Monday, January 12, 2009

A Knock at the Door: (Part Four of Workplace Psychological Abuse)

Note: If you haven't read the first three parts of this series, I recommend that you read them before reading part four. They are found at: Part One -

Part Two -

Part Three -

Also note that the names used for people in part 4 are pseudonyms.

I left Saint Alphonosus Regional Medical Center in Boise, Idaho at the end of August, 2006 after working there for 30 years in the Respiratory Care Department. Saint Alphonsus is part of the Trinity Health care system, headquartered in Novi, Michigan. I was forced to retire early as a result of being injured on the job by a psychologically abusive co-worker. The bullying aimed at me from the abusive co-worker started abruptly in January of 2004. By the time I left St Alphonsus (often referred to as St Als), 20 months had passed since I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of the co-worker's bullying. The PTSD diagnosis was made by Saint Als, as occurring on the job at St Als.

I reported the PTSD injury to management more than two dozen times and never received a response addressing the injury. Neither did I receive any protection from additional injury, nor any offer of treatment for the PTSD. Those reports went to department, human resource, and senior management, as well as to the CEO, the chairperson of the bioethics committee, and even to the vice-president in charge of organizational integrity at the mother company, Trinity Health.

After leaving Saint Alphonsus I did what any responsible citizen and health care professional would do. I reported what happened to me to many of my former co-workers. Since what I experienced represented a public health and safety hazard I was obligated to report it. I had already reported it numerous times to management without having the problem addressed, so now it was time to publicize it as much as possible. The Code of Ethics of the American Association for Respiratory Care, of which I'm a member, states that members are required to: "Refuse to participate in illegal or unethical acts, and refuse to conceal illegal, unethical, or incompetent acts of others." Several times management tried to get me to conceal the unethical and patient-endangering behavior I was facing. They did that by ordering me to lie about the PTSD injury if asked, and by threatening to terminate me if I talked about the psychological abuse with my co-workers in the Respiratory Care Dept.

The reports I sent out were in two forms. About four hundred people received, by e-mail, a 3-4 page condensed version of what I had experienced. Approximately 60 people, including most of the members of the Respiratory Care Dept., received a longer, more detailed report, a copy of the historical document that I started writing in Dec. of 2005. They also received copies of a couple articles on the topic of workplace psychological abuse, and a copy of Noa Davenport's book "Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace."

Management at Saint Alphonsus responded to my reports in a fury. I was preparing for work on Oct. 14 ,2006 when there was a vicious knocking on my front door, immediately followed by a rattling of the door knob. When I hesitantly opened the door I was facing several police officers. They told me they had a report that I had threatened to harm either myself or others. They handcuffed me. I was stunned for several minutes but eventually realized that this was management at Saint Alphonsus retaliating against me for reporting the abusive way I had been treated to the public. Of course the report was false. At no time had I ever threatened to harm anyone.

I was taken into "protective custody" and hustled straight to (would you believe it?) Saint Alphonsus Psychiatric Center! (At that time it was called the "Behavioral Health Center.") The psychiatrist who initiated this process I will call Dr Grizzle. At that time Dr. Grizzle was arguably in one of the most prestigious positions at the psychiatric hospital. He was an employee of senior management, the same people who, in my reports, I accused of behaving in a manner that was abusive and injury-causing toward employees. I stand by those accusations today. There is no evidence that anything has changed in management at Saint Alphonsus to correct this health-endangering problem. I found out later that Dr. Grizzle had been instrumental in keeping the psychiatric hospital open when management had considered closing it. If there were a change in senior management as a result of my reports, it could result in him losing his position and losing a significant portion of his income. Dr. Grizzle's action in having me admitted to the psychiatric hospital was a "punitive psychiatric admission" following the tradition of the former Soviet Union. It was done to depict me as someone with serious psychiatric problems, thereby attempting to discredit my reports of abusive behavior by management at Saint Alphonsus. Dr. Grizzle clearly had a significant financial interest in discrediting my reports.

The usual process is to take the patient first to the emergency department to be evaluated by an emergency physician. Dr. Grizzle conveniently sidestepped that step, probably because I worked in the emergency department for the past thirty years and knew nearly everyone employed there. Dr. Grizzle could not risk having me evaluated by someone who actually knew me, a physician who did not have a financial interest in having me depicted as one with serious mental health problems. The Emergency Dept was part of my regular assignment as a respiratory therapy supervisor. Also the document given the police require them to take the patient to the nearest psychiatric facility. Saint Alphonsus was NOT the nearest facility, but Dr. Grizzle could not risk having me evaluated by an objective psychiatrist, so he altered the document, crossed out that portion, and indicated in writing that I was to be taken to St. Als instead. It's also important to note that Dr. Grizzle initiated this process of involuntary admission apparently without attempting to contact my physician, psychologist, pastor, nor any member of my family, nor anyone who knew me. Neither did he place my name into google and check my writings that can be found on the internet.

