is happening at your workplace or place of study?

Glenn Rolfsen's talk is about what contributes to a toxic work environment and what the significant factors are that determine our working life quality. His approach addresses how to achieve a permanent end to slander and bullying among adults in the workplace.

Glenn D. Rolfsen is a psychotherapist working in corporate health service in Oslo.

He has also worked as a teacher to educate gestalt therapists in Norway and several European countries. He is particularly concerned with the psychosocial work environment in enterprises. As corporate counsel and leadership consultant, he works daily to improve working life quality for employees.

21 October 2016

Bullying and Corporate Psychopaths at Work by Clive Boddy at TEDxHanzeUniversity

There are many great TED Talks on bullying in the workplace, here is one by English Professor Clive Boddy, based on his research findings looking at the link between Corporate Psychopaths and bullying, in Australian and the UK workplace.

Characteristics of Bullies:
Enjoy hurting others, cruel, selfish, parasitic, Machiavellian, psychopathic, callous, disrespectful, abusive, lacking in empathy remorse or guilt, and good at political networking skills.

'Corporate Psychopaths are those people who go into organisational and corporate positions rather than a criminal career.'

'Psychologists have slowly come to realised that those from better socio-economic background, perhaps with a good education and good family backgrounds, have worked out early that it's far easier to get the power, prestige and money that they want from a Corporate career, than from a criminal career.'

'Psychopaths have absolutely no conscious'

2008 Study revealed:


* 1% of people (Corporate Psychopaths) accounted for the presence of at least 26% of all bullying by Australian mangers (from study sample of 346)
* Under normal managers, employees encountered bullying 9x per year
* Under Corporate Psychopaths, employees encountered bullying 64x per year

* Found more bullying and more Psychopaths in the UK.
* 1% of people (Corporate Psychopaths) accounted for the presence of at least 36% of all bullying by Australian mangers
* Under normal managers, employees encountered bullying 13x per year
* Under Corporate Psychopaths, employees encountered bullying 84x per year

Link between Corporate Psychopaths and Bullying


* Psychopaths bully as it's predatory, they enjoy doing it, they like to hurt people and damage their careers.

* 'Instrumental Bullying' -  to create confusion and chaos around them, enables them to form their own agenda to promote themselves, creating a smoke screen so they can get on with their agenda. This explains why Psychopaths get promoted over others, as they are manipulators.
*Linking at an organisational level eg: Enron, was reported to have a culture of bullying, of staff, agencies, suppliers, to keep them all in check to perpetuate the fraud. The same culture was found in banking institutions during the Global Financial Crisis, don't ask questions or you'll get into trouble' which covers up fraud.

Further reading: The Implications of Corporate Psychopaths for Business And Society: An  Initial Examination And A Call To Arms

Prof Clive Boddy is a Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at Middlesex University in England. For the past seven years, he has studied the evidence and effects of toxic leadership, and in particular the influence of the presence of corporate psychopaths on various workplace outcomes, including on levels of conflict and bullying at work.

08 October 2016

Hospital worker claims toxic culture of bullying is leaving her colleagues suicidal and suffering panic attacks

  • Stevie-Lee Semgreen resigned from Townsville Hospital in June this year 
  • She did a year of night shift and claims hospital ignored her complaints  
  • Managers and supervisors at the hospital have been accused of bullying
  • Several employees suffer panic attacks, intense anger or feeling suicidal  
  • The hospital said it provides effective channels for employees to complain
Stevie-Lee Semgreen worked on night shift for an entire year at Townsville Hospital until she resigned in June, saying her complaints were ignored by the hospital's management
Stevie-Lee Semgreen worked on night shift for an entire year at Townsville Hospital until she resigned in June, saying her complaints were ignored by the hospital's management
A WOMAN has resigned from Townsville Hospital, Queensland, Australia claiming a toxic work environment has left several employees suicidal and others with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Managers and supervisors have been accused of bullying and harassing staff over the past three years. Several employees have taken sick and stress leave while others have suffered from panic attacks, severe anger and post-traumatic stress disorders, staff members claim.

They said incidents of verbal abuse had been reported, including inappropriate comments on people’s weight and workers being told they were not wanted on their rounds.

One woman, who chose to remain anonymous, launched an external review of Townsville Hospital after she lodged a complaint saying she felt suicidal
One woman, who chose to remain anonymous, launched an external review of Townsville Hospital after she lodged a complaint saying she felt suicidal
Hospital managers have been accused of bullying over a three-year period leaving several staffers suffering panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorders and suicidal thoughts (stock image)
Hospital managers have been accused of bullying over a three-year period leaving several staffers suffering panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorders and suicidal thoughts (stock image)

The Bulletin has been told dozens of complaints had been made to Townsville Hospital’s human resources department and the Australian Workers Union, but workplace issues, including heavy workloads, were being ignored.

However, Townsville Hospital and Health Service acting chief executive Kieran Keyes said the hospital had proven and effective channels for staff members to escalate concerns.

Former employee Stevie-lee Semgreen said she resigned as a result of the ongoing issues in June and has since moved to the Sunshine Coast.
Ms Semgreen, who worked for a year on permanent night shift, said her complaints were brushed aside.

“I was told by one woman at AWU that by putting in a complaint, I was putting a target on my own back,” she said. “I had asked a few times if I could take my issues further but hospital’s management told me that I could not.”

