27 January 2017

BULLYING EFFECTS ON LIFE: Out of the wreckage, a school bullying victim's life rebuilt

"I wasn't trying to kill myself," Tom Tehan says matter of factly across the timber cafe table. "I was just trying to stop feeling. And Panadol is to stop pain, that's how it worked in my head."

The thing is, Tom downed several packets of Panadol in his attempt to numb his pain. He ended up needing his stomach pumped and spent three days in hospital when he should have been out enjoying the spring racing carnival with his girlfriend and friends.
Tom Tehan and his mother,  Amanda Wallace. Tom Tehan and his mother, Amanda Wallace. Photo: Jason South

Instead at 19 he was having a breakdown; the result he says of being bullied at school three years earlier.

It's rare to gain an insight into the long-term impact of school bullying. Now and then incidents pop up in the news. Sometimes they are even accompanied by a video shot on a student's mobile phone. Principals, parents and psychologists have their say. And then everyone moves on. Except not everyone can.

Tom couldn't. His years of school bullying culminated in receiving a letter containing a bullet and a death threat at his home. "Bang bang Tomas" the computer-printed note read, misspelling his name. "I just remember breaking down in tears," he says. "It was confirmation, after all the verbal and physical taunts and the times I was excluded, that I wasn't liked."

Though he was never identified by name, Tom's experience was one of those that made headlines in 2007: "Xavier student sent bullet in the mail". Now, more than a decade on, Tom wants to tell his story. It's a story about the car crash that can follow school bullying – and how one man emerged from the wreckage.

At 19, Tom had left Xavier for a new school, finished year 12 and started university. Summer was on the way and things appeared on track. But his bullying burden was always there in the background, unresolved. His stint in hospital brought things to the surface, but he soon suppressed them. He wanted to move on. After being discharged from hospital, Tom deferred his studies at Deakin University and started working in nightclubs.

He was smoking a bit of marijuana, which became a daily habit. He was going out. Lots. Spending more than he was earning. An unsolicited offer of a bank credit card was accepted and before he knew it, he had a $7,000 debt. His family intervened. His dad Peter's cousin offered him a job laying fibre optic cables in the Northern Territory. Arnhem Land. It was as remote and removed as 20-year-old Tom had ever been.

"It was the best thing that ever happened to me at the time," he says. "I had no phone. I was up at 5am every day and working until 6pm. I got to experience Aboriginal communities and hear stories about their Dreamtime from elders."
Tom while working in Arnhem Land. Tom while working in Arnhem Land. Photo: Supplied
He returned to Melbourne clean: mentally, physically and financially. He was loving life again.
But looking back, Tom concedes Arnhem Land was a Band-Aid. Just as Carey Grammar was – the school he went to after Xavier, where he was part of the successful school hockey and athletics teams.

"I was still in emotional pain, but because I was happy, I could mask it," the now 28-year-old says.
Tom running for Carey Grammar. Running for Carey Grammar. Photo: Supplied
He resumed smoking marijuana and working in bars and nightclubs. His nocturnal existence saw him graduate to ice, which gave him supreme confidence. He started to deal in ice to supplement his own habit and mixed with people who used guns to get what they wanted.

Being bullied had made Tom feel he wasn't tough enough to stand up for himself. Ice made him feel that he could handle himself – and that felt good. "I lost all my inhibitions. I could talk without being inside my own head, if that makes sense," he says.

Tom was on ice for years and, according to his mother, Amanda Wallace, he became psychotic. He had "Moses" tattooed on his right arm, painted his car a matt black using spray cans and wrote what he believed were inspirational sayings on the rear window in permanent gold pen.

His memories of this time are hazy – isolated fragments come back. He remembers talking to a neighbour whom he believed was God and apologising to a street tree for the harm humans had inflicted on Earth. In the early hours of January 17, 2014, he was driving down Burke Road, Malvern, on his way to see a friend.  He believed the best way to get there was to put his foot flat on the accelerator and close his eyes. Police estimate he was travelling at 122/kmh when he crashed into two power poles and several trees.

Tom's car after the 2014 accident. Tom's car after the 2014 accident. Photo: Supplied
How he survived the crash, no one knows. Tom suspects closing his eyes saved him because he became "like a rag doll" as he was ejected from the car, landing bruised and broken on the asphalt. He nearly lost his right leg. Every bone in his right foot was smashed up, he had a ruptured spleen and broken ribs. He spent three months in various hospitals, which in hindsight was like rehab. It got him off ice, which he hasn't touched since.

Tom in The Alfred's intensive care unit. In The Alfred's intensive care unit. Photo: Supplied
When he was discharged, he went to his mother's house. He says that after the crash he had no desire to use drugs. But while ice was behind him, a week later he sniffed butane gas and released a guttural scream. It freaked him out enough agree to a phone conversation with a family friend, who suggested he try an addiction program. That call started his slow turnaround from the self-destruction he believes was triggered by the 2004 bullying at Xavier.
Having lost his licence for two years, Tom was driven to his first session by his mother. She didn't trust that he would go in, so she waited and watched him in her rear-vision mirror. He did. He went every day for three months. He eventually ran the Wednesday night meetings.
"It gave me confidence in myself because someone had entrusted me to do something," Tom says. "I'd lost trust from a lot of people in my life and that was a way to re-grow it and start again."
Slowly, he rebuilt his life. The love and loyalty from his parents and four siblings never wavered. Neither did the support from his Old Xaverians hockey team, who late last year honoured him with the club's Smithy Medal recognising his against-the-odds return to the sport. It's what got him through; it reminded him how lucky he was.

He has had 10 operations in the three years since the accident and remains in pain due to nerve damage. He sees a psychologist regularly and works in hospitality. He has twice spoken to school students about addiction, hoping his warts-and-all story will strike a chord and make someone think twice before taking a similar path.

What he has learnt from all of this is that everyone makes choices. "As much as I could put it all back on bullying, I made choices to do the things that I did," Tom says. "Whatever was driving me, I was still at the wheel."

Tom Tehan talking to students about addiction. Talking to students about addiction. Photo: Supplied
This year he will return to uni to study sport coaching at Victoria University. He is moving on but has undertaken not forget the lessons his past has taught him. These are lessons he wants to share and hopefully, in the process, reduce the social stigma around drug addiction.

"One article isn't going to change how society sees it," he says. "But it just might make one person see that completely normal people get into cycles of addiction."

: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/out-of-the-wreckage-a-school-bullying-victims-life-rebuilt-20161228-gtj58v.html

15 January 2017

HR : Getting Human Resources Right ... 'Culture matters more than talent'

Dave Ulrich video: Culture matters more than talent

In our series of videos Dave Ulrich looks at what drives business performance and how HR can help

HR should increase its focus on culture, according to Dave Ulrich, Rensis Likert collegiate professor at Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.

“I think talent matters, but culture matters more”
he told HR magazine editor Katie Jacobs.

“The ‘war for talent’ has been a metaphor for 15 years,” he said. “We now have to have a victory through organisation. Wars are won through organisation, and you have victory by being in it together.”

In our exclusive series of videos Ulrich, who is considered the father of the business partner model and has consistently been voted one of the most influential thinkers in HR, looks at what drives business performance and how HR can help organisations succeed.