The staff at the psychiatric hospital were told by Dr. Grizzle that they were getting a violent psychotic patient. That explained the numerous perplexed stares I received from the staff when I arrived there. There was no evidence I was the person they expected. The handcuffs were too small and had already scrapped some of the skin off my wrist. They were removed as soon as I arrived there, and I sat patiently in a nearly barren room with cheap lightning. I quietly waited. I called my wife who was visiting our daughter and son-in-law. The adult psychiatric examiner from the state department of Health and Welfare, Mr. Green, arrived and evaluated me. A little later he told my wife, daughter, and three employees there that I was not holdable, that I would be released shortly because there was no reason for me to be there. It was Mr. Green's responsibility to prevent a unjustified admission. Later he was overheard telling Dr. Grizzle on the phone, "I have no reason to hold Mr. Nolt." "Hold him anyway!" was Dr . Grizzle's response. After hanging up, three people heard Mr. Green make the comment that he would now have to "get creative" to find a reason to keep Mr. Nolt. (On June 13, 2008 my wife and I met with Mr. Green's supervisors at the Idaho Dept. of Health and Welfare to discuss his actions. They indicated that if the adult examiner comes to a conclusion different from that of the psychiatrist, and then the patient is released and commits some harmful act, the Department of Health and Welfare is liable. They gave us the misleading impression that the examiner usually agrees with the psychiatrist. However I've learned since from those who have worked at the psychiatric hospital that it's not unusual for the examiner to disagree with the psychiatrist, that, and this is an exact quote, "it happens all the time." It seems clear that Mr. Green was pressured by Dr. Grizzle to change his assessment).

The first time Dr. Grizzle and I met was the next day. He spent about 30-40 minutes alone in a room with me. I found out later that Dr. Grizzle was there to conduct an evaluation, but he never made any attempt to do so. Most of the time he spent talking about his own accomplishments, telling me how long he's worked in Boise and how many people he knew. He pointed out that he's evaluated everyone on death row in the state of Idaho. He frequently repeated himself. When he spoke I listened, and when he asked a question I answered it. However when I asked him a question, he refused to answer, and when I spoke, or tried to explain something he would interrupt me and refuse to listen. A couple times he yelled at me: "You're an incredibly naive person!" "You're an incredibly naive person!" He never explained what he meant. Several times he referred to management at St Als as "The Empire." He would abruptly switch from talking about his accomplishments to talking about basketball or some other sport, and then abruptly switch topics again. He bragged about having me locked up by asking me repeatedly who I thought it was that started the process of having me incarcerated. When I said I didn't know, he responded by eagerly saying, "I did! I did!" - as if he expected me to be impressed. He accused me of writing things that were "very threatening," but when I asked him what was threatening in my writings, he refused to answer. He simply said, "you know," and then changed the subject. Although we had never met before, Dr. Grizzle claimed that the PTSD diagnosis I received 22 months before, a diagnoses that had been confirmed by two psychologists, was incorrect. He claimed I was suffering from just "a little grief."

My wife accused Dr. Grizzle of unethical behavior. He denied it, but within two hours had another St Alphonsus affiliated psychiatrist there to conduct an evaluation, a Dr. Ball, who had to leave in the middle of his evaluation and never completed the assessment. Dr Grizzle did not attempt an evaluation of me and Dr. Ball did not complete one, but both wrote reports in my chart as if they had, although Dr. Ball acknowledged in his report that he did not complete an assessment. It took five months and multiple requests for my attorney to get a copy of my chart from St Alphonsus. We were shocked by what the chart contained. The dates of my admission were inaccurate, as was much of the history. In the chart, Dr. Grizzle claimed that I had multiple (9-10) serious psychiatric problems. That was entirely new information to me and my family. I never had any symptoms of most of those diagnoses. But Dr. Grizzle did not tell me nor any member of my family what those diagnoses were, and he never offered me any treatment for them. We first found out five months after the unjustified involuntary admission when we got a copy of the chart.

The reaction of the staff at Saint Alphonsus Psychiatric Hospital to my involuntary admission was revealing. Mr. Green told five people that there was no reason for be to be there, before changing his story under pressure from Dr. Grizzle. If there had been any doubt in his mind, he never would have told a patient's family that the patient would be released in a couple hours. Two nurses told me they didn't know why I was there because, as they put it, "You seem perfectly normal to me." I specifically asked one nurse if he thought I needed to be there and he responded emphatically, "No, you definitely do not need to be here!" One nurse refused to care for me because she did not want to get involved in litigation. Another nurse came and handed me the names of two psychiatrists, telling me that those psychiatrists were NOT affiliated with Saint Alphonsus and if I was required to see a psychiatrist in order to be released, I should see one of them, and NOT see a Saint Alphonsus psychiatrist. An employee at the hospital reported my involuntary admission as an unjustified admission to the Trinity Health Integrity Hot Line. The hot line is supposed to be non-punitive, but she was fired shortly afterwards. One nurse told me that she heard I was locked up because I had sent out over 400 e-mails! Reporting health and safety hazards that jeopardize a community is the responsibility of any conscientious citizen and in the 21st century using e-mail is the simplest, quickest, and cheapest way to fulfill that obligation.

