Friday, November 14, 2008

"Tell Everyone!" (Part 3 of Workplace Psychological Abuse)

( I recommend reading Part 1 at http://leonardnolt.blogspot.com/2008/04/looking-at-work-abuse.html and Part 2 at http://leonardnolt.blogspot.com/2008/08/gap-part-2-of-workplace-psychological.html before reading Part 3.)

This is the third in a series on the experiences I had at my previous employer, Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise Idaho, where for the last app. two and a half years I worked there (Jan. 2004 until Aug. 2006), I was the consistent target of a bully, the "adult" workplace version of what many of us had to endure, or witnessed in grade school or junior high. Saint Alphonsus (often called St Als) is a part of Trinity Health, headquartered in Novi, Michigan. In this part of the series I will encourage those who are being, or have been, the target of bullies in the workplace to speak out and tell others. I will also address the part denial plays in this kind of situation. Often management simply refuses to acknowledge the problem exists, even when, as in my case, there is documentation that someone is being injured, and patient care compromised as a result of the bully's behavior. In addition I want to introduce a few of the findings of the 2007 WBI-Zogby Survey on Workplace Bullying.

This "adult" bully was a woman who I was responsible for supervising in the Respiratory Care Department where we both worked. Our respective job descriptions made it necessary for us to communicate with each other. She consistently targeted me with psychological abuse in various ways, including by making derogatory comments about me to others, making false accusations against me, refusing to communicate with me, pretending I didn't exist, and withholding information I needed to do my job. Her behavior daily jeopardized patient care.

I first reported the bullying to management in the spring of 2004, and when nothing was done to address the problem, kept reporting it repeatedly throughout the rest of that year. I sought help from an Employee Assistance Program counselor who diagnosed me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of the bully's harassment. In January of 2005 I began a series of reports, first to the Human Resource Department, and later (in August) to Senior Management. In May of 2005 a manager from Human Resources requested the names of co-workers who might know about the conflict, so he could conduct an investigation. I gave him the names of approximately twenty people. Later in the middle of the investigation he sent me an urgent "high priority" e-mail asking me to not ask those twenty people if they had been contacted, or if they participated in the investigation. I followed that request. However when, weeks later, I was ordered to never talk to anyone about the investigation, I began to get suspicious. How does talking about an investigation in August change results obtained three months earlier in May?

As I did more research into the problem of bullying and the way businesses respond to it, I became aware of a couple new (for me) discoveries. I found out that investigations are conducted, not necessarily to find out the truth about what happened, but to protect senior management and the company from blame, liability, or any exorbitant expense associated with the conflict. It's clear that the investigation conducted into the conflict I was having fell into that category. No sincere attempt was made to find the cause of the problem. It's my impression that the investigation was manipulated to get pre-determined results. After the investigation, several people came to me and reported what they told the manager. Their reports contrasted drastically with what the manager told me in a very sparse verbal report I received at a meeting, scheduled by me, before the investigation was over. I was promised a written report of the investigation as well as a chance to discuss it with the department manager, but the written report never arrived, and when I requested it, the request was emphatically denied. The meeting to discuss the investigation with the department manager was never scheduled and didn't happen.

The part denial plays in this kind of situation is the second discovery from my research. Many companies, for a variety of reasons, try to deny that they have a bullying problem. That's certainly one reason why I never received a report of the investigation. Since then a member of senior management told me that I never should have been promised a report of the investigation, or expected one. But if the investigation is being done to get to the root of the problem, how can withholding the findings of the investigation contribute to solving the problem? The Workplace Bullying Institute (http://www.bullyinginstitute.org/) under 2007 WBI-Zogby Survey states: "Bullying is a Public Health Hazard." If that's true then the more everyone knows, the safer everyone will be. To protect the public, public health hazards have to be publicized.

Several times I was ordered to not talk about the conflict. This was part of management's attempts to enforce their policy of denial. On Oct. 4, 2005 in a meeting with him, the manager from Human Resources ordered me to lie about my PTSD injury if asked. Denial also seems to be a factor in the willingness of managers to even listen to someone who is reporting the problem of bullying. I think denial was a factor in the department manager claiming that the PTSD injury I was diagnosed with as a result of the bullying, was "petty." Surely he knew better. Before he met with me the first time on Jan 14, 2005 the manager from Human Resources refused to listen to my side of the story, and before our third and last meeting on Oct 4, 2005, he let me know ahead of time that I would not have any opportunity to respond to the information given at that meeting.

At no time was I given an opportunity to defend myself against the false accusations of the bully, not in front of the bully nor in front of any member of management. Although I requested the information, I was never told exactly what her accusations against me were. In fact I got the impression that management didn't even know for sure what the problem was. The Human Resource manager told me a couple times that there was "some ambiguity" about the bully's charges. Of course! Anyone who has done their homework on bullying in the workplace knows that ambiguity is a typical characteristic of a workplace bully's abusive behavior. The whole point of a bully's behavior is to be a bully. The bully will not provide management with precise information because that would make it easier to resolve the conflict. Then the bully will have to find another target. One of the chief characteristics of a workplace bully's behavior is "the refusal to be specific about criticisms" (from "Bully in Sight" by Tim Field, Page 41).

The writings of Marie-France Hirigoyen in her book "Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity," emphasize the fact that bullies refuse to be specific about criticism and also refuse to talk about the problem:

"Emotional abuse in the workplace goes through different stages, all of which have the
refusal to communicate as a common theme."...."By refusing to label and therefore discuss
the conflict, the abuser obstructs finding a solution."..... "Withdrawal from discussion is an
effective means of aggravating the conflict..." (Page 62).
"Abuse is perpetrated by the refusal to acknowledge what is happening, discuss the
situation, or jointly find solutions. If the conflict were out in the open, discussion would be
possible and a solution might be forged."........ "An effective way of aggravating the conflict is
avoiding dialogue, which silently imputes blame on the other person. The victim is
refused the right to be heard.".... "This refusal of dialogue is a way of saying, without directly
expressing it in words, that the other person.....doesn't even exist" (Page 96).

Hirigoyen make it clear that in any bullying situation, the person who refuses to be specific about criticism, and who refuses to participate in a resolution process should be assigned the responsibility for the unresolved conflict. Also note that when things are out in the open, a solution is more likely, so prescribing censorship is unwise and harmful. When someone suffers a psychiatric injury, such as PTSD, as a result of bullying, a responsible resolution will include the needed mediated dialogue between bully, target, and management, even if the injury occurred years before. Psychiatric injuries require a much different treatment than physical injuries. Unlike most physical injuries, treatment for psychiatric injuries have to take the cause of the injury into consideration.

On Aug. 29, 2005 I received an e-mail from a member of senior management ordering me to not talk about this issue with other employees. She was the third member of management to order me to not talk about this potentially disabling on-the-job injury. Managers claimed that information about the bullying was "confidential," but the truth is that their efforts to silence me were acts of censorship. It was, and still is part of their denial of the problem. Talking about the problem is necessary to raise awareness and prevent others from being injured. Managers of a medical center ordering employees to not talk about a PTSD injury that occurred on the job at their institution are acting as irresponsible as public officials prescribing censorship about mosquitoes and West Nile Virus, or about cases of mumps or measles in the neighborhood. Communication raises awareness and protects people while censorship endangers the public. With such overwhelming evidence, why would management deny that there was (and still is) a bullying problem at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center? Here are a couple possible reasons. Perhaps because they are not interested in, and have no training, skills or experience at addressing the problem. One reason is because some managers are bullies and they see bullying by them, or by others as a way of using fear to help keep employees "in line." Certainly a manager threatening an employee with termination for reporting a serious and potentially disabling injury, as the manager from Human Relations did to me on July 18, 2005 when I reported the PTSD to him, is guilty of a severe act of bullying.

