By: Aliana Brodmann E. von Richthofen – Feb. 2018
After decades of being begged by hundreds, if not thousands, of workplace abuse victims to report on this escalating crime, The Boston Globe finally published a superficial article on 12/30/17: “Still in the Shadows, bullying at work takes a huge toll.” For starters, it’s not in the shadows. Workplace bullying is open and everywhere, destroying individuals and entire families as it rips through society. It is the mainstream media, including The Boston Globe, that tries to keep it in the shadows.
The article was hardly a belated confession that the paper had sidestepped this major public interest matter. It was more likely a feeble attempt at challenging the December article in The Valley Patriot “America’s New McCarthyism” that had exposed this recipient of 26 Pulitzer Prizes on its glaring omission of reporting on real victims instead of lavishly covering unsubstantiated sexual abuse allegations against men of power.
But more to the point: will the overrated Pulitzer recipient follow up, now that the paper has acknowledged the existence of workplace bullying as the widespread crime it is? Will it conduct proper investigations and report on the ruthlessness of perpetrators and the devastating trauma it causes – as intended – its unsuspecting victims? Will it end it’s drawn out 15 Minute spotlight on dumb actresses in black lace and plunging neckline tease wear (as it’s called in Europe) while on a puritanism trip, and finally shine it on real crimes the public deserves to know about?
Probably not. Or at least not in the form of the comprehensive research required to properly analyze the dynamics of bullying and the roles and interests of the usual players? My reason for doubt being that the paper lives off business relationships with some of the worst offenders: corporate institutions, local government and the judiciary. Thus protecting some of the vilest criminals for self-interest rather than cautioning the public.
A corny piece followed the “Shadows” article on 01/03/18: “Dads, too, claim unequal treatment at work.” Sort of a failed demonstration of follow-up on the topic. However, this item defies the truth because people at risk don’t fit into any particular group (mothers, fathers etc.) at all. Anyone who rubs an employer, influential co-worker or superior the wrong way for whatever reason, often completely unrelated to the employee’s performance, can be subject to tsunamis of abuse. Can get fired, denied unemployment benefits and blackballed from ever being able to land successive employment.
This happens because the employer is usually better informed and equipped than the employee, who wrongly believes that striving for excellence will keep him or her employed when in fact excellence might cause a superior to feel threatened and want that employee gone.
Employees also trust “employee handbooks” that outline the public image the employer wants to project, not the widespread prevalence of internal discrimination, deceit and tolerance of unprovoked bullying. Many employees believe that HR (Human Resources) will help them when in fact that office is paid by the employer and retained, among other things, to weed out employees internally labeled “undesirable.” And as a hostile employer moves forward in the systematic elimination process of an unwanted employee, the uninformed employee, sensing tension, attempts to prove his abilities to keep his job. However, the harder he tries, the more aggressively he is marginalized, sidelined and often served written warnings to document the reasons for his impending firing, usually without severance payment.
This cruelty hardly ever happens to a truly incompetent employee.
Incompetents who care little about anything work related make great so-called “group players” and are more likely moved to less demanding positions by employers than being fired. In short: incompetence and blindly “playing along” may be the best protection against being bullied at work.
But will the Globe expose all this to the public? Will the paper disclose the multitude of binding relationships many employers have with state agencies such as the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (former DET) to the detriment of employees? This Office known to support employers and often denying unfairly ousted employees unemployment benefits, useful to both the EOLWD (in not having to pay) and the employer in maintaining low unemployment insurance rates (as rates increase with every unemployment benefit awarded). Similar favors are exchanged between employers and dozens of other state offices, including the MCAD, authority on discrimination, which is known for its own discriminatory practices.
Add to this unequal playing field the fact that proper legal representation is rarely obtainable by middle income employees and if obtained, usually involves a single practice lawyer who is easily swamped by the routine shenanigans and harassment tactics of corporate law firms representing the employer.
Now fast forward to the customary destruction and alteration of evidentiary documents at courts of law up to the SJC (Supreme Judicial Court) to manipulate cases when favoring the culpable party. And this naturally followed by refusals of clerks to produce these doctored files when requested.
Recent official assurances by Secretary of State Galvin, that Public Documents would be made more readily accessible through the Keeper of Records at his Office have also proven to be mere smoke screens to appease the public. The truth is that while his Keeper of Records can be useful in obtaining records, his office only monitors wrongdoings and does not enforce corrections of mishandled files. It works like the Lifelock commercial where people are told by those expected to correct calamities that they merely monitor, not cure, them, leaving those stricken to their doom. Unlike this hilarious commercial, the reality for those suspended in the purgatory of the Massachusetts judiciary is everything but, with nowhere for them to go for relief.
Which is why it may be preferable to not bother with waiting for the Boston Globe to rise to its duties or effect change. But for us, the people, to individually deal with this systemic disorder in Massachusetts by employing appropriate forms of revenge to attain justice. Aptly suggested by Thane Rosenberg* in his persuasive evaluation of acceptable responses to moral injury in “ The Case for Revenge.”
*distinguished fellow at the New York University School of Law,
(c) Copyright, 2018 – Aliana Brodmann E. von Richthofen, Valley Patriot, Inc.,