In my medical record Dr. Grizzle made numerous false claims. He claimed that he spoke with me at some length about the significance of my writings. Not true. He simply accused me of writing something that was threatening, but adamantly refused to tell me what it was. Of course he couldn't admit that he had a financial interest in attempting to silence or discredit me. One piece of powerful evidence proving that this admission was an act of retaliation against me by St. Alphonsus, is found in the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) score handed me by Drs. Grizzle and Ball. The GAF is a scale that evaluates the current functioning level for a psychiatric patient. Since neither physician evaluated me, the GAF score I was given had to be based on what I wrote. I was given a score of 35-40 by Drs. Grizzle and Ball. Keep in mind that my personal psychologist said that at the lowest, my GAF score was in the 70-75 range, and that would have been app. a year earlier, before I received therapy and medication and when I was still assigned to work with the abusive co-worker in a toxic work environment. A score under 50 is considered disabled. I checked with several professionals, including a PESI Health Care lecturer who was in town to conduct a seminar on PTSD, and was told a person with a GAF of 35-40 is not able to hold a job, get up in the morning, function or interact normally with anyone, and is inevitably institutionalized. The historical document used by the psychiatrists to determine the score given me was written from Dec, 2005 until Aug. 2006, a period of nine months. For Five months of that time (April - August ,2006) I was working full time at one medical center and part-time at another. I was assigned the task of caring for patients on life support in the emergency dept. at one facility and in the intensive care unit at the other, (and was doing the latter less than 12 hours before the police came to my door on Oct. 14). I responded to cardiac and respiratory arrests at both facilities, and to any major trauma patients arriving at one facility. I was the only rrespiratory therapist on duty at one facility between the hours of 11:00 pm and 6: 00 am. (I worked the night shift at both facilities). At both locations I was constantly working in the presence of, and being observed by many other medical professionals including physicians. No questions were ever raised about the quality of care I provided, or about my ability to do my job. During that entire time period I would, three or four times a week, either play full-court basketball with other guys, most of them significantly younger than I, or go on long (45-90 min) runs alone, or with a running group. I interacted normally with family and friends. I often make my own homemade note cards using my photographs and in one month (April, 2006) I constructed 600 of them. I was not disabled by any definition of the word. The GAF scores assigned me by Drs Grizzle and Ball were deliberately falsified by those two Saint Alphonsus and Trinity Health psychiatrists in order to discredit my reports of abusive behavior originating from management at Saint Als. In so doing they were following the wishes and instructions of management at St Als.

I was released after six days and nights. With the exceptions of those two psychiatrists, the rest of the staff were fine. They knew I didn't belong there, but couldn't challenge the physicians without jeopardizing their own employment. I was disappointed at the facility, however. The food was mediocre, but we've come to expect that from medical facilities. A lot of patients responded to the conditions by simply pacing like animals in a cage. There was no music, which I found troublesome since I listen to music nearly every day. There were no exercise facilities available. When I asked what I could do for exercise, someone suggested walking the halls, but immediately I was warned to be careful, because if the staff sees you pacing, they "might think something's wrong with you." I didn't do much walking. Lack of exercise opportunities, especially for those who exercise regularly, undermines a patient's physical and psychological health. Saint Alphonsus and Trinity Health should know better. There was virtually no reading material available. I read nine books while I was there, including a large collection of poetry by Garcia-Lorca who was executed for what he wrote, but those books were all brought in by friends or family.

Visiting times were limited to a couple hours an evening, and a few additional hours on weekends. I got an incredible amount of support from family and friends with more visitors in a couple hours than all the other inmates combined. However that was only available for two hours. The other twenty-two hours of the day had to be spent not listening to music, not reading, not getting any exercise, not communicating and interacting with visitors, since there was very little one could do, but much that one could NOT do because of Saint Alphonsus' pathetic commitment to mental health in Boise. If one was admitted there without psychiatric problems they could certainly develop them by being there.

Shortly after my release I heard, indirectly, that Dr Grizzle lost his position as a result of the way he treated me. The report was that I was the last, or one of the last patients he ever admitted to Saint Alphonsus. If that is true, responsible management should have also taken steps to undo the harm he did, beginning with having the phony medical record he generated declared invalid. Unforutnately that hasn't happened.

People have asked me about the state of my relationship with my former employer, and with those responsible for the bullying and the aftermath. I've made attempts to communicate about this traumatic experience with those who were responsible, and have been partially successful. Some people assume that I have taken legal action against Saint Alphonsus and Trinity Health. For several reasons I have not filed a lawsuit and have no plans too. One of the reasons is my Christian faith and my commitment to peacemaking. The Mennonite Church has traditionally frowned on lawsuits, seeing them as being too vindictive for a Christian to pursue. The Mennonite Confession of Faith under Article 22 entitled Peace, Justice, and Nonresistance" includes the following: "As disciples of Christ we do not prepare for war, or participate in war or military service. The same Spirit that empowered Jesus also empowers us to love enemies, to forgive rather than seek revenge, to practice right relationships, to rely on the community of faith to settle disputes, and to resist evil without violence" (Page 82). I agree with that position, although I believe there are circumstances in which legal action is justified for a Christian, and I also believe that, although frequently misused, litigation, the legal process, and attorneys can be and often are, powerful tools for justice in the world.

Other reasons I have refrained from legal action include advice from books on the topic of psychological abuse in the workplace reporting that taking legal action, and even winning a law suit is not necessarily very satisfactory. Just as important is the reports I've received from individuals who have won lawsuits against Saint Alphonsus and received compensation, but now cannot talk about it because of a gag rule. It's my impression that those who have been silenced by a gag rule envy the freedom I have to speak out. Such gag rules should be illegal since they protect companies from having to deal with the natural consequences of their misbehavior. Gag rules enable a business or corporation in their wrong-doing. That represents a safety hazard to the community. In my situation a gag rule would violate the Code of Ethics of the AARC, and in following it I would be neglecting my obligation to report health and safety hazards that exist in this community. It's my belief that behavior in the workplace at a medical center that injures employees also jeopardizes visitors and patients, especially when, as in my experience at Saint Alphonsus, such behavior is not just permitted, but also participated in by management.