What does it mean when management imposes censorship on employees concerning a public health menace like bullying? It means that managers are acting exactly as child molesters and pedophiles act when they tell their victims to not talk about the harmful and abusive treatment they are experiencing. Workplace psychological abuse is at the same place now that child abuse was fifty years ago. Half a century ago child abuse was hidden, denied, not talked about, and the victims who reported it were not believed. Now targets of bullies in the workplace face the same dilemma. Despite more than two dozen reports to them that I was being seriously injured on the job by a psychologically abusive co-worker, at no time to this day (Nov. 18, 2008) has any member of any level of management at St. Alphonsus responded, addressing that problem. Their "response," if you can call it that, is one of complete denial. What's the solution to this denial? The solution is to defy the censorship orders and "tell everyone!" You keep telling and telling until people wake up and address the problem. The solution is the same as the solution for child abuse. In her book for children "Something Happened and I'm Scared to Tell: A Book for Young Victims of Abuse," Patricia Kehoe writes on Page 11; "You tell and tell until somebody listens." Other authors on child sexual abuse echo Kehoe. In "Everything You Need to Know About Sexual Abuse," Evan Stark writes "Tell someone who can help you about the abuse," and also "Keep speaking up until you get the help you need to stop the abuse" (Page 7). Stark also writes, "Keep telling people you trust about sexual abuse until someone listens" (Page 24), and "...if you have been sexually abused, speak up" (Page 40). A pedophile tells his victim to not talk about it so the molester can continue to abuse his victim. A manager at St Alphonsus who tells an employee injured by a bully to not talk about it, as I was told at least half a dozen times by management at St Als, is doing exactly the same thing to the victim of bullying, as the pedophile does to his victim. Such orders have the effect of giving the abuser permission to continue to abuse his/her victim. In situations of sexual, physical, or psychological abuse, ordering the victims to be quiet about the abuse is medically inappropriate. Silence always supports and encourages the abuser.

The comparison between child abuse and psychological abuse in the workplace is a valid one. Numerous titles on bullying compare the emotional harm done to the victim of a bully with the emotional harm done to a rape or torture victim. (For one example check "Bully in Sight" by Tim Field, pages 6, 50, 317-318, 323-324). Judith Wyatt and Chauncey Hare in "Work Abuse: How to Recognize and Survive it," write that bullying in the workplace is "one of the most severe forms of emotional abuse anyone can experience" (page 13), and they also tell us that anyone bullied at work has experienced it as "a life-threatening event" (Page 158). They write that the experience of being bullied at work "is very similar to the impact on a child who is beaten every day" (Page 68). Wyatt and Hare also emphasize the destructive impact that a policy of denial, such as the one that exists at St. Als, has on the victim of bullying. They write, "Living under continual attack in an everyday setting and having it denied is a nightmare. It is a horrifying experience that depletes trust in the world and in one's perceptions of reality..." (page 68).

Psychological abuse is as serious as sexual and physical abuse. Bullying is a personal attack on another person's health, safety, and professional integrity. Bullying is an act of violence. Talking about it is necessary to raise awareness of the problem. However the target of bullying in the workplace who talks about it will probably lose his job as a result. It's important for any victim of bullying to realize that before he/she speaks up. An employer will not long tolerate an honest employee who is exposing the employer's dirty secrets. An employer who tolerates bullies is a bully. The Zogby Survey reported that "in 62% of cases, when employers are made aware of bullying, they escalate the problem for the target or simply do nothing." The report goes on to say; "It must be said that doing nothing is not a neutral act. When a person asks for relief and nothing is done, the employer becomes the bully's accomplice, whether deliberately or inadvertently, by allowing it to continue." My experience at Saint Als confirms those findings. Although I was initially targeted by a co-worker, it wasn't long before management became a part of the problem. I reported the problem to management numerous times but nothing was done to stop the bully. It seemed as if management consistently tried to support the bully. I requested a professionally mediated conflict resolution process with the bully to try to resolve the problem. It was denied by management because the bully "didn't think it was necessary." I have an e-mail I received from the Respiratory Care Department manager which states, and this is an exact quote; "If she (the bully) can accept your presence on her shift, then there is no issue other than for you to do your job" (Italics mine). He sent that to me more than six months after it had been documented that I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of the bully's harassment. To management the fact that one employee was intentionally causing a serious injury to a co-worker was "no issue." Is it surprising that bullying is such a problem at St. Alphonsus? I'm no longer working there, having been forced to leave because I was gradually becoming disabled by the bullying, but the bully is still there, and is now on day instead of night shift, which many would see as a promotion. The department manager who wrote that the fact I was being injured on the job with PTSD was "no issue,' is still there, and has received a significant promotion. Upper level managers who knew I was being injured and did nothing, are still there. The Zogby Survey confirms my experience at Saint Alphonsus by reporting that targets leave, and bullies stay.

The 2007 WBI-Zogby Survey is a valuable source of current information about workplace bullying. It can be found at http://bullyinginstitute.org/zogby2007/wbi-zogby2007.html. There are numerous interesting findings of the Zogby Survey, and most of the findings confirm my experiences at Saint Alphonsus. Thirty-seven percent of American workers have been bullied at work according to the poll. Being the target of a bully is an eye-opening experience. Although I knew little or nothing about workplace bullying before I became a victim of it, I was forced to learn rapidly and, in a few months, read eight or ten texts and scores of articles on the topic. That new information made me aware of how common the problem is at St Als. By the time I left Saint Alphonsus, I knew of half a dozen other employees who were having the same experience, or who had just left for the same reason I was leaving. I only knew approximately 250 employees at St. Alphonsus and most of them superficially. So with 37% of Americans workers having experienced the violence of being bullied and with app. 3,000 employees at Saint Alphonsus, you can calculate how big the problem is at St. Alphonsus. The Zogby Poll found out that 40% of the targets of bullying never complain. At St. Alphonsus undoubtedly that percentage is higher, perhaps much higher, especially if employees know what happened to me, as many do since I reported it to hundreds of them after I left Saint Alphonsus. Reporting it was the responsible action to take since, as the Zogby Poll reports; "Bullying is a public health hazard," Forty-five percent of the targets had detrimental health effects from the bullying. The number of days I missed work annually for health reasons doubled after I became the target of a bully. By reporting it, at least I helped to raise awareness, which will make it easier for others to defend themselves if targeted by a bully, and hopefully avoid a serious injury like PTSD. Unfortunately they still cannot safely report it since management at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center has yet to demonstrate any commitment to addressing the problem.

There is no question that management at Saint Alphonsus is capable of acting responsibly with regard to the problem of bullying. They have the ability to learn how to recognize bullying and help eliminate it from their workplaces. They can develop the skills needed to properly help victims of bullying, including protecting them from additional injury, and providing the kind of treatment that detoxifies the hostile workplace and creates a safe working environment for the injured employee. It's likely that high quality, experienced employees are being lost to bullying, probably by the dozens, each year. It's a matter of choice. Will they choose to address the problem, or will they continue to be a part of the problem? This can and should be seen by management at Saint Alphonsus and Trinity Health as a great opportunity to take the lead in addressing the problem of bullying in the health care sector, which is one of the areas where bullying is most common.

When an employee at St. Alphonsus falls down the stairs and breaks his leg, the employer will offer the required treatment in the emergency department and, if necessary, also as an inpatient. The injured employee will be allowed enough time to recover, and will be given an opportunity to provide input on how the accident happened, and on what could be done to prevent a re-occurrance. But if an employee suffers a psychiatric injury like PTSD as a result of intentional mistreatment from a co-worker, the victim will still be scheduled to work with the abuser, the victim's request for a change of schedule and a resolution of the problem will be ignored, as will his request for time off to recover from the abuse. He won't be offered any treatment. From Jan, 14, 2005 when I first reported the PTSD injury to Human Resource Management at Saint Als, (which was 20 months before I left St. Als), until today, almost four years later, I have had to seek, obtain, and pay for all my treatment for PTSD myself with no help from St Alphonsus. In a meeting with him on May 19, 2005 I requested compensation from a Human Resource manager for the PTSD injury and the expense it was costing me. He promptly denied it. Later I requested, from a nursing official, the forms needed to complete and apply for compensation. She told me that the only forms they had were for patients and covered only physical injuries. That says something about how primitive the care for a relatively common psychiatric injury such as PTSD is at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, which advertises itself as the "Center For Advanced Healing." Management has completely refused to acknowledge that I was injured, even though the first diagnosis of PTSD was made by Saint Alphonsus, as occurring on the job at Saint Alphonsus! To draw a parallel, if St. Als treated the broken leg the way they treat PTSD, they would let the injured person lying at the foot of the stairs indefinitely, ignoring his cries for help. The injured employee would have to drag himself to the nearest "other" health care facility for help. He would be threatened with termination if he talked about his broken leg, and how it happened, to other employees. He would be ordered to not report the fracture, and fired if he reported it to management. He would receive no days off work. He would be expected to show up at work and continue to do the same quality and quantity of work as before, and even work with the person who pushed him down the stairs!

