A critical parameter is often ignored in management performance reviews – whether the manager treats others with civility and respect.
A large body of research in the past decade has shown that managers who display bias or engage in bullying and emotional harassment are a parasitic drain on the battery of an organization.
An abusive boss creates psychological stress for workers, leading to job dissatisfaction, turnover and a host of counter-productive behaviors (i.e., absenteeism, sabotage, litigation). S/he serves as a model for other employees, who also engage in bullying behaviors.
The American College of Cardiology recently issued a Health Policy Statement in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology proposing that cardiovascular organizations conduct performance reviews that include an “assessment on respect and civility.”
Culture of Respect
The recommendation is the outcome of an on-line survey conducted by the ACC in 2021 that found over one-third of resident doctors and faculty reported experiencing bias, discrimination, bullying and harassment at their main place of work.
The federal judiciary routinely hears (and often dismisses) lawsuits filed by workers who have suffered soul crushing disrespect, humiliation and abuse from an employer.
This is one reason why the recommendations of The Federal Judiciary Workplace Conduct Group matter.
The group this week re-committed to the promotion of an “exemplary workplace” for the 30,000 employees of the federal court system “through engaged leadership and more expansive education in the areas of civility, respect and communication.”
Historically, federal judges have graduated from elite colleges and law schools to high-paid jobs in private law firms representing employers to the bench. There, they are exempt from federal discrimination laws. And they have lifetime tenure and can’t be forced to retire.
The federal judiciary’s workplace was the antithesis of democratic. Federal judges were the equivalent of kings in their chambers, and many young law clerks were treated more like serfs than workers.
After several high profile cases where staff complained of sexual harassment and workplace bullying by federal judges, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., in 2018 appointed the workplace conduct group to improve the environment in which federal employees work.
If federal judges must treat their workers with dignity and respect, perhaps they will expect this of other employers?
A federal judge in New Hampshire recently addressed a Solomon-like case involving the right of a town to protect its workplace from threats and intimidation by a severely cognitively impaired man.
The 20-year-old man, N.P., who has the cognitive ability of a six-year-0ld, was attending a municipal summer camp in 2019 in Meredith, NH, when he threatened to kill the camp director and two attendees.
Even though N.P. apparently lacked the ability to understand and carry out such threats, the camp director reported the threats to police and the next day N.P. was suspended.
N.P. originally was suspended indefinitely but town officials later limited the suspension to 60-days.
Americans With Disabilities Act
U.S. District Judge Steven J. McAuliffe recently dismissed a lawsuit filed by N.P.’s guardian after finding there was insufficient evidence to show the town violated N.P.’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Americans were treated to an example of classic bullying recently when Elon Musk responded to a demand by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders “that the extremely wealthy pay their fair share.”
It’s hard to understand why Musk, the world’s richest man, took offense to Sanders’ comment. But that’s not the issue. It’s how he took offense.
Musk tweeted about Sanders: “I keep forgetting that you’re still alive. ”
Musk engaged in a personal attack on Sanders based upon a trait over which Sanders has no control. Sanders is 80 years of age.
It’s as if Musk, 50, was kicking sand in Sanders’ face.
Some may remember a body builder called Charles Atlas who developed an exercise program in the 1930s that spawned a memorable advertising campaign in which a muscular bully at a beach humiliates a skinny man who is walking with a beautiful date.
White women, like all women, have been marginalized, discounted and mistreated throughout history.
So it should not be particularly surprising that older white women today are a special target of derision in the on-going race war.
Most recently, Spence School, a posh Manhattan private school, was in the news because it showed graduating 8th graders a video that ridiculed and humiliated white women, who were portrayed as being “tarred and feathered.”
The incident came to light after Gabriela Baron, a Hispanic female executive, pulled her daughter out of the $57,000 a year school in protest. “Racism is racism,” said Baron.
The video footage came from a Showtime offering, a show of “fearless satire” hosted by African American comedian Ziwerekoru “Ziwe” Fumudoh, 29, a graduate of the posh private school, Phillips Academy in Andover, MA .
The head of the Spence School last week apologized for showing the students the video but Showtime apparently is entirely without remorse. Variety reported Tuesday that Showtime has renewed Ziwi’s show for another season. Variety’s article did not even mention the Spence School incident.