Professionals who I received counseling and advice from the past four years, (other than those employed by St Als), have been appalled and stunned at the malicious behavior directed at me by St. Als management. I've received a considerable amount of encouragement to continue pressing this issue which is another reason why I continue to pursue a course encouraging communication about this serious problem with those at Saint Alphonsus responsible for the bullying. I'm willing to discuss any aspect of this problem with anyone. I have nothing to hide.

One of the most bizarre charges Dr. Grizzle hurled at me was the suggestion in my medical record that my pacifist's beliefs constitute some kind of threat. Perhaps Dr. Grizzle doesn't know the definition of the word "pacifist." If I had mentioned that I was a "militarist," then he might have a legitimate concern since a militarist is someone who might be willing to use violence against others to try to correct an actual or perceived wrong. But a pacifist will not. A pacifist is one who refuses to use violence. The label "pacifist" was not just chosen by me for use in my report of this abusive work sitution at Saint Alphonsus. It's been a part of my life. I've been a member of the Mennonite Church denomination since 1960. I'm a charter member of Hyde Park Mennonite Fellowship in Boise which was founded in 1977. I've had articles published which document my commitment to peace and pacifism since the early 1980s. Some of them are included on this blog. I've been involved in local, regional, and national peacemaking activities for many years. I've been a committed pacifist for many years. However the word "pacifist" is not synonymous with "passive." To be passive about this threat to the health and safety of the community would be irresponsible. I have been, and will continue to be a pacifist in my communication and interaction with others regarding this issue, but I will not be passive. I will not do as ordered by Saint Alphonsus, that is, be quiet about it and pretend it doesn't matter if employees are being mistreated and injured on the job at Saint Alphonsus.

I was released from the psych hospital after six days and nights. Not once was I offered any treatment for the fabricated diagnoses charged to me. I was assigned to a particular "group" but only found out during an informal conversation with a staff person the evening before I was released. I attended two group counseling sessions but they were not in any way relevant to my situation. The inaccurate documentation on my chart claimed that I refused to attend any session. Dr. Grizzle was sick three of the days I was in there and did not stop in to see me, but he still charged me for visits those days as did the psychiatrists who saw me in his place. Later I found out from a former employee that Dr. Grizzle has been doing that for years. One of the psychiatrists who took Dr. Grizzle's place I will call Dr. Rockefellar. Dr. Rockefellar visited me one day. He said he was filling in for Dr. Grizzle and asked me if I needed anything. I said "no." Than he said that the plan was to release me on Friday. That was the extent of our conversation. It lasted less than 20 seconds. Later I received a bill in the mail from Dr. Rockefellar claiming that he had spent fifteen minutes with me and charging me $80. Fifteen minutes is 45 times longer than the actual time spent with me and the $80. charge for 20 seconds work represents a billing rate of $14,400. an hour!

After being released from the hospital I received a letter from Saint Alphonsus promising me forms to complete to report the injury I suffered and to apply for compensation. The forms never arrived. Other people, including medical professionals, have told me that what I experienced at the hands of Saint Alphonsus management and Dr. Grizzle was not really an "involuntary admission," or "protective custody," but rather a "kidnapping," and a "punitive psychatric admission" done to depict me as having serious mental problems in order to discredit my reports, and also done to retaliate against me for reporting health and safety hazards that exist at Saint Alphonsus to the public. I agree.

Leonard Nolt

(Part 5 - coming soon.)


Anonymous said...

Your story is sickening. I am so sorry you experienced that.

I fully believe there will be justice for you and others in some way, someday.

Keep talking!

kenneth said...

Thank you for speaking out. I can see the relief and healing it brings to you.

I work in Psychiatry in Canada. We have better checks and balances, never the less, I have seen false admissions, and seen some admissions done by police officers who were obviously lying, after I interviewed the patient. But then it was too late, they had a police record of a mental health arrest. This is structural Violence, incompetence as well as self serving behavior by police officers that amounts to more bullying. Yes Police can be bullies too.

My self, being falsely accused by vindictive management, am having similar experiences, but none this severe. The HR department is in on it as well.

Never trust the Human Resources People.

I am documenting everything and have made digital voice recordings and transcripts of most interactions. It is a lot of work. I see you have spent many hours in writing and recording data, and have called in witnesses when possible.

Very well done. This is common for us in the long road of self defence, but rarely acknowledged by management or the Unions. I have an option for civil action, and I expect to be offered a pittance to sign a gag order. Complements of the big "health Care Union".

Thank you for telling me that I will feel worse for it. Yes, I agree, that I want to be free.

Free to speak out on this hazard to the safety of families and our community.

You know what really bothers me, is just what does the poor person do who has no resources and minimal education. Do they just crawl off and die? The neurological and vascular damage is known, yet the laws do not cover this as physical assault. I am telling that part of it to those who will listen. Read the book "The Mindful Brain" by Dr. Daniel Siegel.

God bless, and thank you for your freedom to remain creative using your power and opportunity in building the better future for our children.

You are a true Knight, protecting the world from evil.