Why is the response to bullying and on-the-job psychiatric injury at Saint Alphonsus so primitive as well as hopelessly irresponsible? Because management at St. Alphonsus has yet to take the problem of bullying and workplace psychological abuse seriously. Recently a vice-president told me that management has a lot more awareness of the problem as a result of the information I sent them. That's nice, but actions speak much louder than words, and so far there has been no action to address the problem and no accountability from managment at Saint Alphonsus with regard to those who have been injured and are still dealing with PTSD and the accompaning issues. We can only hope and pray that the Center for Advanced Healing at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center will soon live up to its name and begin to apply some healing to the serious problem of psychological abuse on their campus.


Leonard Nolt



Next: Part 4 - Find out what happens when a responsible health care professional and citizen reports a public health hazard to the public. The title is "A Knock at the Door"

46 comments:

Jami said...

I'm sorry this happened to you. I know of what you write. Thank you for contacting me recently, by the way. I look forward to reading the first two parts of your workplace bullying posts.

Workplace bullying has also been compared to domestic violence, which is how I saw my ordeal because the abuse occurred at the hands of a boss, who, for all practical purposes, had not supervisor above her.

Someday, I will delve more deeply into my story. What's interesting to me, and what still burns me about other people, is that after talking about it and talking about it and talking about it so much, I was accused of being obsessed and being the bully towards her. Amazing, isn't? Things always get turned around on the victim.

Faith Hoffen said...

That's good that you had the courage to speak out about that!

Yep, It's Me said...

Hi Leonard,
Great blog pieces about your personal experience being targeted by a bully in a health job. You quoted the Zobgy report:

"It must be said that doing nothing is not a neutral act. When a person asks for relief and nothing is done, the employer becomes the bully's accomplice, whether deliberately or inadvertently, by allowing it to continue."

And that is a really powerful statement. The bystanders have a better chance to stop the bullying, not the target. But the bystanders hafta intervene. Most enable the bully instead.

But where in Zogby is that from?

Jud M. said...

You Sir are a True Pillar to our community for speaking out and opening the eyes of those who try to ignore the problem.Keep up the Great work you do, and Thank You/......

Anonymous said...

when will you give up this scandal and shut down this web-site?

Leonard Nolt said...

This is a response to Anonymous who asked, "When will you give up this scandal and shut down this website?

Well, Anonymous, the "scandal" is not mine to give up. The scandal of bullying in the workplace is owned and nurtured by Saint Alphonsus and Trinity Health. Saint Alphonsus where, in my experience, bullying is not only allowed by management, but also participated in and encouraged, and the bullies are promoted, even shortly after recent documentation of them intentionally injuring a co-worker. People who report the bullying, as I have, are simply following the Trinity Health Organizational Integrity Program Standards of Conduct. If you haven't read them you might want to check it out. You can find them on the Trinity Health web site. They include about 2 dozen pages of what are rather impressive statements that, in my experience working for Trinity Health, are simply window dressing. Those Standards of Conduct are not enforced or even adhered to by management.

Let me give you a few examples. On Page 4 it says: "Promote a culture of trust, open communication, and respect." and on page 6; "Communicate with others in a clear, open, and honest manner." The person who targeted me with bullying blocked communication with me for years, even though our respective job descriptions mandated communication between us. She refused to participate in any kind of resolution process. Management never did anything about her behavior even though she was jeopardizing patient care on a daily basis. When I reported the bullying and PTSD injury to management they (Respiratory Care Department manager, Employee Relations Manager, Vice-President) ordered me to not talk about the bullying or the injury, So much for open communication.

On page 13 under "What Should I expect from Trinity Health?" is the following statement: "Have my requests for information, input, or assistance responded to in a timely and supportive manner." Starting nearly 9 years ago in April of 2004, I reported the bullying to management numerous times and nothing was ever done about it. In August of 2006 I was forced to leave Saint Alphonsus seriously injured and partially disabled by the bullying.

In January of 2005 I reported the PTSD injury to management, the first of more than two dozen reports. I never received a response from any level of management addressing the fact that I was being injured on the job by a co-worker.

On page 7 under "Respectful Work Environment:" the last paragraph states: Please note that Trinity Health maintains a strict non-retaliation policy for reporting a concern in good faith." When I again reported the PTSD injury to the Department Manager and the Employee Relations Manager in July of 2005, the Dept. Manager responded by laughing at me, mocking me, and claiming that my injuries were "petty" and "no issue." The Employee Relations Manager responded by threatening to terminate me.

My report and both of those responses were by e-mail and if you would like to see a copy of them, just send me your address to LeonardNolt@AOL.com. No name needed since you are obviously afraid to sign your name, perhaps for good reason. That retaliation is ongoing. Recently I received a letter from St. Als threatening to have me arrested for trespassing if found on the campus there. This is the third such letter I've received since being forced out of employment there by a workplace bully and management that supported the bully.
(Continued)

Leonard Nolt said...

(continued)
On Page 15 is written "Remember the most important thing you can do is keep asking questions until you are comfortable with the answers." In continuing to address this serious health-endangering problem I am simply following those Trinity Health instructions. I was doing that also when I worked there but received no credible assistance from management. You can be sure that being laughed at and threatened with termination for reporting a potentially, permanently disabling, on-the-job injury is not "comfortable." It's not even within telescopic range of "comfortable."

As a responsible citizen and health care professional I have no choice but to continue to raise awareness of the bullying I experienced at Saint Alphonsus. To this day there has been no accountability from management for the trauma and injury imposed on me, which indicates they still refuse to take the matter seriously. However they do engage in serious retaliation against anyone who tells the truth about bullying at Saint Alphonsus and Trinity Health.

Thank you for your comment. I'm waiting to hear from you.

Leonard Nolt

Anonymous said...

Wow, I see your point now.Thank you for responding to my post.As much evidence and information you documented.One would be suprized, you didnt file a lawsuit.I read all your post on Workplace Abuse,but you never mentioned your thoughts about a possible lawsuit ect,or your feeling about it to hold the hospital responsible.Can you shed some light on this?

Leonard Nolt said...

Just a follow up note to my previous entries. Those examples are simply a small representation of the violations of Trinity Health Standards of Conduct I experienced at the hands of management at Saint Alphonsus. There's at least a dozen more in that document and also a dozen or more violations of the Saint ALphonsus Customer Service Standards. Likewise the bully who targeted me violated at least half a dozen Customer Service Standards every shift we worked together for two years and eight months. I reported those violations to management but nothing was ever done to address or put a stop to her misbehavior.

The only conclusion I can come to from those repeated violations is that the Standards of Conduct and the Customer Service Standards are simply public relations gimmicks since I have found no one in management at either Saint Alphonsus or Trinity Health who follows or enforces those standards.

I had a copy of the Customer Service Standards that I carried to and from work every day in my backpack for over a year and a half. I admired those standards and though they were really good. I read them frequently, especially during the time I was targeted with bullying. I understood that this was an unusual situation, but I thought if I followed the Customer Service Standards to the letter, which I did, everything would turn out OK. I was wrong, very wrong I was wrong because I was the only one following those standards. The bully made no attempt to, probably never heard of them. That wasn't too surprising but was surprising to me was that management made no attempt to follow them either! To this day I find that very shocking. But I understand that such standards are used simply to sell the organization to the public as a good, civilized place to work. They are not used to make the organization a good civilized place to work. Thanks again.
Leonard Nolt

Anonymous said...

I see,Thank you for answering my question. I read all your post,and you never talked of why you didnt file a lawsuit.You kept good logs of times and data of what happened.can you explain?

Leonard Nolt said...

Thank you for your comment and inquiry, but I'm a little perplexed by your question as to why I haven't taken legal action against those who harmed me. If you read all of my reports on this blog, as you claim, then you already know the answers to that question. I addressed that in Part 4 "A Knock At The Door," however for your benefit I will repeat and explain it further.

As a Christian in the Anabaptist tradition, which has a history of questioning the wisdom of using litigation to try to solve problems, especially problems with other Christians, I've chosen not to use litigation in this situation. Lawsuits are often used as, or can be seen as, an act of revenge. Seeking revenge is not a "Christian" response. You can find more information about this at the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (www.GAMEO.org) under the title, "lawsuits."