The series – kindly sponsored by MHR – will also include insights on managing multiple stakeholders, analytics, transforming HR, and speed teaching.

Watch the video series here

Part 1 : Dave Ulrich Insights on the future of the HR profession - Perspectives

Part 2 : Dave Ulrich Insights - HR Outcomes

Ulrich's 'Talent Trifector' stated the talent was a combination of 'Competence', 'Commitment' and 'Contribution'. Culture can enhance/undermine people's commitment and help or hinder the contribution they can make. So for organisations that fail to create a suitable culture, just as "culture eats strategy for breakfast", culture will munch talent for lunch... SM

Source: http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/article-details/dave-ulrich-video-culture-matters-more-than-talent


10 January 2017

Sister Campaign's For Bullying Victim - 14yr old Kodi Pearson Bullied at School & on Facebook

Tayla Pearson’s fight to tackle bullying that led to brother’s suicide

SEVENTEEN-year-old Tayla Pearson is on a mission to tackle the devastating scourge of bullying.
The aspiring Brisbane-based model’s world fell apart last year when her beloved younger brother Kodi, 14, took his life after suffering from bullying, both online and at school.


“We were like best friends, we were always together,” Tayla told The Courier-Mail.
“The experience has changed me, it has made me think about all the little things people do to others. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all,” she said.
 Both Tayla, who completed Year 12 last year, and Kodi, who was in Year 9, attended St Thomas Moore College in Sunnybank.

Tayla Pearson holds a picture of her brother Kodi. Picture: Mark Cranitch.
Tayla said her brother always came across as a happy student who didn’t have a care in the world, but she was one of the few people who knew about the bullying he experienced.

Tayla Pearson with her brother Kodi, who committed suicide last year. Picture: Supplied
She said that some days he would fake being sick to try to avoid school, but even when he missed class, the torment would follow him home online. “Not only was he receiving grief in school, he wasn’t able to escape from it at home either,” she said.

The Courier-Mail has been unable to reach the school for comment.

Tayla is now working with a number of schools, including Ipswich Grammar, to help teach teenagers about the tragic consequences of bullying.

She hopes that by sharing her experience and speaking candidly about the loss of her brother, other high school students will think twice before bullying.
Tayla is also using a national model search – the Australian Supermodel of the Year competition, to be held this month in Bali – as a platform to raise awareness about youth mental health.
“Having that exposure behind you means you have the opportunity to get the message out there more,” she said.

: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/tayla-pearsons-fight-to-tackle-bullying-that-led-to-brothers-suicide/news-story/15a8613491b10ea3e90edda1cc6ba9a7

04 January 2017

When Human Resources is Corrupt

Why it Matters in the Seismic Industry

'Corruption: dishonest or illegal behavior especially by powerful people.' ~ Merriam-Webster

'Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive.' ~ Walter Scott

What happens when human resources is corrupt?

During a down cycle in an industry, and amid times of economic uncertainty especially, corporate human resources (HR) departments can hold substantial influence over personal lives. With such influence also comes the opportunity to abuse power and wield such influence in nefarious ways. As a scientist for the majority of my career, HR served as an innocuous backdrop. HR collected my timesheets, distributed payroll slips, insurance and pension optimization plan information, and they filed assessments conducted by my supervisors. In the article, Why the Path to Ethics Starts with Human Resources, author Chris MacDonald states that HR is ground zero for company culture. I agree.

HR publishes company policy, values, and procedures.
However, my benign impression of HR was completely transformed through the experience with a past employer. Since then, I have read extensively about HR, including accounts of HR behaving badly, which opened my eyes. I have come to the conclusion that, fundamentally, HR functions to support the organization hierarchy. An HR which supports the organization hierarchy is not too surprising and is as it should be. If the hierarchy is fair and honest, so too is HR.

Conversely, however, if the hierarchy is corrupt, then so too is HR. A corrupt HR is used to purge the ranks from power liabilities, such as the honest up-and-comer on a top manager’s coat tails, or any honest person too close to the truth, such as a whistle blower, or a bully target who challenges managerial competency and integrity.

HR does not have the power to displace the corrupt hierarchy that employs them. It should be relatively simple for an ethical hierarchy to rid themselves of a knave employee. Corrupt hierarchies are regimes who conspire, cooperate and protect one another. Fundamentally, workplace bullying is the abuse of power. Abuse of position is a category of fraud, as are false representation and withholding of information, which are all usually associated with fiduciary malfeasance, rather than the misuse and abuse of human resources.

I believe that bullies are not individuals, but regimes supported by an organization’s formal power structures. HR will shield managerial corruption and incompetence and use their legitimate guise to extricate threatening (to the corrupt or incompetent hierarchy) personnel. Within unethical and toxic organizations, a corrupt HR is empowered and enabled as the enforcer to protect the company proverbial cosa nostra. In fact, for corrupt organizations, a corrupt HR is practically essential.

For me, this prose is personal.  However, what I have learned is that it shares an all too common theme for many disenfranchised workers who take stands against unprincipled work practices.  It is the reasonable people who are often made out to be unreasonable.  I wrote about how I came to discover, and know with certainty, about the unethical practices of my former employer in the LinkedIn Pulse article, An American, the UK Data Protection Act, Petroleum Geo-Services and the Tyranny of “Accurate Data.”   

[Note: Linkedin removed original Article by Steve Kalavity: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/american-uk-data-protection-act-petroleum-tyranny-steven-kalavity?trk=pulse_spock-articles]
As an American working in England, my former marine seismic company employer’s HR manager had the brazen audacity to create and retain an entire mythology of my work history. I suppose it is because I upset the hierarchy by essentially saying “enough is enough.”  Without my knowledge, and in spite of several requests for more substantive information, the HR Manager compiled a collection of unsigned, falsified, and forged documents which he had the imperiousness to call my professional personnel file.

Because it is my belief that these falsehoods have been shared throughout the HR back-channels, as I cannot conceive of any other utility for them matching his character, I brought my knowledge of these activities to light.  There would be absolutely no advantage for me to publish ungrounded allegations of a former employer.  However, I feel that I need to write about my experience to defend and preserve my personal dignity and reputation for myself and my family, as well as enlighten the broader community.  I am determined to challenge the false narrative economically focusing on the truth rather than addressing damages in English court.  Such a challenge would be time consuming, expensive, and logistically difficult. 

Also, to prove the points to any (uncertain economic) benefit is not my priority so much as the truth of the matter.  However, it would be impossible for my previous employer to prove otherwise.  Nonetheless, the false documents and/or contents mentioned are in my possession, as well as have been shared with UK and Norwegian government compliance organizations, if they so choose to investigate compliance to their national laws and acts.  Truth has patience.

I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed.   ~  Jonathan Swift  The reason that it is important to bring attention to the iniquitous behaviors of employers within the seismic industry, or other sectors for that matter, is because nothing is done in isolation.  The companies, employees, and communication channels are all connected.  When companies decide to pollute their company records, and the marine seismic and larger geophysical community or sector, with false information about ex-employees, it serves only the self-interest of incompetent or corrupt leadership.  When high level executives cooperate to use the financial leverage provided from customers, shareholders, and other employees to make challenging wrong-doing exceptionally difficult, these decisions devalue every aspect of a company.  Should management be able to vilify me, or other employees, professionally when the company top executives are the ones who lie and malign?