Jill said...

This web-site Rocks.......

Bill S said...

Wow Leonard, what a story.Its pure fascinating reading your blogs on workplace bullying.I know you went through hell as it happened of course.But as an outsider reading it.It's very interesting stuff.Whats strange to me is,who would keep your papers and post them years later.If you say you didnt do it.Any ideas?..

LeonardNolt said...

I don't know who is doing it, but the most likely explanation is that it's someone who is having the same problem I had working in a toxic workplace under attack from a bully co-worker or manager, (possibly both), but cannot write and sign their own report and warning to co-workers, without being fired, or further injured by management's response, as I was, so they are using mine to raise awareness and thereby help prevent others from being bullied and injured.

Leonard Nolt said...

I've thought about this more in the past year, and in light of the fact that management at St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health are still retaliating against me for " whistleblowing " their abusive and unethical behavior toward me, it's also possible that the copies of my report that were left at St. Alphonsus in the past year or so were left by someone in management in order to justify continuing their retaliation. It's also possible that the bully or one of her friends did it. However I think those two possibilities are less likely than someone there who is being bullied as I was and cannot report it without being terminated, so he/she, concerned about the health and safety of employees and patients as I was, is using my report to raise awareness of the problem. One of the chief sources of anxiety that I experienced during the time I was being bullied, injured and forced out of the workplace at St. Alphonsus, came from my concern that others were, or would be, treated in the same manner, and suffer the same injuries. I distinctly remember hearing the bully who targeted me talking to a male co-worker about the same topic she talked to me about, and later used my willingness to listen to her as a reason to go repeatedly to management and complain that I was paying too much attention to her, even though by listening I was following Customer Service Standards and doing exactly what she wanted me to do. I remember that as one of the highest levels of anxiety I ever experienced until I had an opportunity to speak to the male co-worker and warn him of what was happening to me.

Bill said...

Leonard, please stop leaving your paperwork at the hospital.We are on to your handywork.Either you are, or your paying someone to do it.

Leonard Nolt said...

Your last message is a lie, "Bill." I have never left any paperwork at St. Alphonsus or any other hospital, nor have I ever asked, or suggested that anyone else do that, or paid anyone to do it. You write "We are on to your handiwork." If that is true than you know that the reports I wrote telling what happened to me at St. Alphonsus and warning others of the danger there were all sent by me via the US Postal Service, or by e-mail. It's possible that other people, also concerned about the chronic bullying by employees and by management at St. Alphonsus, may have made copies of my reports and are still distributing them. As long as St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health refuse to be accountable for the harm they did and the injuries they caused, people have a right to be concerned about bullying there and the safety of employees and customers. Bullying at Saint Alphonsus is a legitimate currently active, public health concern; just like the concern about recent deaths from motorist - cyclists accidents, or the danger caused by driving under the influence of alcohol. Bullying in the workplace injures and disables people. Sometimes they never recover from those injuries.

And I'm curious about something else "Bill." Why is that you and others refuse to identify yourselves? What is it that you are ashamed of? What is is that you are trying to hide? I've always signed my name to everything I wrote since I haven't done any thing wrong, and I've simply been reporting what happened to me, which I was required to do by St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health standards. I initially reported what happened to members of management. I reported it to them literally a total of dozens of times, reports to K. Dwello, D. Wedman, S. Gibson, S. Bruce, J. Basom, M. Holper, and others. Many of those reports were in writing and I have copies of them. I reported the PTSD injury itself to management 25 TIMES! But NOT ONCE did anyone in management respond addressing the fact that I was being injured. And NOT ONCE was anything done to put a stop to Linch's bullying and harassment. The last month I worked there, August, 2006, every time our paths crossed it was as bad as when the problem started in Jan. of 2004.

So why don't you quit wasting your resources retaliating against me for doing exactly what your standards required me to do, identify yourself, and let's get together and talk about it. Like I said, I'll answer any question you have. I have nothing to hide. I have no animosity toward anyone at St. Alphonsus. I, for obvious reason, would never work there again, because I wouldn't feel safe there. But I'm a long-term resident of this city and I, like any citizen, have a right to be concerned about health and safety hazards in Boise, one of which is bullying in the workplace at St. Alphonsus, and the refusal of management there to take the problem seriously and quit retaliating against employees or former employees who reported the bullying they witnessed or experienced. I'm waiting for your response.

Bill said...

You already had your chance, your meeting back in 2008.It went well and both side were satisfied. So what good will a meeting do now? But we will not apologize for the admission to the psych center, cause of what was in your letter to co workers you sent to their homes. I just can't believe people have kept your report and are still remembering all this.

Bill said...

You already have your meeting back in 2008, so what good would one do now?It went well for both sides. But we will not take responsibility for the pysch admission cause of what you wrote to coworkers and sent to their homes. I just can't believe people would keep your letters and still talk about it, your manifesto.

Leonard Nolt said...

Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving, Bill.

Bill, just what is it in the "letter" I sent to my co-workers that keeps you from apologizing? (Since you used the word 'we' I assume you are a part of management). Is it the more than 40 times I expressed concern for the health and safety of people at St. Alphonsus? Is it the documentation I included proving the seriousness of the problem and the violent nature of bullying with multiple references to the literature on bullying, psychological trauma, and PTSD; as well as comments from experts in those fields, a total of more than 50 times? Is it my lists of the injuries caused by bullying including, among others, nightmares, exaggerated startle responses, hyper alertness, depression, loss of confidence, anxiety, disability, and the possibility of violent responses either directed at one self or at others, all of which have solid and repeated documentation in the history and literature on bullying?

