Archive for June 2012
Walking my dog this morning I watch a family get into a car for what appeared to be their planned summer vacation. The mom loaded the kids into their car seats and checked that they’d all snapped their seat belts. Dad said goodbye to another man, maybe the house sitter, or family member they’d just been visiting. He took a second precaution, following the one his wife just did, and checked everyone was locked and loaded and then slid into the driver’s seat. Ready for a safe trip, he started the engine.
They passed my dog and me as they headed down the street. I watched for a while as they went up the street ahead of me. I watched them go right through a stop sign.
Thoughtless and negligent. Why in the hell would you take the time and trouble to ensure everyone’s safety and then plow right through a stop sign? Is it the fact that he assumed because he didn’t see an oncoming car there wasn’t one? Does he take for granted nothing can happen to him – at that intersection? Maybe the seatbelts were for the next one where he planned to have a car wreck.
It’s the same blindness I see day after day in the business community; business “leaders” who tell me “when something happens, I’ll call you”. I sometimes wonder what they’d think if they knew all of us in the domestic violence prevention community know that waiting for a tragic incident to happen is like standing at the foot of a volcano. When it blows you won’t get away from the lava, rocks and ash fast enough. The lung damaging ash and toxic gases may sneak up on you when you least expect it. Kind of like a law suit for negligence.
John F. Kennedy said, “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” I’m sure he meant to take care of potential problems before they become major issues.
I’m assuming the driver of this family car has auto insurance. Workplace domestic violence training is like insurance. And like any prevention program, workplace domestic violence should be treated holistically. It should be viewed from a multi-disciplinary perspective with managers of various departments working together to leverage internal strengths and share resources.
It is not reasonable to believe that an untrained supervisor will know what to do should an employee, or an employee’s “significant other”, become hostile or threatening – many recommended actions may even run counter to a supervisor’s instincts. Training is important to the success of a workplace domestic violence prevention program.
If you are not the one to make “buying” decision in your organization, I encourage you to talk with you managers. Visit my website http://www.hressential.com/training and take a look at the options available. Also visit the consulting page on my site. See what our services can do for you.
It’s like insurance for your company and all its employees, whether they are personally in an abusive relationship or not. Like fixing the roof – before the ash and lava fall in.
A friend of mine spent months, all last winter in fact, dodging the bullying, badgering and intimidation of a male coworker. She wasn’t alone. Several of her coworker’s requested shift changes and altered job duties to avoid this man. And it wasn’t just women who were suffering. This anti-social bulldog was every bit as ruthless with men. He seemed to want to sabotage every relationship he had.
But for one. Because they always seem to need an ally. Someone who will believe them incapable of wrong and who will help pave the way for future damage. In this case it was a female coworker. We’ll call her “Wanda”.
So when the co-worker’s abuse finally came to a head and formal charges were filed against this jerk, “Jerry”, he fled the state. And guess where he stayed? In another state at the home of Wanda’s extended family.
While the police grappled with getting Jerry back to town. The employer grappled with what to do with Wanda. Clearly she had enabled this man to abuse several members of the workplace. And those that suffered were mad as hell and talking class-action suit (much deserved in my opinion).
So what’s an employer to do? Not much, unfortunately, because they weren’t prepared. Their workplace policies and procedures were written around the time cell phones still looked like bricks and hadn’t been updated since. They had nothing to protect them, nothing in writing to reinforce that Wanda’s actions were wrong and terminable offences. Tisk, tisk, tisk.
It doesn’t have to be like that. Progressive companies have a policy to promote a safe environment for its employees. They are committed to working with employees to provide a work environment free from violence, threats of violence, harassment, intimidation, and other disruptive behavior and they would include language in the policy that outlines all employees’ responsibilities to prevent workplace aggression in all its forms.
Let me know when your company is ready to protect itself from the Wanda and Jerry’s who put you and every one of your coworkers in jeopardy. If you’re going to dodge something all winter, wouldn’t you rather it be a snowball?