It is those who lack the courage to abide by the policies which they articulate, who deceive, withhold, and then falsify documents who are the ones that should be ashamed. 
And it should be the company and its executives who condone such egregious practices that should be out of work, and not the targets of abused power.  That is how business should work.  I am directly familiar with the events which have affected me personally.  However, the culture and character of the organization hierarchy suggests that I was likely not the first person to be the target of such abominations.  From my review of literature, this behavior is not exceptional – unfortunately – and transcends sector and industry.

This is the same culture and character which makes decisions about how to handle other employees concerns contrary to their own policies and which also forms decisions about who is to be retained or made redundant in a down cycle.  This same culture and character form several other “strategic” business decisions, up through preparing and signing multi-million dollar contracts with oil and gas license operators.

If senior management is willing to conspire, lie, and falsify documents to deal with what should be a relatively simple problem to control or solve, had they only effectively applied their own policies and been responsible, what would keep any company from corrupting the outcome of other unfavorable health and safety or other controversial information?  Should we be resigned to allow such companies to just change the rules whenever they cannot “win” on their terms?  It is all connected.  The problem is that such behaviors are all too common today globally, and it has impact on the greater global economic culture of business. 

Cheaters are holding onto their jobs, even being further rewarded, while honest, capable and committed workers are losing their jobs and livelihoods directing the sector on the wrong course by use of a broken moral compass.
Corrupt organizational hierarchies are making bad business decisions and then using HR to formally facilitate personnel actions to hide their incompetence.  This reality negatively effects quality, health and safety, and the environment.  It impacts employees, customers, and investors.  It effects the entire seismic industry and beyond, and it needs to be stopped.  Hopefully, informing business sector stakeholders will facilitate this change.

With most people disbelief in a thing is founded on a blind belief in some other thing. ― Georg C. Lichtenberg

I never thought that I would ever work under such dishonest and manipulative management hierarchy as I did. 
I worked within the contract sales group in England concentrating on Africa projects.  When I voiced health and safety concerns and believed that I was being bullied by my boss, management’s reaction had me in disbelief.  There is a lot of literature about workplace bullying and it is not an altogether exceptional issue to come across these days.  In fact, it is a serious issue mentioned within the company handbook as something that is not tolerated.  Countries are passing workplace bullying legislation affecting global workplaces.  One would think (or hope) that high level human resource professionals and executives would want to be in tune with this knowledge and possess the acumen to listen and address such concerns professionally and be able to arrive at some mutually advantageous solution if such issues arose.

After all, stress, harassment and bullying are the most highly ranked workplace hazards within the UK, where I was working.  I was not actually familiar with the term “workplace bullying” until I started to try and put a name on the unreasonable and derisive management practices which I was enduring.  The silence, misinformation, and deception all around me was the most difficult part to absorb.  My direct interaction with human resources throughout my career had been minimal until my England assignment.  I had never experienced anything close while working for the U.S. Department of Defense where keeping information secret was in fact part of the team’s job.

To make a long story short, it was never officially resolved whether I was bullied.  But, it was neither resolved that I hadn’t been bullied.  We agreed to part ways.  I wanted to leave the inhospitable and uncomfortable situation behind me, and so I moved back to America, along with my family.  Top management had done just about everything possible to avoid dealing with the issue directly.

Over time, what I have become completely certain of, in my case, is that the HR manager responsible for compiling my file is a liar and a coward.  However, his actions were wholly empowered and supported by top management, who apparently share his level of character.  The senior vice president of HR and current executive vice president of operations, who reside at the parent company headquarters in Norway, created and signed a forged memo which was added to my professional personnel records.  The memo presented false assertions that a conclusion regarding my bullying issue had been reached.  In fact, nothing could have been further from the truth.  This high level power team demonstrated no interest in dealing with my issue on a professional level according to the company’s policies and procedures. Yet, they continue to project a narrative where they essentially won the argument.  This is unacceptable.

Through all of this, they were in fact willing to endanger my health and well-being to maintain and project authority.  There was never an interest for an objective review of the situation and no dialogue.  I would have never brought-up such mistreatment and company departure from process and procedure at such a high level without some chronicle of reasons or episodes to support my claims.  There was plenty of information presented that the senior management team could have reasonably considered and reported on.   During the same period, management requested an independent report from an occupational health professional.  I discovered it through a separate Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) subject access request.  

The senior management knowingly withheld this report from me while I was employed and considering my exit.  They also responded to me and the compliance agency that such a report was never provided to them when I made my subject access request.  They had lied to me and likely to the compliance agency.  I believe that management took advantage of the fact that I was from America and required company sponsorship to remain in determining how to address my issue.  Management colluded to make my work conditions more unbearable so I would not want a prolonged confrontation and have to remain in England any longer.  They were correct that I did not want to stay in England surrounded by such dishonest and manipulative hosts.  They used this to their advantage as they averted protocols and delayed decisions until I finally agreed to leave and not press the issue any further.  And then top management had the false narrative follow me to America polluting the seismic industry community.  They were likely surprised by my DPA subject access request.

The senior management completely abrogated their responsibility as prescribed in policy.  They demonstrated no leadership or ability to discuss difficult issues whatsoever.  Instead, they created falsified documents to form a suitable written mythology to place into my personnel file.  Through guidance and cooperation from the company top executives, HR changed dates and left out or embellished events – the entire history of my final months of employment – to make things appear as though some semblance of policy and procedure was followed when it was not.  They left out any of my disagreements to their unsubstantiated narrative leaving a completely one-sided –false – narrative.

This shameful behavior was not only supported, but rewarded during a year with reduced earnings.  Since shedding light on my circumstances, high level scientists working for my former employer and anonymous others have viewed my LinkedIn profile.  I have encouraged the identifiable one’s to look into my file and check my personnel file and claims for themselves.  People of honor would want to defend their character.  

[Link: https://www.pgs.com/Pressroom/Press_Releases/Petroleum-Geo-Services-ASA--Implementation-of-2015-Employee-Long-term-Incentive-Plan-/ now found in Archive:
https://web-beta.archive.org/web/20150623063426/https://www.pgs.com/Pressroom/Press_Releases/Petroleum-Geo-Services-ASA--Implementation-of-2015-Employee-Long-term-Incentive-Plan- ]

Expectedly, there has been no response, only the typical silence and avoidance from confronting truth.  Apparently, it was not enough for the hierarchy to take away my career, they also wanted to steal my identity and rewrite history so that it should be difficult that I ever have one again.  This tale of events would have never been shared had I not come to discover the true hubris and vindictiveness of my former employer’s senior management through a UK Data Protection Act 1998 subject access request.  Without the leverage of certainty, I would have never known without doubt the distortions and would have been obliged to silence assuming accurate records, as both the DPA and ethical practices require, were being retained.

 It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently. ~ Warren Buffett
My narrative, while unique, is not altogether exceptional.  Change the company and some particulars, and the behaviors and character of how issues of bullying and whistle-blowing are dealt with have a common theme.  Power structures will align themselves and protect their domains by all means.  Fairness is a side issue only read about in HR columns removed from the real world.  We find trust in business relationships at an all-time low, while management hubris and abuse of positions seems to be at an all-time high. Why?  The common reaction to those who expose corruption or management incompetence is to purge the messenger.  Management will conspire to lie, cheat, and yes, endanger worker lives, to maintain their power and position. 

