A recent article from Government Executive reports that federal job discrimination complaints have increased in 2010 over the previous year. “The federal government should be a model workplace,” said Dexter Brooks, director of EEOC’s federal sector programs. “We are concerned that retaliation is the most common basis of discrimination alleged and we caution all federal agencies to make sure that reprisals do not become the usual response to complaints of discrimination.”
President of the National Treasury Employees Union said “Generally, EEO complaints are filed when employees believe the merit system has let them down or when they feel they are being unfairly targeted by managers.”
The report continues and mentions “of the Cabinet-level and large federal agencies, the U.S. Postal Service was a significant contributor to the total number of discrimination complaints and investigations in fiscal 2010, the report found. Postal employees make up 18.6 percent of the federal workforce, but the agency accounted for 40.2 percent of counseling incidents, 31.2 percent of all complaints filed and 28.9 percent of completed investigations.”
In their recent book The Bully-Free Workplace Dr. Gary Namie and Dr. Ruth Namie created a working definition for workplace bullying. “Workplace bullying is the repeated, health-harming mistreatment of an employee by one or more employees through the acts of commission or omission manifested as: verbal abuse; behaviors—physical or nonverbal—that are threatening, intimidating, or humiliating: work sabotage, interference with production; exploitation of a vulnerability-physical, social or psychological; or some combination of one or
These experts also point out that bullying is still legal in the United States after all these years. They said “hostile work environment, sexual harassment, and racial discrimination are all illegal for everyone. Employer policies are designed to comply with federal and state laws governing discriminatory misconduct. Similarly, if state or federal laws do not address misconduct, employers need not create policies to prohibit it. That’s why so few employers do anything about bullying.”
I believe bullying is a very big problem and it creates a hostile environment to work in. Reports to senior managers in my experiences result in no action being taken and the perpetrator continues to target employees and pile up multiple complaints and after a large number of written complaints are logged, then the bully might be moved to another location where they can continue their unprofessional tactics.
The problem is that there are no laws against bullying, and local union and management representatives don’t see any guidance in the labor agreements or workplace policies and the issues are disregarded until there is a distracting workplace episode. Employee Assistance Program (EAP) specialists could probably be a valid resource to gather data and propose educated solutions to our managers and executives. Bullying truly does prevent the real work from getting done.
Is this a problem for the United States Postal Service? Chime in with your management or craft thoughts in the comments section and tell us what you think about workplace bullying, and what should be done about it.
Ronald Williams, Jr.