Friday, August 13, 2010

Military workplace bullying: can a law help?

Smets: Military workplace bullying: can a law help?

I was lucky; I survived a military reservist’s bullying. But a former civil servant experiencing bullying from another military reservist in the same office wasn’t as lucky — she died one month after being forced into retirement.

I personally saw the agency’s alternative dispute resolution (ADR) written settlement for another civil servant in the same office, which stated she could be transferred to a civil servant supervisor from her present military reservist supervisor (i.e., the bully) if she signed on the bottom legal line to retire — otherwise, if she doesn’t retire, the complainant remains working for the military direct supervisor (i.e., the bully).

Once a civil servant at the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) contracting division files a harassment claim against the U.S. Navy under Equal Employment Opportunity laws, the base commander has the right to make a determination to prevent further bullying and make changes. To date, no changes have been made.

It is guaranteed: The civil servant will not prevail in these cases against NAVAIR. A decade of history will support this view with a voluminous paper trail.

My EEO filing is now part of the unresolved cases regarding bullying at NAVAIR Pt. Mugu/China Lake. No civil servant is able to remain strong enough — emotionally, physically and financially — to get to an EEO hearing; the bullying becomes too great. However, the military reservists are promoted during or subsequent to their bullying behavior.

An article in The Star’s July 18 Parade magazine ( entitled “Workplace Bullying: Do We Need a Law?” brings hope. The Workplace Bullying Institute understands the humiliation and intimidation experienced by the bully’s victim.

A law would apply to all government employees of all ranks — laws have no prejudice. We need these laws to protect and serve the recipients of bullying.

Taxpayers deserve productive and hard-working employees. Employees deserve to work in a safe environment. Laws are needed that apply to public and private employers.

Thank you, Workplace Bullying Institute, for giving hope.

— Janice Smets lives in Oak Park.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment

A Celebration of Women’s Suffrage and a Protest of Meg Whitman Whose Voting Record Dishonors that Tradition Thursday, August 26, 2010 B Sacramento, California

Join our special celebration of Women’s Right to Vote and protest billionaire CEO Meg Whitman’s record of rarely voting for nearly three decades — except now that she is on the ballot.
“I was not as engaged in the political process [voting] as I should have been. I was doing lots of other things...building companies [and laying off workers].”
— Meg Whitman, March 15, 2010

Join Us — Thursday, August 26, Sacramento
Hop on board to join us for a very special celebration of the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment legalizing the right of women to vote in the U.S. Thousands of women, and men, fought for decades to secure this basic democratic right. On August 26, we will honor the achievements of the suffrage movement, and the women who were imprisoned and abused in the fight.
We will also continue our protest of Meg Whitman, who has disgraced the suffragists’ legacy, and now thinks she is entitled to be governor because of her wealth and privilege as a billionaire corporate CEO.

Thursday, August 26, 2010 We’ll meet at the Denny’s Restaurant on J St. at 2pm, then
Gather for March 3:00 pm Convention Center, Sacramento; March and Rally 4:00 – 6:00 pm Capitol West Steps, Sacramento.
Join us for this special occasion. Hosted by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United with California Healthy Workplace Advocates and other community and labor organizations. You’re encouraged to wear historic clothing of the era or black and white attire (or your "Bullying Breaks Hearts" Tee Shirts). Friends and family are invited to join the march and rally. Celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment...see you there!