Psychologists David DeSteno and Piercarlo Valdesolo conducted several experiments showing time and again that 90% of people – mostly of whom identify themselves as morally upstanding – will act dishonestly to benefit themselves if they believe that they will not be caught Further to this, people will rationalize their own dishonesty while condemning the dishonesty of others.  In other research by Paul Piff, it was found that with increased power and status there is a decrease in honesty and reliability.  Psychologist Robert Feldman believes people are motivated to lie not necessarily to impress others, but to maintain a view of themselves consistent with the way that they want others to view them. 

In the workplace, self-esteem and threats to the executive’s sense of self are drivers for lying.

Executives want to look good in the company and this is closely tied with the fact that people appear to be short-term focused when they decide to deceive someone.  While individuals work to sustain their self-image and self-worth in the short term, if the deceived individual finds out it can have long-term consequences.   I hope that this is what is happening now.  Within an organization with a fair and ethical management system, if managers have the legitimate formal power, along with the appropriate processes to handle employee issues, there would be no need to risk lying and damaging the organizations reputation. 

According to research cited by consultant and speaker Margaret Heffernan, 85% of surveyed US and UK executives avoid dealing with issues that might provoke conflict.  These executives did not want to be challenged because they were afraid to get embroiled in arguments that they did not know how to manage, and felt that they were bound to lose.  Couple this with a propensity for high-level executives to preserve their self-identity through lying and many events become easier to explain, while not necessarily easier to accept.

Human resources is too often used as a punitive function to protect and hide organization leadership and managerial corruption and incompetence. This negatively impacts and corrupts the entire organization culture.  This results in sub-optimal organization and system performance in all areas impacting quality, health and safety, and environment.  Organizations who misuse the human resource function blemish the majority of honest and competent HR professionals and the positive contributions that they can provide to organizations when counseled properly. 

When a positive work culture is allowed to be destroyed from within and hijacked by management of misrepresentation, blame, and distortion, then employees, customers, and shareholders, as well as the entire industry pay the price.  When top managers are not obliged to follow the policies and values that the company advocates, these counter-cultural norms are then embraced to form a debased work culture.  In the modern business environment, we are all connected in some way.  Human resources is the center of organization culture.  Human resources articulate and publish company values and policy for common understanding.  How companies deal with workplace conflict, such as claims of harassment, bullying, discipline and grievance processes, etc. is a much better measure of company culture.  How these events are recorded and resolved along with third-party survey data would provide more information than a company’s printed mission statements and values to license operators who contract them.  Gauging contractor cultures compatibility with operator cultures will also reduce project risks. 

Many business and project failures are due to incompatible work cultures working ineffectively toward incongruent objectives.  As it was written, the path to ethics starts with human resources.  It often ends there too.

You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know. ~ William Wilberforce

Source: http://linkis.com/nopgs.com/psUZT

'Great Spirit' - Nahko and Medicine For The People

01 January 2017

Japense CEO Resigns over Employee Suicide due to Overwork, Company Charged With Death

'I accept responsibility': Japanese company boss resigns to take responsibility for young woman 'driven to suicide by overwork'

  • Dentsu Inc. president Tadashi Ishii has quit following death of employee, 24
  • Advertising agency boss resigned as prosecutors pressed charges against firm
  • Want charges against unidentified worker who overworked Matsuri Takahashi
  • 2000 Japanese people a year kill themselves due to work-related stress, the government said. 

The head of a top Japanese advertising agency has resigned just 24 hours after prosecutors pressed charges against his company for the suicide of an overworked employee.

* The first person to be officially ruled a suicide from overwork was also a Dentsu employee. 
* Ichiro Oshima, 24, didn't get a single day off for 17 months.
* She had averaged less than two hours of sleep a night.
* Still, Dentsu had argued in the 1997 court case that personal troubles were behind his 1991 suicide.
* Death linked to exhaustion is so common it's expressed as a special term, 'karoshi' which includes suicides from overwork. 
Dentsu Inc. president Tadashi Ishii told reporters he would take responsibility for the death of Matsuri Takahashi. The resignation came a day after prosecutors demanded charges be laid against an unidentified worker for driving the 24-year-old woman to kill herself last year, after clocking up massive overtime in the first months on the job.
Dentsu Inc. president Tadashi Ishii tell reportors he will resign over the suicide of a worker who had clocked massive overtime. (Kyodo News via Associated Press image)

Mr Ishii acknowledged overtime was still a major problem with more than 100 workers still doing more than 80 hours of extra work a month.
'This is something that should never have been allowed to happen,' he told reporters at his company's Tokyo headquarters on Thursday.

Ms Takahashi started working at Dentsu in April 2015. Her workload surged by October and she often returned home at five in the morning after working all day and night. She was clocking up 100 hours of overtime a month before she jumped from her workplace balcony in December 2015.

Matsuri Takahashi committed suicide in December 2015, just eight months after starting work at the Dentsu advertising agency which overworked her.

Labour regulators raided Dentsu last month after the company repeatedly promised to curtail overtime, suspected of being widespread.
It started turning off headquarters lights at 10 pm so workers would go home.
Dentsu acknowledged Takahashi's treatment was like harassment because her records showed monthly overtime within company regulations of 70 hours, with numbers like 69.9 hours, when she had actually been working far more hours.
Dentsu Inc. president Tadashi Ishii, pictured centre, bows with other senior executives during a media conference at the company's Tokyo headquarters (Kyodo News via AP)
She left a farewell email begging her mother to not blame herself. 
'You're the best mum in the world,' Ms Takahashi wrote. 
'But why do things have to be so hard?'
In September, the government ruled overwork had killed her.

                                   Japanese advertising company Dentsu Inc. Tokyo's headquarters

The first person to be officially ruled a suicide from overwork was also a Dentsu employee. 
Ichiro Oshima, 24, didn't get a single day off for 17 months and had averaged less than two hours of sleep a night. 
Still, Dentsu had argued in the 1997 court case that personal troubles were behind his 1991 suicide. 
Death linked to exhaustion is so common it's expressed as a special term, 'karoshi' which includes suicides from overwork. 
About 2000 Japanese people a year kill themselves due to work-related stress, the government said. 

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4070530/Dentsu-chief-resign-employees-suicide-overwork.html

31 December 2016

New Years Resolution ... Get Out Of Toxic Workplace

My Work Environment Was Turning Into An Abusive Situation So I Got Out Of It

Read more: http://elitedaily.com/life/surviving-abusive-relationship-with-boss/1709249/
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Meanwhile, the reality is it is a big deal and it doesn’t, and shouldn’t, happen to everyone. Still, it’s happened to me at every single job I’ve ever had since I was 16. Through the years, I’ve always kept my mouth shut, and so have plenty of others. Why? Because young adults are made to feel like we need to be silent and take it, or we risk being stereotyped as “cry-baby” Millennials. And it goes beyond that. Us young adults are in a constant state of fear as we’re vainly threatened with potential termination if we don’t play by their rules, which are subject to change daily, with zero regulation or protection. Some businesses are led by true and authentic entrepreneur types, ones who are driven and on a mission toward success. However, many are incompetent, oftentimes sociopathic, leaders who bully their subordinates as they constantly get away with inflicting torture with their inappropriate words and actions.