AWU Queensland branch secretary Ben Swan said the union had been investigating Ms Semgreen’s complaints before she left the hospital. “The member concerned left Queensland Health and, as a consequence, that part of the investigation ceased,” he said.

“Our organisers do what they can to assist members through these processes.”

But two other employees, who requested anonymity due to fear of repercussions in the workplace, said they lodged complaints months ago that had still not been dealt with.

One woman called for an external review after she was left feeling suicidal.

“I’ve been with Queensland Health for many years and I’ve never witnessed anything like it,” the woman said. “I have had several workers tell me they are dealing with suicidal thoughts in the workplace because the bullying is so bad.”

AWU Queensland branch secretary Ben Swan said they were investigating Ms Semgreen's complaint about staff mistreatment before she resigned (stock image)
AWU Queensland branch secretary Ben Swan said they were investigating Ms Semgreen's complaint about staff mistreatment before she resigned (stock image)
The employee said she had lodged complaints to the hospital and the AWU more than 12 months ago and had still heard nothing back. “We are isolated and alienated and not given any support,” she said. “Some of the workers feel they are powerless within their union.”

Another employee said she was still waiting to hear back about complaints that she had lodged six months ago.

Mr Keyes said the health service worked closely with staff and unions to resolve any issues. “The health service works closely and productively with unions who routinely raise workplace issues and act on behalf of their members at formal meetings with the health service,” Mr Keyes said.

AWU northern district secretary Bede Harding said complaints were taken seriously.

“All matters reported with the union by our members at Townsville Hospital have been and continue to be raised and addressed with the hospital’s HR executive team,” he said.
“Matters in relation to the advancement in careers and workload issues are also being addressed by the AWU formally with Townsville Hospital management.”
Source: http://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/news/employee-quits-hospital-claiming-toxic-work-environment-and-bullying/news-story/9523cb59857b09a6c3a8bab21c1edfdd

18 September 2016

How Gen Y workers are ruining your workplace

Working with millennials is the worst

GEN Y workers are driving the rise of the work martyr, employees so driven that vacation days go unused in order to impress the boss — or simply to avoid being replaced.

VIDEO LINK : Discussion - Should schools and universities do more to prepare Gen Y for the workforce?

These workers believe complete dedication means little to no downtime, according to a report by Project: Time Off called “The Work Martyr’s Cautionary Tale: How the Millennial Experience Will Define America’s Vacation Culture.” It found 29 percent of the more than 5,600 US employees polled who work more than 35 hours a week fit into the category.
The New York Post reports.

But among millennials, that figure soars to 43 per cent, perhaps running counter to an ageing stereotype of young men and women who are lazy, inefficient or misguided on the job.

‘The workplace is no longer a physical space. It’s a state of mind.’
 - Katie Denis
“What we’ve found is it’s the exact counter to the popular cultural narrative that millennials are spoiled, entitled people,” said Katie Denis, senior director of the Washington-based organisation. “They actually feel like they have to prove their worth and their worth is proven through long hours.”

Graduating into a rough economy combined with an always-connected work environment has created the “perfect storm” for work martyrdom, particularly among the younger crowd, Ms Denis said. “It’s a really tough blend,” she told The Post. “The workplace is no longer a physical space. It’s a state of mind.”


The report defined a work martyr as someone who believes it’s difficult to take a vacation because no else can do their work while they’re gone; who shows complete dedication to the company; who avoids being seen as replaceable; and who simply feels guilty for taking time off.

Workers who fit those criteria, according to the report, tend to be more likely to be female (52 per cent) and less likely to be married than their counterparts.

And among millennials, nearly half (48 per cent) believe it’s a good thing to be seen as a work martyr by their boss, significantly higher than the average among all age groups of 39 per cent.

“The reality is many millennials today have grown up with icons — Mark Zuckerberg and others — who have them believing that they, too, can be a billionaire, almost to the point of being unrealistic,” said Lynn Taylor, a workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How To Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job. Ms Taylor continued: “They think if they just put in the hard work that they have a better chance than any other generation to make it.”

She said not taking hard-earned vacation time has become something of a “badge of honour” on the job, yet another way to impress the boss and stand out among colleagues.
“There’s never been a more competitive time in corporate America,” Ms Taylor said. “I mean, I’ve heard it called the ‘v word.’ The irony is that the work-life balance is so critical to both the employee and employer over time.”


Thirty-nine per cent of respondents said they actually “want to be seen as a work martyr” by their boss, according to the survey released last month. But that flips entirely at home, where 86 per cent of people said it’s a bad thing to be seen as such by their family.

Contributing to that huge disparity, Ms Taylor said, are the growing number of loaded phrases deployed by supervisors that encourage work martyrdom, especially among those who already feel undervalued.

For example, when your boss says that he or she hopes you enjoyed your vacation, that may mean more than you think. Same thing goes for when a supervisor warns of a particularly busy time ahead, Taylor said.

“It’s unfortunate that too many companies in corporate America reward work martyrs, whether it’s blatant or subconscious,” Taylor continued. “There’s definitely a built-in reward system for those people.”

The work martyr mindset is actually “poisonous to company cultures,” according to the report, which urges those who fit that definition to reconsider their approach to taking time off.

“There’s a lot of silence in the workplace about vacation,” Denis said. “And the tone is set at the very top. But, generally, when people start to feel that they can’t take time off, that there’s no work-life balance, that’s when they start looking for other opportunities.”

This article first appeared on the New York Post : 'Working with millennials is the worst' and has been reproduced with permission.