Within the 1989 update on that site is found the following information. "The statement continues to encourage Mennonites to go the second mile in avoiding litigation and to settle disputes quickly and amicably....It urges Christians to seek out alternatives to litigation such as mediation and conciliation (reconciliation) services, which can resolve conflict with less animosity than adversarial litigation."

When I first reported the bullying problem to the department manager in 2004 I followed that church council. I requested a professionally mediated conflict resolution process with the bully to find out what the problem was from her perspective and work a resolution. She refused to participate, and continued to harass me, and block communication with me even though our respective job descriptions mandated communication between us. To my shock and amazement, management supported her refusal and her blocking communication even though her behavior seriously jeopardized patient care.

My additional efforts to resolve the problem and create a safe work environment for me followed that pattern. I never tried to get any one fired, never considered or took any retaliatory action against anyone, and never took legal action. All my attempts to address and resolve the problem were attempting or requesting solutions that would have been equally beneficial to everyone involved including the bully and Saint Alphonsus. That included mediated, direct or indirect communication with the bully, and even offering to change shifts and quit my 27-year shift supervising job which would have meant a reduction in my pay of at least 10%. I received no recognition or acknowledgement from any level of management for my extraordinary attempts to resolve the problem. When I left Saint Alphonsus in 2006, diagnosed with PTSD and GAD, seriously injured and partially disabled by the bullying, I did not receive one written or spoken word of thanks from the department manager for by 30 years of service there.

I bent over backwards multiple times to try to resolve the problem, but the bully refused to participate in any resolution process and continued to target me with her bullying. Now that I know more about bullying in the workplace it's obvious that her behavior was textbook bullying, Bullies in the workplace do not want the problem resolved. Their goal is to be a bully, so they refuse to communicate with their target, except for the aggressive kin of communication that often constitutes a part of the bullying. (Continued)

Leonard Nolt said...

(Continued)
What I still find shocking is that management supported her destructive behavior. She had the department manager and the employee relations manager from human resources wrapped around her little finger, and they fell in step behind her like small children following the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Everything she asked for, she got; everything I requested was denied including a resolution process, an end to the bullying, as well as a change of shift or workdays so I wouldn't have to work with her anymore.

At the time the bullying began I had worked at Saint Alphonsus more than 26 years with an excellent work record and an impeccable record for honesty and integrity. She had been there for less than 2 years and had a questionable work record. When I walked into the department manager's office in 2004 to first report the bullying, I did so with more than 35 years of professional health care experience under my belt, probably more than the manager and the bully combined. But I was not listened to, not believed, and nothing was done about the problem. I remember on that day telling the manager that I thought this was a serious problem, but a year later, when I was suffering from multiple symptoms of PTSD, he told me that it was a minor problem.

Of course that raises the question as to how long one must work for Saint Alphonsus and Trinity Health with an outstanding record before he has any credibility when he goes to management to report a problem. Obviously 25 or 30 years is not enough, so it must be 50 years, or 75 years, or even more. Trinity Health has the same problem. I reported the problem to the vice-president in charge of organizational integrity, requesting help, and he never offered any help or even responded.

(Continued. I will add more reasons for not taking legal action later)

Leonard Nolt said...

I'm continuing this response to the question as to why I didn't take legal action against my employer for being bullied and injured on the job there.

My first response was because of my Christian faith, which forbids retaliation against anyone for a wrong committed. However I do believe there are situations where legal action might be necessary to protect others and is not necessarily a form of retaliation. That may be the situation for some or many bullying victims. If asked, I would not hesitate to testify of my experiences as the target of bullies at Saint Alphonsus and Trinity Health.

My second reason is that often resolutions arrived at by litigation include a gag rule requiring both sides to never talk about the decision made. Those gag rules should be illegal because they block healing, they enable businesses in their wrongdoing, and they also withhold from citizens information they should have about how a business or corporation is using the money it obtains from its customers. I wrote more about the need to talk about the bullying in Part 3 of my series "Tell Everyone," to which these comments are a response.

My third reason is that in the literature on workplace bullying, we are reminded that winning a legal action is not necessarily very satisfying. Drs. Gary and Ruth Namie on page 213 of "Bullyproof Yourself at Work," write: "Winning a lawsuit does not necessarily give the sense of closure on the dark chapter of your life. What seems to matter most is registering your disgust at the bully's conduct and letting her, the company, the world know that you found it outrageous and intolerable(pissed you off)."

An employer who is asking or ordering the bullied and injured employee/s to not talk about it, as management at Saint Alphonsus ordered me, is still refusing to acknowledge the seriousness of the problem and the extent of the harm they did.

Talking about bullying is also a necessary part of the healing process, so a medical center who threatens bullied employees with termination if they talk about being bullied there is definitely NOT committed to healing. Talking about and reporting the bulling is necessary, not just for the healing of the bullying target, but also for the safety of others who might become the target of a bully (Continued).

Leonard Nolt said...

(Continuing)

In dealing with and reporting the bullying at St. Alphonsus I followed the prescribed chain of command or hierarchy, first trying to resolve the problem with the bully herself, as well as also soliciting help from an Employee Assistance Program counselor. When that didn't work I reported it first to the department manager. I reported it multiple times until I noticed that his eyes were starting to glaze over when I began talking and asking for help, and I would have to start my report by telling the account from the beginning as if he hadn't heard it before.

Than I went to human resources, scheduling two meetings with the Employee Relations Manager to report the problem. However he dominated the "conversation," often talking at length about unrelated topics (I remember, in the first meeting held in Jan. 2005, thinking that this man sure likes to listen to himself talk). At the second meeting he did the same, but also made several promises which were broken within a few weeks. Before the third meeting with him, he informed me that I would not be allowed to speak at that meeting.

Next I went to senior management, to the vice-president in charge of Missions and Human Resources, who essentially did nothing but order me to not talk about it, and then dumped the problem back on the department and employee relations managers, two people who had already proven that they were incapable or unwilling to do anything about the bullying.

Then I reported it to the CEO, also to the co-chairperson of the Bioethics Committee, and to the Trinity Health Vice-President in charge of Organizational Integrity, requesting assistance. None of them responded.

I also reported it to another member of senior management, a nurse who I had worked with for some time in the Intensive Care Unit. She sent my report back in the mail unopened, and marked "refused."

Each time I reported the bullying I was targeted with to the next level of management I was convinced that now the problem would be resolved, that finally someone would take the bullying seriously and put a stop to it so I could have a safe working environment. It never happened. No member of management at either St. Alphonsus or Trinity Health even made any attempt to sincerely help me.

The only person who really tried to help was the Employee Assistance Program counselor who I believe was hindered in her attempts by the Employee Relations Manager and also by archaic and primitive policies at St. Alphonsus (continued).

Leonard Nolt said...

(continuing)

However I am an undying optimist. I still believe there is someone, somewhere in management at Saint Alphonsus and Trinity Health who is a competent manager; one who follows the standards set up by those organizations; one with integrity, class, and also with a commitment to healing that is as strong as, or stronger than, his/her commitment to money and profits; one who cares about the safety of the workplace and how people treat each other. I haven't found that person yet, but I'm still looking.

I'm still sending out reports about what happened to me to anyone who is interested in bullying. Some of those reports have gone to other countries. The last sentence in my first entry today tells why I do that, and also is the main reason for my reports on this blog. I will repeat it here; "Talking about and reporting the bullying is necessary, not just for the healing of the bullying target, but also for the safety of others who might become the target of a bully." My concern for the safety of others, and also for the safety of the bully who targeted me, was the main reason I sent out the initial reports in 2006 right after leaving St. Als.

Of course talking about and publicizing the problem of bullying at St. Alphonsus in Boise is especially necessary since there has been no accountability from management for the bullying that I and others were subjected to there. And management at St. Alphonsus is still retaliating against me for reporting the problem to the public as evidenced by the repeated threatening letters I'm getting from St. Als. That means St. Alphonsus still refuses to take the problem of bullying seriously.

Bullying is a form of psychological abuse, as serious as or more serious than sexual or physical abuse. Elaine Weiss in her book "Surviving Domestic Violence," writes that psychological abuse is "...the most devastating type of abuse, leaving the deepest wounds" (page 7). Bullying should be treated by an employer the same way the employer would respond to sexual or physical abuse in the workplace.