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I should’ve seen it coming sooner, but just like any other person who’s gone through a messy breakup, I was going to do anything in my power to make sure the next one worked out. I needed it to be “the one.” The thing is, it wasn’t a romantic relationship I was trying to force — it was my job.

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I should’ve seen it coming sooner, but just like any other person who’s gone through a messy breakup, I was going to do anything in my power to make sure the next one worked out. I needed it to be “the one.” The thing is, it wasn’t a romantic relationship I was trying to force — it was my job.

Read more: http://elitedaily.com/life/surviving-abusive-relationship-with-boss/1709249/
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My Work Environment Was Turning Into An Abusive Situation So I Got Out Of It

I should’ve seen it coming sooner, but just like any other person who’s gone through a messy breakup, I was going to do anything in my power to make sure the next one worked out. I needed it to be “the one.” The thing is, it wasn’t a romantic relationship I was trying to force — it was my job.

Read more: http://elitedaily.com/life/surviving-abusive-relationship-with-boss/1709249/
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I should’ve seen it coming sooner, but just like any other person who’s gone through a messy breakup, I was going to do anything in my power to make sure the next one worked out. I needed it to be “the one.” The thing is, it wasn’t a romantic relationship I was trying to force — it was my job.  

After undergoing two years of manipulation, broken promises, and verbal and psychological abuse, the thing that bothers me isn’t that I went through all of that — it’s knowing I’m not alone.

(Despite the comparison, I am in no way trying to downplay the severity of the various types of domestic abuse. However, harassment in the workplace is an issue that’s depressingly more common than we think.)
Unless you’re hired under a workforce with a HR department (and keep in mind, they work to protect the company, not you), various forms of sexual harassment are simply tolerated.
Women especially don’t want to come forward and risk the financial cost of filing charges or risk having their names and reputations dragged through the mud. So instead, many women choose to brush it off and tell themselves “it’s no big deal” or “it happens to everyone,” simply to avoid the turmoil. 

Meanwhile, the reality is it is a big deal and it doesn’t, and shouldn’t, happen to everyone. Still, it’s happened to me at every single job I’ve ever had since I was 16.

Through the years, I’ve always kept my mouth shut, and so have plenty of others. Why? Because young adults are made to feel like we need to be silent and take it, or we risk being stereotyped as “cry-baby” Millennials.

And it goes beyond that. Us young adults are in a constant state of fear as we’re vainly threatened with potential termination if we don’t play by their rules, which are subject to change daily, with zero regulation or protection.

Some businesses are led by true and authentic entrepreneur types, ones who are driven and on a mission toward success. However, many are incompetent, oftentimes sociopathic, leaders who bully their subordinates as they constantly get away with inflicting torture with their inappropriate words and actions. 

They want to look the part and play the part, but not actually be involved or accountable. Who can you turn to when it’s the owner of the company putting you through such an ordeal? The answer is, sadly, no one.

I’m sure many people would wonder: If it’s really that bad, why would you stay? The answer is simple: money. 

I’m not trying to sound like a sellout, but we have to pay for health insurance, rent, car, food, heat, water and every other basic need. These bills come around like clockwork. They don’t care what you have to do to pay them, just as long as they get paid.

Like many others, I don’t come from money or have a financial fallback — and I don’t want to. I want to be independent. I need to work. However, job hunting isn’t a walk in the park; it can be difficult to find stable and secure employment. The fear of being jobless and broke keeps many people working hard at jobs they hate with people who don’t even treat them like human beings. 

The worst experience I had was working under a man who truly encompassed all of the qualities of the three demonic honchos of the movie “Horrible Bosses.”

Read more: http://elitedaily.com/life/surviving-abusive-relationship-with-boss/1709249/
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The worst experience I had was working under a man who truly encompassed all of the qualities of the three demonic honchos of the movie “Horrible Bosses.” 

The owner was having an affair with his “assistant.” She never had to do any work — like, literally AT ALL. The rest of us were forced to clean up after her disgusting mess of garbage, open food containers and crumbs while she didn’t lift a finger. Other hardworking employees would get into arguments with him over his neglect, his drinking in the office and his assistant’s lack of contribution to the company.

If the assistant made a mistake, higher ups weren’t even allowed to correct her. Bring it up to him and he would imply we are all jealous of her beauty, even going so far as to say her physical appearance is what “kept the lights on” — not his loyal employees and their dedication and talent. While others worked hard for their bi-weekly check, his assistant paraded around in shiny red shoes, driving a custom car. (And our owner, a married man, was the one publicly paying for all of it.)

So naturally, resentment followed. People began challenging him and he grew more threatening and abusive — even going as far as screaming and cursing in a female employee’s face for questioning him. 

I would receive menacing phone calls for hours on end from him, where he would continuously try to manipulate me and speak poorly about the other staff, trying to turn us all against each other. If you requested someone else be present in a conversation or said you weren’t available off hours to talk, he would threaten you with termination, as you were a salaried employee and therefore his “slave.”

Slowly but surely, he got rid of any employee, one by one. He openly boasted about making their lives a living hell until they quit, proud he could avoid paying them a severance.

Still, the worst part of this story was no one could really help me. I went to employment lawyers for education and help, but it wasn’t enough. No one could do anything. After one consultation breaking down the nightmare I was living, the lawyer’s response was, “I’m not even speaking to you from a legal perspective right now, I am speaking to you as a human. Get out of there immediately.” 

When your boss is making your life a living hell, it can be tough to find the nerve to quit and move on to a job where you’re treated better. But in the end, that’s often all we can do. Having financial security is great, but it’s not worth any price. If your boss makes you feel scared or unsafe, my only advice to you is to get out. Your happiness and health is what matters most. 

Source: http://elitedaily.com/life/surviving-abusive-relationship-with-boss/1709249/

30 December 2016

SURVEY: Scottish Footballers reveal bullying fears as 35% claim to have been threatened by fans

ALMOST the same number of players who took part in the FIFPro study claim to have faced bullying and harassment at work.


A STAGGERING 35 per cent of Scottish players taking part in a worldwide survey claim they have been threatened by fans.

And almost a third insist they have faced bullying and harassment at work, with the figures far higher than in other European countries.

Players union FIFPro canvassed 14,000 members in their survey and 168 took part in Scotland from Premiership and Championship clubs.

The results make for worrying reading because while only 10 per cent of European players taking part had suffered threats from punters, the figure was more than three times higher in Scotland.

And the survey took place before last season’s Scottish Cup Final when Rangers claimed their players were attacked by Hibs fans during a pitch invasion.

Workplace bullying is another cause for concern, with 28 per cent of Scottish-based stars in the survey suffering compared to just 12 per cent for Europe in general.

And Tony Higgins, the former Hibs player who is vice-president of FIFPro Europe, believes the results show some coaches and managers haven’t moved with the times.

He said: “You accept there is going to be abuse in football because that’s part of the nature of it but things that were said in the 1970s and 80s when I was a player are no longer acceptable.
“Players say very little about the abuse in public – but this survey was confidential and shows there is a high level of concern.”

PFA Scotland organised the survey among eight Premiership and Championship clubs and chief executive Fraser Wishart insists attitudes have to change in the stands as well.

