Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Worker Abuse Destroys Your People, and Your Brand

"Do I have to be raped before someone does something?" 
- Housekeeper at University of Maryland-sponsored forum on worker mistreatment, May 10, 2011

People go through a lot of stuff at work. Unfortunately that list includes rampant intimidation and sexual abuse. No matter where you look, high or low, near or far, great brand or no-name, there it is. Just recently:

* International Monetary Fund: IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn arrested and charged with "sexual assault and attempted rape" 

* State of California: Former Calif. Governor Schwarzenegger fathered a child with his housekeeper.

* University of Maryland: Independent student newspaper covers town hall on sexual harassment and bullying of Spanish-speaking housekeepers.

Obviously abuse at work is not restricted to powerful males taking advantage of very un-powerful women.

A new study released in April 2011 showed that about 1 in 4 people, or 27 percent, report being bullied at work.

Not to mention the rampant bullying that takes place at school.

With all of this harassment going on, how are people supposed to do their jobs at all?

When you look around the office at your employees, wondering why they're not doing a better job of building the brand, take a step back.

Maybe the first question to ask is whether they are operating in a "culture of intimidation and fear" (as was stated at U. of Maryland) that prevents them from doing their jobs in the first place. 

To all the employees struggling to survive in the cruel world that is sometimes the workplace, stay strong and keep speaking out until justice is served.