I was abused and injured on the job at St. Als and it occurred with the knowledge, approval, and participation of management. Management not only knowingly allowed me to be the target of a bully at St. Alphonsus for over 2 years, even after they knew I was being seriously injured, but they participated in the bullying, encouraged the bully to continue her bullying, and then rewarded her and the Dept. Manager who permitted the bullying to take place, with significant promotions.

That represents a very serious ongoing health and safety hazard to the whole region.

Thank you for your interest and your inquiries.

Bill said...

Wow Leonard what a story.I just cant believe all this happened to you. I mean,there are two sides to every story.I would love to hear what Dennis, Kelly,or Rhoda have to say?

Leonard Nolt said...

Thanks, Bill. I'm responding to your comment about there being two sides to every story, and your statement, "I would love to hear what Dennis, Kelly, and Rhoda have to say." There will be more than one entry to this response.

When it comes to any kind of abuse, sexual, physical, or psychological (such as bullying in the workplace), or even child abuse, talking about there being two sides to the story is a little ominous. It sounds as if you are saying the abusers have some justification for their abusive behavior, that it may even be the victim's fault. Of course we know that's the kind of response abusive people use. The rape victim is blamed for her rape because of the way she dressed. The battered wife is responsible for her abuse because she didn't have dinner ready when her abusive husband got home. The abused child is at fault because he/she was "bad." The target of bullying in the workplace is accused of causing the bullying because he tried to communicate with the bully about work-related issues, even though their respective job descriptions mandated communication between them.

In my experience as a target, the female bully repeatedly lied about me to co-workers and management. At the same she adamantly refused to communicate with me. Unfortunately our work required us to communicate with each other. Her blocking communication jeopardized patient care. When I first reported the problem to the Respiratory Care Dept. manager I told him the bully and I were having a communication problem. I was concerned about the safety of the patients. To my ongoing shock and surprise management supported her bullying and refusing to communicate, but instead of immediately transferring her to other days of the week so our paths and work assignments didn't overlap, they continued to schedule her to work with me and still assigned me to be responsible for supervising her! In the increasingly poisonous atmosphere of her bullying, ostracism, and refusal to communicate, that was an impossible assignment for me, as it would have been for any supervisor. Later they also ordered me to not try to solve the problem by attempting to communicate with her.

However as we all know, much is communicated without using words. Nothing was done to block her negative communication; her hateful glares, her refusal to answer when I paged her for work-related communication, her with-holding information I needed to do my job, he refusal to respond or even acknowledge that I spoke when I asked her a question or gave instructions about patient care, the malicious lies and rumors she spread to others which violated my professional integrity. In so doing she was deliberately creating and maintaining a toxic environment for me. Management only blocked positive communication directed at solving the problem, not the negative communication that injured and disabled me and eventually cost me my 30-year employment there. (continued)

Leonard Nolt said...

(Continued) As for what the three people you mentioned have to say, I've made numerous requests for an opportunity to have a conversation with them about what happened and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. All of my requests have been ignored or denied. I never tried to get anyone fired or took any legal action against anyone. I simply asked for an opportunity to discuss the problem and seek a solution that way. I can't imagine any less threatening response to being bullied, injured, and disabled on the job. But the discussion never happened. I met with managers numerous times, but those meetings were, for the most part, a complete waste of time because the bully's behavior toward me never changed.

Even though I requested most of those meetings, I never felt that anyone listened to me, took my reports seriously, or cared about the bullying. I scheduled two meetings with the employee relations manager (in Jan. and May, 2005) to report the problem. But he did all the talking and never listened to what I had to say. He made several promises that were promptly broken. And keep in mind this was after I was diagnosed with symptoms of PTSD as a result of the bullying! But they didn't care. Nothing was done to protect me from additional injury, and even though I worked for a medical center that claimed to be on the cutting edge of health care, they have no treatment for PTSD, or if they do, they refused and are still refusing to offer it to me.

At one point suddenly the dept. manager seemed to think that we had arrived at some kind of solution to the problem and the only reason I was still reporting it was because I refused to accept the solution. The only criteria that would have fit the definition of a solution would have been a change in the bully's behavior toward me, and that never happened. She had permission from management to continue to bully me and drive me out of the workplace and the fact that she was promoted to day shift supervisor after doing so is proof that management supported the bullying.

The two managers either laughed at me or threatened me. They repeated the bully's false accusations back to me, word for word, without ever giving me a chance to defend myself. So it's hard to predict what they would say now. There's never been, from Saint Alphonsus or Trinity Health, any acknowledgement or accountability for the injuries I sustained, even though St. Als was the first to determine, diagnose, and tell me in writing that I was being seriously injured on the job by a bully.
(Continued)

Leonard Nolt said...

(continued) However I would like to have a meeting with them, preferably mediated by an independent professional mediator. I would love to sit down at a table with them for a few hours and review the history of what happened and why. I would like to be able to tell my story (this would be the first time in front of those three) and actually be heard.

I would like to know why the bully selected me for her target. I would like to know why management refused to do anything to stop the bullying and refused to protect me from additional injury.

I would like to know why management at St. Als and Trinity Health retaliated against me for reporting the problem and are still retaliating against me, more than nine years after the bullying began, and nearly seven years after I was forced out of employment there.

I would like to know why someone who works at St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health with an excellent work record for over a quarter of a century, can walk into a manager's office to report a serious patient-endangering problem, and be treated like a pariah; not listened to, not taken seriously, and be even threatened with termination for reporting the problem, as both the employee relations manager and the vice-president of missions and human resources threatened me.

I would like to know why management at St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health supports and encourages bullies, even after they've injured and disabled a long-term, high-performance employee and driven him out of the workplace.

I would also like to know the percentage of employees at St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health who have a consistently outstanding work record, and work there for 30 years, exclusively on the night shift, as I did.

I would like to know why management at Als and Trinity think they can treat someone in an abusive manner, inflicting injuries that can be permanently disabling, and expect that person to walk away and not tell everyone, when not telling is a violation of Trinity Health's Standards of Conduct, St. Alphonsus Customer Service Standards, as well as a violation of any responsible citizen's obligation to family, church, and the community in which he lives.

I also think that this "meeting" with those 3 people you mentioned should be publicized and open to the public. I have nothing to hide and if St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health are behaving properly, they shouldn't have anything to hide either. Also the meeting should be videotaped and the people present, who want it, provided with a copy so there is no question as to what was said and communicated.

So let's hear what those three have to say, and see if it's any different from their earlier stories. But there must be a considerable amount of time for them to listen to what I have to say. Listening to me will be a new experience for them, if in fact they are capable of doing so.

Thanks for your inquiry, "Bill". You may go ahead and schedule the meeting now. Let me know.

Bill said...

Wow Leonard,what a reasonable request on your part.I can't believe they wont grant your request.Your story is something out of a noval or something.Maybe one day you will write a memoir of what happened to you, in your medical field career.

Bill said...

I would love to be a fly on the wall for that meeting Leonard.

Leonard Nolt said...

Thanks for your comments, Bill, but you didn't respond to my last statement. You are employed by Trinity Health, right? Just like the "anonymous" person I communicated with on this page beginning back in January. So why don't you take some steps and encourage Trinity Health and St. Alphonsus to follow their standards, demonstrate some commitment to healing, and begin to address the way I was treated and the ways others at St. Alphonsus are bullied and injured, specifically by the people you mentioned earlier. I waiting for your response.

Bill said...

Your too smart for your own good Leonard.They want you to stop telling your story, You have been warned.

Leonard Nolt said...

That last sentence should read, "I'm waiting for your response." And I'm still waiting, Bill. It's interesting that since you know that I know you're from Trinity Health, you quit communicating with me. An orgainization that refuses to communicate with one of their employees who was injured on the job is at the worst possible decree of irresponsible management. Nothing is worst than your employer refusing to acknowledge that you were injured on the job, and in my case, injured with management knowing that it was happening at the time it was happening. I have an acquaintenance who was scheduled to have a radical masectomy for breast cancer and the surgeon made a mistake and removed the wrong breast. After that he refused to talk about it with the patient, and refused to communicate with the patient. That, as in my case, is even worst than the initial injury or assault. It refuses to recognize the victim of the injury as a person, as a human being. It refuses to acknowledge that something very wrong happened. In my case, by refusing to communicate with me and be acocuntable, management refuses to acknowledge that I exist, or that I have a legitmate complaint. In so doing they are ignoring the simple basic courtisies that they should have learned in kindergarten. They are also acting in a manner that is the complete opposite of healing; they are continuing to exacerbate the injury by pretending that the victim doesn't matter. Shame on you, Saint Alphonsus and Trinity Health. Your actions prove the only thing that matters to you is money.