The former Motherwell and Rangers star said: “This is 2017. Players nowadays feel they deserve the same respect in their workplace we all have come to expect.

“You hear supporters saying, ‘I feel for £30 I’m entitled to say what I want.’
“Well, no you’re not. The law has changed for a start and most people wouldn’t accept
somebody coming into their workplace shouting and bawling obscenities in that way.

“That’s something we have to be aware of as a sport and as a union. Players don’t just accept anything that is thrown at them any more.”

A much more positive finding was the response to late payment of wages.

In Europe as a whole, 34 per cent of players had problems with getting their salary on time but the figure was just five per cent for Scotland.

Wishart said: “While we might not have players being paid huge amounts of money, the SPFL have very good rules whereby the clubs are punished immediately and we’ve worked with them on that.

Even if you’re a day late with a payment you’ve got to tell the league and immediate sanctions could be taken against the club.

“This came about after the Hearts situation where players weren’t being paid months on end. It’s an offence not to tell the league in advance you’re not going to pay your players.”

According to the survey the biggest concern among players in Scotland is that they are getting less than 10 days paid holiday a year.

A whopping 36 per cent said this applied to them. Wishart believes the figure would be even higher if players from the two lower leagues had been included.

He said: “We don’t believe players get their paid annual leave. Contracts say it must be taken during close season unless agreed otherwise.

“We’ve had a number of tribunal cases running and they tend to settle once the clubs’ lawyers look at it.”

Nineteen per cent of players also reported they were unhappy with the medical support offered by their clubs and PFA Scotland say this is another issue which needs to be addressed.

Source: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/scottish-footballers-reveal-bullying-fears-9355636

21 December 2016

Bullying leads to a dozen water police officer resignations, whistleblower claims

AN exodus of experienced Water Police officers has left the unit exposed and will put lives at risk this summer, a whistleblower says.

The squad has been hit by accusations of bullying and mismanagement, causing officers to go and leaving some recruits unqualified to drive all the boats in the unit’s fleet.

An insider told the Herald Sun the unit, which has about 50 officers, has lost a dozen during the past 18 months because of “a toxic culture”.

Five officers have joined the Australian Border Force while others have transferred elsewhere within Victoria Police.

One officer was bullied to the point where he developed an alcohol problem and drank before starting his shifts as a coping mechanism, according to the whistleblower.

“Members who have left possess thousands of sea days of experience,” he said.
“There is now a massive skill shortage and lives could be in danger.”

It’s claimed:

officer publicly referred to a junior officer’s deaf son as a “retard”.

same officer took photographs of a drunk female colleague at a Christmas party and showed the pictures to the unit’s morning shift crew the next day.

senior officer, who has since left the unit, would also visit mussel merchants at Williamstown Pier and Portarlington and demand they donate a box of mussels for “the boys” at the Water Police.
In a statement Victoria Police said it had investigated the allegations and found them to be unsubstantiated.

In a letter sent to IBAC, the whistleblower wrote: “I write to you with a genuine concern about the rapid increase in systemic bullying, that has consistently occurred ...

“The pattern of behaviour, spanning in excess of 12 months ... continues to escalate beyond acceptable levels of workplace bullying, usually tolerated in a state government workplace.”

Another source told the Herald Sun:

“We are supposed to be on the same side ... this is the police.

“Morale in the Water Police is at an all-time low.

“It is ruled like a dictatorship. Management have swept these issues under the carpet.”

Victoria Police spokesman Inspector Ian Geddes said: “All staff are trained and supported to achieve relevant qualifications and experience during their tenure at the Water Police. The Water Police has and will have into the future appropriate levels of trained and qualified personnel to carry out the duties required.

“Sufficient numbers of qualified people are maintained to perform the required function and operate the vessels as required. “As a result of an allegation of workplace bullying, a workplace cultural review of the Water Police was conducted.

“As a result of this review it was identified that concerns raised did not amount to workplace bullying.”

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/bullying-leads-to-a-dozen-water-police-officer-resignations-whistleblower-claims/news-story/0564f54adc0806e4cf9f32049c556d26

16 December 2016

Sexual Harassment at Work: 9 Women Talk About Their Employee Experience

Nine Women Talk About On-The-Job Harassment

1. Marie Billiel, 27
It started pretty quickly, within the first two weeks that I was working at the diner. One of the cooks grabbed my wrist and tried to pull me into the walk-in freezer where there aren’t any cameras, because he wanted to kiss me. I said no. I pulled away, went back out. I was 18 and didn’t know how to deal with it.
We were whistled at all the time. Some girls were oinked at. They would watch pornography on their cell phones and then try to show it to us. I was kissed without my consent. There were other women there who got straight-up groped. If I resisted their advances, they would retaliate by “forgetting” to make my food or burning my orders or making other people’s orders first. My tip goes down because of that.
There was one point where I was in a walk-in freezer with a cook who was consistently trying to get me to go out with him. One of the other cooks shut the door on us and turned the lights out as this man was approaching me and asking if he could bite me. [It] was less than five minutes, but at the time it feels like an eternity.
I told one of my managers. She passed it along to the owner, and nothing was done. I heard the reason was because they’d heard that I had already been sexual with him, which is not the word they used. That was untrue, but they decided they weren’t going to intervene based on something they’d heard through the grapevine.
[After Billiel left the diner and, in 2014, blogged about her experiences, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Massachusetts attorney general’s office filed separate complaints. The diner settled without admitting to any wrongdoing. Billiel and at least nine other women will share a settlement of between $112,000 and $200,000.]
Receiving a settlement doesn’t necessarily feel good. The diner closed. I still had friends who worked there, and I’m not any less traumatized; I’m not any less assaulted.

2. Anonymous, 32*
Washington, D.C.

I work for a political group. We do a lot of networking events. When you get people out of an office setting, they change. This one time I was at an event, standing in a room full of 300 people, and an elected official came up behind me, grabbed me, and then put his hand between my legs. A colleague saw it happen. He pulled me into the hallway and said, “If you don’t tell your boss, I will.” So I did. Having someone else see it validated my story. The man couldn’t claim I was flirting with him or it didn’t happen.
I know the elected official was talked to. I would’ve liked to see him banned from our meetings, but he wasn’t. One time he caught me after a meeting and said, “I was out of line, I was drinking, and I know that’s no excuse, but I’m sorry.” That was three years ago. I still see him, but it’s better now.
I actually wrote the sexual-harassment policy for our organization’s meetings after that. We didn’t have a formal one. I mean, it’s 2016 for God’s sake.
*For the women who asked to remain anonymous, we have verified their names, place of employment at the time of the incident, and the names of the alleged harassers.