Or is your refusal to apologize because, with the exception of the bully, I named the people responsible for allowing it to continue, people in management at St. Alphonsus who supported and encouraged the bullying; and then rewarded the bully with a promotion after she succeeded in injuring me and driving me out of the workplace? I named them because their behavior and their refusal to address the problem continues to represent a very serious health and safety hazard for this region. I learned that many other employees were having similar problems at St. Alphonsus. As a responsible citizen and health care professional I was obligated to warn others. Since I had already reported the problem to different levels of management, literally dozens of times, with no responsible, ethical, or relevant response, I didn't have a choice. I had to warn my co-workers. To not do so would be irresponsible, unethical, and unconscionable.

The reason for the psych admission, as my psychologist said, was to depict me as a "nutcase" in order to discredit my reports of management at St. Alphonsus abusing and injuring their employees, and to retaliate against me for writing and publicizing those reports. Several employees at the psych hospital confirmed the retaliatory nature of the admission. So did the medical director and the other physician who saw me. That the admission was a retaliation against me is proven by the simple fact that they never offered me any treatment the whole six days and nights I was there. The medical director was an employee of senior management at St. Alphonsus, the people I accused of being abusive, so he had a financial interest in having me depicted as a psych patient. He had been instrumental in keeping the hospital open when management wanted to close it So if there was a change in senior management as a result of my information, and the hospital closed, he would lose his job as medical director and the significant salary that went with it. Due to his financial interest in silencing me; for the medical director to have anything to do with my admission or any interaction with me constitutes a major ethical violation.

One nurse at the psych hospital told me, and this is an exact quote, "You definitely do not need to be here." I was not there because there was anything wrong with me. I was there because I was being retaliated against by management at St. Alphonsus for reporting their abusive behavior to the public. The refusal of management at St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health to apologize and accept accountability for the admission (a refusal which you just repeated twice) is proof that dishonesty, abuse, and bullying is still their modus operandi for managing their corporation. It's also one reason why publicizing this health hazard in Boise is still an ongoing obligation for me (Continued).

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


And Bill, if the admission to the psych center was the correct action, then why was Dr. Estess the psychiatrist who initiated the admission ( and who bragged to me about doing it ), fired from his job as medical director for engineering that admission? Employees at the psych hospital told me that, as did other local health care professionals and it was confirmed by Susan Gibson in the Sept. 2008 meeting.

If the meeting you are referring to was the one with Gibson, why in the world would you think a 75 minute meeting 5 years ago could possibly cover all the issues raised by 2 years and 8 months of abuse, plus 7 years and counting of retaliation against me (retaliation that is still ongoing) from management. This retaliation is solely because I followed Trinity Health and Saint Alphonsus standards and reported, and am still reporting, the abuse to co-workers and the public. We need a meeting because there are things that need to be discussed and questions that need to be answered. The contempt displayed by refusing to communicate with an injured former employee says volumes about management's commitment to healing. As long as there is no accountability from management for people who have been injured there, and no program in place to prevent current employees from being bullied, injured, and disabled, it will be necessary for me to continue reporting what happened to me.

Gibson apologized to me several times during that meeting, but never backed up her apologies with any actions meaning, of course, that her apologies were insincere. Sincere apologies for wrongdoing are followed by actions to, as much as possible, undo the harm that was done. The phony psych record generated by Dr. Estess must be legally and officially declared invalid. My falsified personnel record must be corrected. The two false disciplinary action records generated against me to silence me and keep me from reporting the bullying, (while I was still being targeted by the bully), must be apologized for and officially withdrawn.

And there are numerous other concerns that have to be discussed and addressed. There are questions that will be asked and issues that will be discussed, on the internet, if no where else. I'm simply asking and inviting management at St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health to be a part of that discussion.

When I told Gibson that HR had interfered with my attempts to receive treatment for the PTSD injury, she responded by saying, "Oh we wouldn't do that. That's unethical!" She responded the same way when I told her of other incidents that happened in my interaction with management. Not once did she offer to arrange an unbiased investigation. Even though I had 30 years of "outstanding" (Gibson's term, not mine) service at St. Alphonsus and an impeccable record of honesty and integrity; when I reported the way I was being treated to Gibson (just like Dwello, Wedman, Holper, Basom, Bruce, and others before) I was not listened to, not believed, and nothing was done about the toxic situation in my work environment. I find that very offensive. I devoted decades of high-quality service to an employer and to the employer's managers, only to then be insulted by those managers when they refused to listen, acknowledge, and respond to my concerns, or show any respect for my decades of service and experience in health care.

Leonard Nolt said...


If management at St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health respond to a report of a problem in the workplace by making the person reporting the problem the issue, (as they responded to my reports of being bullied by Linch), instead of actually addressing the problem being reported, they are simply engaging in one of the common, typical ways that corporations use to retaliate against whistleblowers.