Leonard Nolt said...

Bill, in your most recent comment I detected a change in your tone compared to the earlier lighter comments in which you were trying to trick me into writing something that could be used against me.

Let's evaluate your comment. "You are too smart for your own good, " you wrote. It has nothing to do with being smart, Bill. It's about being a responsible citizen and healthcare professional, committed to healing, and concerned about the health and safety of the people in Boise and in Southwest Idaho.

I have four grandchildren growing up in the Boise area. One or more of them could easily end up at Saint Alphonsus some day, perhaps as employees. I want to make sure they are not subjected to the same abuse inflicted on me at St. Alphonsus. I'm also concerned about the multitude of friends, neighbors, citizens, and former co-workers who are in a position where they could potentially be bullied, injured, and disabled, simply by being at Saint Alphonsus. All I'm doing is demonstrating responsible citizenship, and a commitment to safety and healing by warning others of a serious danger that exists there. If management doesn't like it all they have to do is put a stop to the bullying, and also stop their retaliation against whistleblowers. All they have to do is start following their own standards.

If management at Saint Alphonsus was doing the same thing I did, demonstrating responsible citizenship and a commitment to safety and healing, they would have addressed the bullying when I first reported it. They would have provided me with a safe working environment. After I was injured they would have come to me, acknowledging their responsibility for the abuse and the injury, and also offering to be accountable for what happened. The Trinity Health Standards of Conduct on Page 2 states THREE times that Trinity Health and their employees will be held accountable for their behaviors and actions. The people you mentioned earlier violated multiple standards and did it repeatedly. Members of management encouraged, facilitated, and rewarded the bullying, and to this day no one has been held accountable, and the target of the bullying is still be retaliated against for reporting it.

Leonard Nolt said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Leonard Nolt said...

(continued)

"They want you to quit telling your story."
The last thirty-two months I worked at Saint Alphonsus in a toxic environment was the most traumatizing, injurious, and definitive experience of my life. I still struggle daily with the after effects of being abused and injured by a co-worker and by members of management. Those members of management knew I was being injured when it was happening and did nothing about it. Others also participated in the abuse and in retaliating against me for reporting it. That retaliation is ongoing.

Asking me to quit telling my story is asking me to deny my own history. It's also asking me to quit seeking healing and therapy for the PTSD injury. One important therapeutic activity for a PTSD victim is, as you know, telling the story of what happened to him. Simply asking me to quit telling my story is an arrogant abusive act. No one has any right to try to forbid, alter, block, or destroy another person's history. People who try to do that have too much power, money, and control; and too little kindness, empathy, and respect. If management at Saint Alphonsus and Trinity Health don't want former employees telling how they were treated there, all they have to do is change their behavior and start following their own standards.

Telling a victim of abuse to not talk about the abuse always supports and encourages the abuser. Silence never supports or protects the victim of abuse. You should know that, Bill. By telling me not to talk about it, you and mangement at St Als and Trinity Health are identifying yourselves as accomplices of the bully, even if you never met or communicated with her.
(continued)

Leonard Nolt said...

(continued)

Silence always encourages the abuser. That's true of any kind of abuse; child abuse, sexual abuse, spouse abuse, elder abuse, and psychological abuse in the workplace. A cardinal rule of abuse is for the victim to keep telling and telling until someone listens. Keep telling and telling until those responsible pay attention and change their behavior. That behavior change hasn't happened yet.

Writing "You have been warned," does not constitute a warning. Your sentence has no content or information. Warned of what? Warned about what? Just what is it you are warning me of? What does this warning consist of? If you are threatening to continue the retaliation from management that has been going on ever since I first reported the bullying to the HR manager in early 2005, then you are violating the Trinity Health Standards of Conduct which emphasize "a strict non-retaliation policy" for reporting "issues and concerns in good faith" (Pages 2, 7, 13, 14, 17). As for me, Bill, all I've been doing since April, 2004, when I first reported the bullying, and what I'm still doing now is loyally following the Trinity Health Standards of Conduct which say, "Ultimately, it is your responsibility to report issues and concerns" (Page 17); also "Speak up when you're concerned about behavior that is inconsistent with the Standards of Conduct" (Page 2).

(continued)

Leonard Nolt said...

(continued)

Every week since I was forced out of Saint Alphonsus in 2006, I've spoken with someone who works there. So I'm aware of much of the activity there. I know that multiple times management has engaged in public slander and defamation of character by posting my picture and lying about me, claiming that I am some kind of security problem. In spite of the fact that when I worked there I was very committed to safety and reported security problems to management when I noticed them. Those reports included a witnessed report of another respiratory therapist being bullied by a nurse, and a report of some patient safety hazards related to changes in the way MRIs were done. I have never written, spoken, or acted in a manner that would constitute a security threat. Even though I was forced to work in a toxic environment, deliberately imposed on me by a co-worker and management, an environment that caused serious injury to me, I never retaliated against those who harmed me. I simply reported it as I was and am still required to do. I didn't retaliate by taking legal action or trying to get anyone terminated, even though it was clear that the bully was trying to get me fired, and management threatened to fire me for simply reporting the bullying and the PTSD injury. All I did In response was request an opportunity to formally discuss the problem with the others involved. I can't imagine a less threatening response. On the other hand I can't imagine a more vicious, vindictive, unethical, and anti-healing response as the one I received and am still receiving from the bully and management at Saint Alphonsus and Trinity Health.

I'm also aware from reports just a few months ago that the bully is still bad-mouthing and slandering me. But then, why wouldn't she? The last time she did that, management rewarded her with a significant promotion.

(continued)

Leonard Nolt said...

(continued)

I'm curious about something Bill. I worked at Saint Alphonsus for 30 years with an excellent work record for every one of those years, and an impeccable record of honesty and integrity. I never threatened or harmed anyone, which was, just a few weeks ago, solidly affirmed by someone who worked closely with me all of those years. Yet I am threatened with arrest for trespassing if I show up there.

On the other hand, the bully, a short-term, second rate employee who not only threatened another employee, but actually carried out the threat; bullying, lying, injuring, and disabling him, and forcing him out of the workplace, is allowed to come and go without supervision or restrictions.

My question is this: is there a special name for that kind of management, that is management that rewards violent employees who injure others, and simultaneously penalizes and retaliates against high-performance, long-term employees who consistently demonstrate commitment, loyalty, and professionalism? Is there a special name for that kind of management ? Since Saint Alphonsus has chosen to be the poster child for bullying Ih the health care workplace I suggest that we call it the Saint Alphonsus Management Syndrome.

This problem has always been and is still fairly easy to resolve. All management has to do is come to me, admit that I was bullied and injured and offer to be accountable for the trauma and injury. They have to do what they promised to do and should have done when I worked there. We can discuss the details. They have to follow their own Standards of Conduct and Customer Service Standards, which say, among other things, "Treat each person the way you want to be treated." Then future reports of my experience that mention either Saint Alphonsus and/or Trinity Health will also mention what they did (or didn't do) to take responsibility for the bullying and injury. It's as simple as that.

It's likely that I will not respond to any future comment of yours or anyone in management unless it's an offer to make some real progress in resolving this problem. Keep in mind that I've been trying to solve this problem much longer than anyone else, since 2004, a couple years before I was forced out of St Als. I would like to work with someone from management to resolve this. I recently received an opportunity to write about bullying for a national magazine, so I will be doing less, perhaps no more, writing on this blog. Keep in mind the following quotes:

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Martin Luther King

"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." Elie Wiesel
Take care and have a good week,
Leonard Nolt

Bill said...

I'm for one not mused your your comments Leonard.Real PTSD is found in people who were in the front lines, people who returned from war. Not found in a Ex Respiratory Therapist who was supposedly bullied by a female co-worker.Give it up, you dont need any future court dates Leonard.

Leonard Nolt said...