3. Alexandra Marchuk, 30
Jacksonville, Fla.

I worked at Faruqi & Faruqi my second summer of law school. They offered me a job when I graduated in 2011. It’s a small civil litigation firm in New York. The two founders are brother and sister, but the partners are mostly men. There were some female attorneys and of course women paralegals and receptionists. Midway through that [first] summer, Juan Monteverde was hired. He specializes in intervening in mergers on behalf of shareholders, saying the disclosures you’re making are insufficient. He was really good at his job, sort of the rainmaker.
Juan had said some weird things to me when I worked there over the summer. Once we’d been out at dinner, and he joked in front of other people that I should give him a blow job for picking up the check. I didn’t know until right before I started that I’d be working directly for him. I was hesitant, but I also had $250,000 in student loan debt and was really happy to have a job.
On my third day at work, we’d just come back from a court hearing and were having a drink at a bar when Juan started kissing me. He asked me to go have sex with him. I was like, “What? No.” He started making comments all the time. He’d touch me in the elevator when I couldn’t get away. He kept inviting me out on his boat. He’d comment about my body in front of other people at the firm, asking me to go to hearings with him so I could be “eye candy” for the judge.
A few weeks into this, one of the female partners took me out to dinner, and I told her what was going on. I got the sense later that she talked to people about him, but nothing was done. So I just ... I don’t know. It went on and on. We did a case involving a company called BJ’s Wholesale, and he’d joke in front of another attorney about how much he liked getting BJs. Sometimes it wasn’t even sexual. He’d just do things like make me work all weekend on something that wasn’t necessary; or he’d threaten to fire me knowing I had all this student debt; or he said he’d chip in on my rent if I let him sleep over at my apartment.
I dreaded going into the office. I had to police everything I said and did and what I wore. I remember one time I was visiting home, and my mom took me shopping at Brooks Brothers. There was a pencil skirt she wanted me to buy, but I said, “No, Juan would comment on it.” I paid attention to when other people left for the day so I wasn’t alone. It took an incredible amount of energy to make sure I wasn’t putting myself in a dangerous position. And I still had to do the actual work.
I had this plan to wait until I got some experience and then jump ship. I was trying to strike this balance—don’t complain so you don’t get fired. In December [2011], I’d been there three months, and we were at the firm’s holiday party. I started talking to Juan about yearend bonuses, and he said he wouldn’t recommend me for one. We’d been drinking, and he said we should go back to the office, and I agreed. That’s when he—we ...
[In a lawsuit Marchuk later filed against Monteverde and the firm, she said that back in the empty office, he “quickly, forcefully, and painfully had sex with her.” In his own court filing, Monteverde disputed her account.]
I actually went to work for two days after that, but the second night I was like, “I can’t do this.” I called my mom, and she drove into the city and picked me up.
I filed a lawsuit. I had gotten a full-time job in Omaha before I filed, and I’m still with that company. They let me deal with it in the best kind of way. So on that front, I was OK. But I didn’t think it would be covered so closely by law blogs or followed by the law community. There are details in there that, when you Google me—I mean, bloodstains on the carpet. One of my close friends thought to e-mail every single person in her firm about it. It was entertainment for a lot of people.
The firm denied it. [Monteverde said the relationship was consensual.] They countersued me for $15 million, claiming I was “obsessed” with him. The lies they told don’t even make sense. They said I hadn’t been eligible for a bonus. Well, I kept my offer letter, and it says I’m eligible for a bonus. They claimed I’d e-mailed the lawsuit to Juan and his wife and the firm’s clients. But it turned out that the IP address where the e-mail came from was within Faruqi, after I’d already quit. They ended up dropping the countersuit.
I was deposed for a full day. All of the named defendants got to sit in the room and look at me as I did it. They had a psychologist evaluate me. It was a three-hour session in the library of an attorney’s law firm, and he asked a lot of questions about my hobbies. It seemed to bother everyone that I had gone hiking on a vacation once during all of this. They asked a lot of questions about how I paid for the vacation. They decided not to use the psychologist in the trial, so I don’t know what the point of that was.
The trial went on for weeks and was insanely stressful. I read discovery from some of my friends, and what they said about me in e-mails and Gchats behind my back. By the time the jury had their verdict, so much had been argued that I didn’t know what to expect. [Marchuk lost under federal and New York state harassment law, but won under New York City’s human-rights law and was awarded $140,000. In a postdecision interview with the Above the Law blog, a juror explained that the jury didn’t believe Monteverde’s sexual advances were entirely unwelcome, that Marchuk’s private e-mails contained contradictory messages about how she felt about the law firm, and that the firm had dutifully recorded what Marchuk told the female partner about Monteverde’s actions.]
The decision was disappointing but well within the range of anything that could have happened. You just don’t know. It’s just a bunch of strangers who get to judge whether or not you deserved it.
In a statement, Faruqi & Faruqi founding partner Lubna Faruqi says the law firm “takes the safety and well-being of our team members very seriously. We have policies and procedures regarding employment issues, including but not limited to, harassment and discrimination in the workplace. We considered Ms. Marchuk’s complaint to be without merit and vigorously defended ourselves in New York federal court.” Monteverde didn’t respond to a request for comment.

4. Anonymous, 41
Los Angeles

I started at DreamWorks around the winter holidays, so there were a lot of parties. That’s where I met him. He’d stop by my office, send me e-mails asking if I wanted to have lunch. One night he invited me to sushi for dinner. He said it would be a big group of co-workers. When I got to the restaurant, though, there was nobody else there. I ate dinner to be polite, but then I went home, because it was weird.
He started e-mailing me multiple messages a day. He sent me flowers. He’d say things like, “A friend of mine is a pilot and could fly us to Catalina Island for the weekend,” or “Do you want to go on a hot air balloon ride in the desert?” It was never, “Hey, let’s get coffee.” I turned him down, but he would just keep asking. And asking. And asking.
I stopped being polite and started flat out telling him no. That made him escalate. I eventually told my supervisor and was like, “Am I overreacting? Is this guy crossing the line?” I wasn’t sure. My supervisor said, “Absolutely he is. He should not be sending you flowers and asking you out when you tell him not to.” He said he’d talk to him. That was it. Everything stopped.
I learned later from my supervisor that they’d had other issues with him. Two other women complained about him after I did. I know they take this stuff very seriously there, and I’ve always felt very safe. But he still works at the studio. He’s had promotions.
DreamWorks declined to comment.

5. Anonymous, 32
San Diego

The first firm I worked for after law school, I was a junior associate. The head of paralegal was a guy who was about 20 years older than me. Because I’m an attorney, I was above him. He took great issue with this. He’d say things to me like, “Why are you always such a b----?” “Why are you a hard ass?” It was offensive and all, but it was just talk. I just thought he had something in his craw about a woman of color being his superior.
One day he came into my office, closed the door, and grabbed me. It was so sudden I was like, “What is going on?” He got me in this bear hug. He’s a much bigger guy than me, and I couldn’t move. He started shoving his hands up my shirt. I told him to stop it right now, or I’ll scream. The walls were thin, and I knew all I had to do was make noise, and someone could come in. He stopped.
I didn’t say anything to anyone about it. The owner of the firm wasn’t very good at dealing with conflict. If I had reported it, I’m pretty sure I would have gotten fired. They’d come up with an excuse. This was in 2010 or so, and legal jobs were really scarce. Instead, I just made sure other people were always around. Pretty soon after that, we moved to another office, and I shared office space with someone, so I was rarely alone. Even so, I still felt on edge. It’s a hard feeling to describe, because once it’s there, it’s always present. It was a harsh transition into the real world. It goes against everything I believe, but honestly the best way to deal with that is to just blow it off.