The managers I reported the bullying to, including Dwello, Wedman, and Gibson, knew that I was being injured on the job by a workplace bully. They knew it WHEN IT WAS HAPPENING. They knew the on-the-job injury I was suffering from had the potential of being permanently disabling. Yet they never did anything to protect me from additional injury. They facilitated the bully's harassment. I was scheduled to work and interact with an abusive co-worker for nearly two years AFTER it was documented and reported to management that by doing so, I was being seriously injured.

They never offered me any treatment for the injury, treatment that would have been offered any stranger who walked into the Emergency Dept. suffering from the same injury. They actually interfered with my own attempts to get treatment. They encouraged the bully to continue injuring me by telling me in Oct. 2005 that I would be fired if I reported any more problems with Linch to either the department manager or the HR manager, and Wedman, red-faced and bellowing at me, told me that right in front of Linch thereby giving her official permission from management to continue bullying and harassing me.

No one in management ever checked with me to see if the problem had been resolved, to see if I was receiving the treatment I so desperately needed, or to see if Linch had discontinued her bullying and I had a safe working environment. Tell me where is there any commitment to healing in that behavior? Where is there any commitment, or even any awareness of the St. Alphonsus Customer Service Standards or the Trinity Health Standards of Conduct?

Leonard Nolt said...

Even though I reported the PTSD injury to management more than two dozen times, no one in management ever responded addressing the fact that I was being injured. This was not simply one person in management having a bad day. This was several managers at more than one level of management acting repeatedly in an irresponsible, unethical, and injury-causing manner. This demonstrates that there is something fundamentally wrong at the core of management at St. Alphonsus.

When an employee is being injured on the job by a co-worker and management knows about it and just lets it go on, it's a very serious problem. Don't you realize, Bill, how intentionally malicious, harmful, and dangerous that is, not just to the person bring injured, but to the entire community? Don't you realize that the refusal of management to be accountable for the person being injured is a definitive sign that bullying and injuring employees is an ongoing problem at St. Alphonsus? Undoubtedly others are being bullied and injured as I write this. This has to be discussed. It's a problem that concerns the entire region.

A few of my co-workers in the Respiratory Care Department were concerned about me since they were witnesses to the bullying. I discussed it with a couple managers of other departments, who were supportive. Of course I reported it to the Resp. Care Dept. Manager, K. Dwello numerous times, but there was no evidence that he ever did anything about it, since there was no appreciable or lasting change in Linch's behavior toward me. During this time I selected a personal psychologist for therapy and was told by her that I had "multiple symptoms of PTSD," as a result of being bullied by Linch and management's refusal to do anything about it as well as their retaliation against me for reporting the problem to them.

My family knew about it. I reported it to my church as a prayer request and they were supportive. In fact people in all the Mennonite churches in this part of Idaho were aware of the issue and some told me they were selecting another care provider than St. Alphonsus whenever possible, precisely because of the way I was being treated there.

Leonard Nolt said...


I haven't ruled out the possibility that my expulsion from St. Alphonsus was organized specifically to get rid of me, in order to replace me with someone less experienced who could be paid less, since that is eventually what happened. It seems that no responsible employer would sit back and do nothing while an short-term impaired employee drives a committed, high-performance employee out if the workplace, unless there was another hidden motivating factor.

I worked at St. Alphonsus for 30 years exclusively on the night shift, with an outstanding work record. What percentage of St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health employees make that kind of commitment? And for that I was bullied and harassed for nearly three years, with management knowing it was happening and doing nothing about it. I was seriously injured and driven out of the workplace. Why? One reason to have a meeting is to answer that question. In the absence of any meeting with those involved, it's a question I will be asking publicly on the Internet and other media for the rest of my life.

I'm still working full time but when I retire I will have much more time to publicize the endemic bullying problem at St. Alphonsus, Trinity Health, and elsewhere. I will also publicize the fact that nearly 10 years after the bullying began, management at Saint Alphonsus still refuses to be accountable for the bullying and injuring, and, with multiple threats and phony trespassing charges, is still retaliating against me for reporting the problem and warning others of the danger there.

Bill, you wrote that you can't believe people would keep my report and still remember it. That, Bill, is the easiest part to believe. I recently received a comment about it from a stranger, a current St. Alphonsus employee, who said that people there are still talking about it. Considering how common bullying is at St. Alphonsus (and I've had employees tell me in the last year that "it's worst than ever.") what's hard to believe is that St. Alphonsus still does not have a specific anti-bullying policy.

It's difficult to believe that management there still refuses to be accountable for what happened to me. It's hard to believe that when management knew I was being injured they did nothing to protect me from additional injury. It's hard to believe that employees who report a serious on-the-job injury are threatened with termination, as I was threatened by Wedman in July, 2005. It's difficult to believe that one who reports bullying is ordered to lie about it if anyone asks, as Wedman ordered me to lie about it in October, 2005. It's unbelievable that someone who reports an injury is laughed at and mocked, as Dwello did when he said that the PTSD injury was "petty" and "no issue," in July, 2005. It's also hard to believe that management at St. Alphonsus actually retaliates against employees who report bullying there. Yet all of those happened to me, some more than once, and the retaliation is still ongoing.

It is definitely NOT hard to believe that people who have been bullied are courageous enough to speak out and report their experience, even with the threat of perpetual retaliation. It's not hard to believe that people who have the courage to take a stand against corporate greed and insensitivity are remembered, and their reports repeated and reproduced.

Bill said...