1. Davenport, Noa, et al, "Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace," Pub 2002 by Civil Society Publishing, P.O. Box 1663, Ames, Iowa, 50010-1663. "...findings...that those who developed post-traumatic stress disorder because of mobbing are rarely younger than 40 years of age' (page 26). (Note that when I became the target of a workplace bully in 2004, I was 56 years old, well within that vulnerable age bracket. and management at St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health did nothing to protect me from being injured, even after a St Aphonsus professional diagnosed me with symptoms of PTSD as a result of the bullying.} "Following the prolonged emotional assaults of mobbing, many victims may experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) similar to that experienced by combat soldiers, victims of torture or rape, or by persons after major disasters" (Page 94). "Professional help is essential...Leymann suggests that an extended mobbing process may cause a destruction of the personality. He points out that it is not possible to evaluate a victim's original personality as long as this individual is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)" (Page 112).

2.Barrow, Lisa M.S. "In Darkness Light Dawns: Exposing Workplace Bullying" pub. 2009 by Purple Crown Publishing, Port Colborne, Ontario. "My research confirms that bullying is powerfully and profoundly damaging to health and wellness" (Page 92).

3. Kinchin, David. "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Invisible Injury" pub. 2004 by Success Unlimited, P.O. Box 67, Didcot, Oxfordshire, OX11 9YS, UK. Chapter Seven. "PTSD and Bullying" found starting on page 87. "Victims of serious bullying exhibit the symptoms of a person who has experienced a serious threatening situation." "...symptoms of PTSD are also exhibited by those people who are exposed to prolonged stress" (Page 87). "Bullying causes psychiatric injury that is invisible to all around." "It is clear that bullying can be considered a traumatic event which may result in the victim suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (Page 88).

Leonard Nolt said...

4. Namie, Gary, Ph.D, and Ruth Namie, Ph.D. "Bully Proof Yourself at Work: Personal Strategies to Recognize and Stop the Hurt from Harassment." Pub. 1998 by DoubleDoc Press, P.O. Box 761, Benecia, CA 94510. "Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the injury that results from an overwhelming assault on the mind and emotions. A trauma is an event beyond the range of ordinary human experience - something that would be overwhelmingly terrifying for almost everyone. Even hearing about the suffering of another person is enough. Bullying often qualifies as a trauma, repeated over time" (Page 72). On pages 65 and 66 under the heading "The Many Faces of Hurt" is the following statement, "Bullying Can Be Hazardous To Your Health. IT CAUSES WORKPLACE INJURIES." "Bullying affects targets both psychologically and physically. Remember that psychological effects are to be taken seriously. They can kill as easily as heart attacks. Uncontrolled depression can trigger suicide faster than it takes to develop heart disease. So, know that the emotional-psychological effects listed below also threatens a person's health" (Pages 65,66). And "listed below" under the heading "Emotional-Psychological Effects" is a list of 16 effects. Ranging from mild to severe they include "poor concentration, stress, anxiety, and indecisiveness" to "PTSD, Violence resulting in death. If PTSD or prolonged depression goes untreated, the results are Suicide, Retaliation against bully, Violent Rage against anyone unfortunate enough to be nearby" (Pages 66, 67). Next under a list of 15 "Physical Illnesses: Mild to Fatal" is included "Reduced immunity, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, Rheumatoid arthritis, Asthma, Hypertension, Diabetes mellitus, and heart attack" (Page 67).

Leonard Nolt said...

5. Wyatt, Judith and Chauncey Hare. "Work Abuse: How to Recognize and Survive it." copyright 1997 and pub. by Schenkman Books, Inc., 118 Main St., Rochester, Vermont 05767. "Repeated sexual contact with a child by a family member ranks as one of the most severe forms of emotional abuse anyone can experience. The same is true of scapegoating in the workplace" (Page 13). "At its worst, the impact of scapegoating at work is very similar to the impact on a child who is beaten every day." "Living under continual attack in an every day setting and having it denied is a nightmare. It is a horrifying experience that depletes trust in the world and in one's perception of reality..." (Page 68). "...anyone scapegoated at work has experienced it as a life-threatening event" (Page 158). "Work abuse trauma feels to the victim as catastrophic as the trauma of war, disaster, or childhood abuse." "If you have experienced scapegoating at work, you know the indications of post-traumatic stress: sleeplessness, sudden hallucinatory visiting of abuse scenes, uncontrolled "acting out" triggered by associating an immediate event to a past abuse episode, poor concentration, and a fatalistic outlook on life - among other possible symptoms. These trauma stress symptoms, when left unhealed, may linger for years after you have been scapegoated, and may disable you so badly you can't return to work without being inundated and incapacitated by reawakened trauma memories that are imprinted in your body and lie dormant, waiting to be retriggered" (Pages 273, 274).

Leonard Nolt said...

6. Randall, Peter. "Adult Bullying: Perpetrators and Victims." Published 1997 by Routledge, 29 West 35th St., New York, NY 10001. Page 57 under the heading "Effects on victims," is the following: "The potential range of effects on victims is enormous. Quite apart from people giving up their chosen careers in order to avoid bullies, it is not unknown for bullying at work to cause problems in pregnancy, alcohol abuse, psychiatric illness, family problems, martial and relationship difficulties, suicide, and, most frequently of all, resignation to the superiority of the bully. As has been mentioned before, the effects of bullying have been likened to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Parker and Randall, 1996), and the core cluster of symptoms include:
* persistent re-experiencing of the trauma;
* recurring unpleasant nightmares;
* sudden feelings and sometimes actions associated with a belief that the stressful event is still occuring;
* intense psychological stress when exposed to situations similar to those in which the trauma occured;
* persistent symptoms of increased psychological arousal including nightmares, difficulty falling asleep, incontinence, poor concentration, irritability, exaggerated startle response and increased physiological reactivity when exposed to stimuli reminiscent of the traumatising problems:
* aggressive behaviour problems;
* moodiness; and
* feelings of guilt.

Leonard Nolt said...

7.From the article "Worrying for a Living: Bullying in the office can cause headaches, heartache and other health threats." pub. in the July/August, 2006 issue of "Monitor on Psychology." "...bullying undermines self-confidence by causing confusion and embarrassment..." "Related psychological symptoms can include depression, anxiety and panic attacks, irritability, apathy, hyperarousal, insecurity and intrusive thoughts." "Evidence of this comes from research by Stale Einarsen, Ph.D, a psychologist at the Univ. of Bergen in Norway." "In his studies, bullied participants often became increasingly suspicious, anxious, nervous and depressed. Many also had trouble sleeping and completing their work. In extreme cases, often involving longtime bullying, exclusion, and systematic devaluation, as many as 75 percent of participants showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). "In one 2004 study, published in the British Journal of Guidance and Counselling (Vol. 32, No.3, pages 335-356), Einarsen and Stig Berge Matthiesen, Ph.D, compared a group of 180 currently or formerly bullied workers - most of whom had been bullied for more than two years or more - with victims of stressful events, such as going through a divorce or attending medical school. These bullying victims showed significantly higher levels of psychiatric distress than other groups, and also had higher post-traumatic stress scores than a comparison group that included U.N. personnel who had recently returned from a war zone" (page 74).
"In fact, findings suggest chronically bullied workers experience nearly constant levels of anxiety."
"High blood pressure, palpitations, cardiovascular disease, migraines, fatigue, muscle pain and ulcers are just some of the health effects that WHO has linked to bullying"(Page 75). "...Einarsen's resarch suggests that bullying-related stress is a leading cause of employee absence and is more detrimental to health than overwork, long hours, or even being unemployed." "EMPLOYEES WHO SPEAK OUT OR FIGHT BACK OFTEN FACE RETALIATON" (emphasis mine: as I have been and am still being retaliated against by management at St. Alphonsis and Trinity Health for reporting their abusive bullying behavior to my former co-workers at St. Alphonsus, and to the public, which was and is necessary for public health and safety reasons.

Leonard Nolt said...