6. Magdalena Zylinska, 45
Elmwood Park, Ill.
In one of the houses I used to clean, the man was always taking his clothes off. He expected us to clean while he was working naked. Sometimes he would ask if you wanted to touch him. I didn’t know whether to run or stay and work or what. I had a mortgage. I had a kid. I needed the money. At the time I was undocumented. So I stayed, but I made sure that when I cleaned his house, there was always someone with me. I’d tell them, “If I scream, you just run and call the police.” When I left [his house], I tried to think about something else, not about the problems. But the first couple of years, it was really, really bad. You’d be working, and he’s nowhere around, and you go to the basement to do laundry, and he’s there on the treadmill, naked.
After three years or so, I just told him, you either look for somebody else or I’m going to call the police. He stopped. I guess he kind of respected me for saying something. I still clean for him, and sometimes he asks, “Can I get naked?” I’m like, “No.”
To protect Zylinska, who still works for the client, we didn’t contact the homeowner for verification.

7. Julia, 28
San Francisco

I had recently switched teams at Google and had received a new manager as a result. I was in my early 20s and was the most junior member on our team. I was also the only woman.
When I was still new to the role, we had a week of team-bonding events planned. This was the first time I’d spent extended time with my manager. He made a number of highly inappropriate comments to me in professional and after-work events: comparing women from different Asian countries, telling me that every guy goes through an Asian fetish, asking me to sit on his lap (I didn’t), telling me about his sex life during a one-on-one meeting, and asking me to touch the flesh of his palm as a way of describing why he had developed a strong sex drive at an early age. I responded with nervous laughter and by changing the topic. In retrospect, I still feel shame and regret for not standing up for myself in the moment. Did my nervous laughter egg him on or give him implicit consent to keep going? Why didn’t I tell him to his face, immediately, that this was misogynist, racist, and unprofessional? He was my direct superior.
At work, I couldn’t focus. I lost my motivation. I was enraged at him for making these comments and angry at myself for not being stronger. I struggled with whether or not I should report my manager to HR, or if I should keep my head down and let it go. I was scared that I was blowing things out of proportion. He was well-respected on the team, and I was concerned about what might happen to our team if he was disciplined or even fired. What would happen if his wife found out, and I ruined their marriage? I couldn’t make sense of why I continued to feel such empathy amidst my anger. It took me two to three weeks, but ultimately I decided to report his behavior to HR.
HR set up an interview with me so I could recount what happened. They asked for the names of people who might have witnessed the events, as well as specific times and locations. I cried. It was humiliation all over again. From there, they worked on corroborating my story with the witnesses I provided and also talked to my manager to get his side of the story. Afterward, they provided me with a summary of their findings, a vague statement that disciplinary action was taken and that it should never happen again, and assurances that Google had a no-retaliation policy in effect, so I should be protected in my own career. They also checked in to see how I was feeling after everything.
I don’t know the specifics of how Google reprimanded him, but I know that he was given additional sexual-harassment training. He apologized to me for his actions and promised not to do them again. He remained my manager for another year but was very careful to only act professionally. He’s still at Google today.
On the whole, I felt like Google and the HR department were on my side. They took my concerns seriously. But it took a long time to rebuild my self-confidence. Later when I was promoted, I wondered if I deserved the promotion or if it was given to me out of guilt.
Google declined to comment. We reached out to the manager for comment but didn’t receive a response.

8. Anonymous, 34
Missoula, Mont.

For two years starting in 2002, I worked a summer job at a horse farm. I was doing things like setting up jumps [and] putting holes in the ground for fence posts. I worked with farm laborers who were all illegal. They were an all-male crew. Hispanic. The guy who hired me, who paid me—in cash, by the way—was this older, 50-year-old guy named H. He is also sort of related to me: H. is married to my dad’s first wife.
One of the first incidents I remember was when we were washing off fencing for the steeplechase course. I was wearing Carhartt pants and a white T-shirt. H. came around to check on what we were doing. He made this comment: “I should require you to wear white shirts and always be wet while you’re working.”
Every time I ran into him after that, there’d be a little comment about the size of my breasts or how he needed to hug me, because it’d make his day better. As he’d hug me, he’d say, “I love feeling you press up against me.” It’s so gross to talk about it even now.
Sometimes he said this stuff in front of other people, but most of the time it was the illegal workers—who were great, by the way, always respectful. I think if they hadn’t been illegal, they probably would’ve said something. But around certain people he’d act normal. I used to like to build fences with this one man in his 50s, because when I was with him, H. wouldn’t say anything when he came by. I don’t know if it was because he was older, or English-speaking, or what. My primary way of dealing with the situation was to avoid him. He’s out of shape and smokes a lot, and I knew if I was building a fence in a field somewhere, I was safer because he wouldn’t bother to go out there.
I worked there the next summer, too. I know you’re going to ask why, but I really loved that job. I love working outside. It’s hard as a woman to get someone to hire you to do manual labor. I applied at a few other stables, but they didn’t look twice at me. Also, part of me was like, maybe I’m being too sensitive. Now it’s so clear to me that’s not at all the case, but at the time I thought, well, maybe the problem was me.
I didn’t even think about reporting him. It just wasn’t an option. He’s probably not even going to remember a lot of the instances that caused me so much stress, because to him it was another day at work.

9. Cynthia Brzak, 64

I started working at the United Nations in 1979. In December 2003, I was in a meeting with six men, including Ruud Lubbers, the UN’s high commissioner for refugees, who used to be prime minister of the Netherlands. When I got up to leave, two men on my side of the table stepped back to let me pass in front of them, but Mr. Lubbers grabbed me from behind, pulled me against him, and shoved his groin into me. I was in shock. When I got out of the room and by the elevators, the director of human resources said, “Oh, Cynthia, I saw what the high commissioner tried to do!”
At a follow-up meeting to what we’d been talking about, I was waiting for the elevators to go up to the office, and the director of human resources comes up to me laughing and says, “Cynthia, what are you going to do if Mr. Lubbers tries it again?” He makes like to grab me again, and I’m ducking out of his way. I said, “Why didn’t you protect me ... or at least say something? You’re the director of human resources!” As the elevator doors closed, he replied, “So?”
For two whole months I didn’t do anything. I never told my best friends, my family, nobody. You have to realize, I’d been there 24 years. We have code of conduct training, we played the game, mouthing the politically correct stuff. But I knew what the culture was really like.
Six-thousand staff members chose me to speak with management about personnel matters. [Brzak was staff council representative.] If I didn’t say “Enough!” who would? So a few months later, I reported it. An internal investigation verified everything and recommended Mr. Lubbers be reprimanded. But Kofi Annan, who was secretary-general at the time, decided not to do anything. I wasn’t allowed to see the report; it was mailed to me anonymously six months later. In 2006, I sued. But UN employees have diplomatic immunity. I took my case to U.S. District Court in New York, which upheld the immunity. I appealed. In 2010 we petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to decide if the diplomatic immunity was even constitutional. They declined to hear the case. So that was it.
When I sued, it made the news, and all of a sudden then Lubbers gets asked to leave.
I worked at the UN until November 2010, when I accepted an agreed-upon separation package. I’ve had a hard time finding a new job. Had I known back in 2004 that my weird last name would be so Google-able that when even my children apply for jobs, they’d be asked, “What happened to your mother?” I don’t know if I would have done it.
Contacted through his personal website, Lubbers didn’t respond to requests for comment.
—With Josh Eidelson

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-sexual-harassment-policy/#/nine-women-talk-about-harassment