8. Field, Tim. "Bully in Sight: How to Predict, Resist, Challenge, and Combat Workplace Bullying," Pub. 1996 by Success Unlimited, PO Box 67, Didcot, Oxfordshire OX11 9YS, UK. "The person being bullied finds themselves constantly on alert in a manner similar to a soldier in a combat zone whose recognition of a single sound may make the difference between life and death. This hypersensitivity is one of the principal components of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as suffered by war veterans, and can take years to wear off. Without help and support it may never fully subside" (Page 84). (And keep in mind, I've never received any help and support from St. Alphonsus, only denial, retaliation, refusal to listen, orders to lie about the injury and threats of termination for reporting the injury, and for talking about it to co-workers, the last three from the employee relations manager in human resources at St. Alphonsus. And all that AFTER St. Alphonsus diagnosed me with PTSD as a result of being injured on the job by an abusive co-worker, a diagnosis that was confirmed by my family doctor and by an independent psychologist. From April of 2004 to August of 2006 I requested help literally dozens of time from various levels of management, and received none. There were no resources available at St. Alphonsus to help me. However since August of 2006 until today in Sept 2013 St. Alphonsus management has discovered a bottomless well of resources to retaliate against me for reporting the abuse and injury I suffered there, retaliation that includes generating a phony psych record, falsifying my personnel record, a phony trespassing charge earlier this year, multiple letters threatening me with arrest if I come on their property, the latest one arriving just two days ago. On top of that an anonymous person calling himself "Bill" who is either too timid or too ashamed to actually identity himself, has told me on this block that "they" want me to "stop telling your story." Those who tell the victims of abuse to "stop telling their stories" are the abusers themselves or, at the very least, accomplices of the abuser. Adults who sexually abuse childrern tell them to be quiet about it. In 2nd Samuel in the Bible, Absalom, son of David, tells his sister, Tamar, to quiet down and get over it after she has been raped by her half-brother Ammon. Management at St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health tell victims of bullying to be quiet about the bullying and the injuries they are coping with nearly a decade later. The worst posible orders one can give a victim of abuse is orders to be quiet about it. People of faith, compassion, and healing encourage those who have been abused and injured to talk about the trauma that caused the injury. Talking about it is essential for healing to take place. In many cases such as mine it also essential to put a stop to the abuse. When a business blocks that talk they exacerbate the injury and show no commitment to healing.

Tim S said...

Keep talking Leonard, its as your a true Martyr for what you've been through.

Leonard Nolt said...

This is a fine short video about workplace bullying and a vivid reminder of how workplaces where bullying thrives such as at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center and Trinity Health, are toxic environments. It also is a reminder of how much harm managers who bully and permit bullying do to employees and to their organization... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAgg32weT80

Leonard Nolt said...

Here's a quote from the previously mentioned video about workplace bullying: "THOSE WHO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT BULLYING ARE ACTUALLY THE COMPANY'S BEST FRIENDS, CHAMPIONING THE VALUES OF RESPECT, DIGNITY, AND SAFETY. THEY ARE NOT TROUBLEMAKERS BUT INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE THE COURAGE TO SPEAK UP AND SEEK CHANGE." When I spoke up about bullying at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, first in 2004 (and numerous times since), I was not listened to and nothing was done about the problem. Later I was retaliated against for reporting the problem. The department manager laughed at me and claimed that my concerns were "petty" and "no issue." The Employee Relations Manager refused to listen to my story of being bullied by a abusive co-worker, even after it was documented by Saint Alphonsus that I was being seriously injured and that patient care was being jeopardized by the bully. He also threatened to fire me for reporting the injury to him and also threatened to terminate me if talked about the problem with co-workers or reported any more bullying to him. This video states "As countless targets discover, commitments declared in policy don't translate into practice." I can't imagine a more hostile, toxic, destructive, unethical, and irresponsible response than the one I received and am still receiving for reporting bullying at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center. Management there is still retaliating against me for doing my duty and following their standards, and the standards of Trinity Health that require employees to report unethical behavior. The bully fit the behavior pattern mentioned in the video also, pretending to be a victim and lying repeatedly to management and co-workers. And to this day there still has been no accountability from management at St. Alphonsus, which is why the reporting must go on. People who work there or even go there are still in danger of being targeted by bullying and injured, perhaps even permanently disabled by bullying that can come from both co-workers or management, as it did in my experience. If you work there please be careful.

Leonard Nolt said...

If you have trouble accessing the video from the information mentioned above you might be able to do it from my Facebook page, where I've often mentioned my experiences as a target of bullies at St. Alphonsus. https://www.facebook.com/leonard.nolt

LeonardNolt said...

Please let me know, "Bill" if you need any more documentation proving that workplace bullying can cause PTSD. I'll be happy to provide more if you are still not convinced.

Bill said...

Leonard, We are making some feel progress in addressing the bullying problem. But we cannot go back and change the past. So lets just sweep the past under the rug and have peace.

Leonard Nolt said...

I'm not sure what "feel progress" is, Bill; unless you meant real progress. How can you make progress solving a problem as long as members of management are so uninformed about bullying that they claim it doesn't cause any injuries? I' m not entirely sure what you meant, Bill, in your previous entry in which you wrote: "I for one not mused your your comments...." Did you mean "I for one am not amused by your comments, Leonard." If so just let it be known that my comments are not and have never been meant to be amusing to you or anyone else, Bill. Although the bully may enjoy bullying, harassing, and injuring co-workers, no one else, except other bullies, are being amused. Texts on bullying state that many managers support bullying because they are bullies and they see other bullies as keeping people "in line." Based on how Dennis Wedman treated me, ( refusing to listen to my story and give me an opportunity to defend myself, conducting manipulated investigations, ordering me to lie about the PTSD injury and threatening to fire me for reporting it to him, giving the bully official permission from management to continue bullying me, etc.,) I'm sure he fits in that description. As long as members of management support bullying at St. Alphonsus no "real progress" will be made to solve the problem. There is currently so much dirt "under the rug" at St. Als that people are being tripped up and injured. It's hard to believe that any responsible person would advocate doing that. Of course we cannot go back and change the past. But this a current problem, not just something from the past. Two weeks ago I got my prescription for medication for anxiety updated, anxiety that began for the first time in my life when I was the target of a bully at St. Alphonsus, an on the job injury that management knew was taking place when it was happening, and did nothing about, not even ever offering me any treatment for the injury. In fact management interfered with and tried to block my attempts to get treatment for myself. I still regularly have nightmares about St. Alphonsus, as many as three a night. These nightmares started when I was the target of a bully at St. Alphonsus and management knew I was being injured when it was happening! This a problem TODAY Bill, not something just from the past. PTSD is a permanent psychiatric injury, Bill. It's invisible of course, but a person with PTSD can be just as injured and disabled as someone with a severed spinal cord. When management at any employer participates in inflicting a permanent injury on an employee, their obligation to be accountable to that employee is also permanent. Your comments, Bill, makes it sound as if you have yet to do any simple basic research into the act of workplace bullying and the damage it does to people. Why?

Bill said...

Oh yes we have Leonard.So lets leave the past alone and not talk about it.We are having some great progress in addressing bullying etc. to employees and to management.

Leonard Nolt said...

Bill;
It is only by addressing the past, reviewing what happened and where things went wrong, where policies were violated or were inadequate, talking to the people impacted, and resolving to do better, that you can make a difference in the future.

Ignoring the past and the people injured, refusing to communicate with them, and refusing to admit the unethical and abusive acts of management means that nothing in the future will be changed. That money and profits will still be more important to St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health than the health and safety of employees and patients.

Rewarding staff and management for abusing and injuring an employee means that others in the future will be bullied, abused, and injured. Within the past two weeks I met with a current St. Alphonsus employee who told me of several employees who recently had an experience similar to mine there. Nothing has changed and nothing will change unless you agree to be accountable for the harm you've done and are still doing to people like myself by trying to silence us, as you are trying to silence me by your most recent comment.

Asking me to not talk about it is a violation of Trinity Health standards which require people to report unethical behavior and promise that those who behave unethically will be held accountable, not promoted for their misbehavior as the person who bullied me was promoted; and the dept. manager who knowingly permitted the bullying to take place and mocked me when I reported it to him was also promoted. Having that as a foundation for future improvement is like building a house on quicksand. It's doomed.

All you're doing is window dressing, trying to make it look as if the bullying is being addressed, clearly for public relations reasons. I've learned the hard way that much if not all of St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health standards are there simply to make the corporation look like a responsible ethical institution, not to make it one, because most standards are not enforced and not even adhered to by members of management.

That's why it was possible for a bullying co-worker to violate at least half a dozen or more standards every shift we worked together for 2 years and 8 months, and even though the problem was reported to management multiple times, management adamantly refused to do anything about it. You can't build a new foundation for change in the future, without acknowledging the failure and harm done in the past, and being accountable to those injured. It seems as if your responses to my comments, Bill, are consistently irresponsible.