Your put me in a tough spot Leonard. You do raise some good points. Your situation is rare and no one really knew how to approach it, that is evident. I looked into it. K. Dwello did email you a few things expressing his concern etc. He even asked you not to talk about this sensitive matter with others. Also told you not to violate the confidentiality agreement. Gibson told you that we are now more aware and capable to handle these matters, cause of the information you provided. From now on, this issue will be investigated case by case with a new approach, to insure both side are treated fairly.

Leonard Nolt said...

(Continued - Note that this entry is a continuation of my previous entry, not a response to Bill's latest comment. That will come later.) Hope you had a nice holiday season.

Here's a little history of this ordeal. In March, 2004, after being the target of a co-worker, Rhoda L., who had been bullying me for three month, I received an e-mail from her. I received it at home and immediately showed it to my wife, who knew about Rhoda's bullying and the toxic work environment daily confronting me. I was surprised, stunned, and shocked by the malicious nature of the message. In it she accused me of waiting to walk her to her car after work. That accusation was a lie. I never waited to walk her to her car; I never considered it. I made numerous attempts to try to talk to her about her behavior since she was jeopardizing patient care. But that was my job. As shift supervisor I was responsible for patient care. I was obligated to talk to her about her behavior, but she refused to communicate with me, a refusal that was inappropriately supported by management, inappropriate because our respective job descriptions mandated communication between us. In the same e-mail she also indicated that she was refusing to participate in doing anything to try to resolve the problem.

At the Jan. 14, 2005 meeting with HR, I showed Dennis the e-mail and told him that Linch's accusation was a lie. Yet on Oct. 4, 2005, in another meeting with Dennis, he viciously repeated that same false accusation back to me as it was factual without ever, in the meantime, giving me an opportunity to discuss the accusation with him (or with anyone in management) or to explain why it was clearly a lie. He never gave me an opportunity to defend myself against any of Rhoda's false accusations. In that January meeting with Dennis, I wanted to address these issues and also wanted to ask him the twenty or more written questions that I brought along to the meeting, but he was clearly off on his own agenda talking, most of the time, about an unrelated topic, and I had been warned before by other long-time St. Als employees against even meeting with him, so it didn't feel safe to interrupt him and remind him that I had scheduled the meeting to report a problem to him, not to listen to him pontificate about an unrelated topic.

Unfortunately this was typical HR behavior. In late 2005 he conducted a second "investigation" of this issue between Linch and I. This was before giving me the promised written report of the first "investigation" so I had no chance to respond to or address the results of the first one before he started the second "investigation." I never received a written report of either investigation and it was clear that both were conducted to obtain pre-determined results. In May, 2005 Dennis promised me, three times, twice verbally in the May 19th meeting and once in writing that I would not have to work with Rhoda anymore. By July the promise was broken and I was scheduled to work with her again. And all of this occurred months after it was documented and reported to management that I was being seriously by Linch's bullying with a diagnosis of PTSD, an injury that has the potential of being permanently disabling (Continued).

Leonard Nolt said...

(Continued) I want to know why nothing was done about Linch's harassment, especially after it was documented that I was being seriously injured by her bullying. When management at a medical center like St. Alphonsus, or any Trinity Health facility, not only refuses to address bullying by an employee, but actually facilitates, encourages, and rewards it, that behavior represents a public health menace to the entire region. Everyone needs to know about it. Everyone needs to know when a large medical center allows an employee to chronically jeopardize patient care and seriously injure a co-worker; and when that co-worker, out of concern for the safety of others, reports the bullying, he is then retaliated against by management with kidnapping and imprisonment; with generating a phony psych record; and with falsifying his personnel record, retaliation that is still ongoing seven years later. That all needs to be public information.

Everyone is Southwestern Idaho has a right to expect management at St Alphonsus and Trinity Health to follow their own standards. We all have a right to expect management to interact with employees and the public in an honest and ethically upright manner. The citizens of Boise and the surrounding areas have a right to expect and assume that all members of management at St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health will adhere to their stated public commitment to healing, and to be a "center for advanced healing." That means, of course, providing healing for any employee suffering from an on-the-job injury, as well as safety from additional injury, especially when the injury is the result of abusive behavior from another employee, or from management. Also the citizens of Southwest Idaho have a right to expect management to abide by their mission statement.

I was seriously injured on the job by a co-worker. The injury was first diagnosed by St. Alphonsus professionals. I reported the injury, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, to management more than two dozen times. But I was never offered safety from additional injury. I was never offered any treatment for the injury, which is a a permanent injury, that can be treated, but not cured. I still regularly have to cope with symptoms of PTSD that started with being the target of a bully at St. Alphonsus.

The literature reports that most bullies are serial bullies. When they succeed in getting one person fired or forced to resign, they start in on someone else. How do you know that the bully who targeted me is not now doing the same to someone else? How would management know the extent of the bullying problem at St. Alphonsus? Considering what happened to me when I reported bullying to management, do you think anyone being bullied at Als is going to report the problem? Management at St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health have chosen to bury their heads in the sand and pretend that the problem doesn't exist (as evidenced by your latest comment, Bill). Management has also chosen to retaliate against anyone who reports bullying, and chosen to continue that retaliation years after the target is forced out of employment there. Until you make a different choice, people will continue to be injured on the job there, and you will continue to lose high quality committed employees to other health care providers, probably by the dozens each year. I'm inviting you to make a different "choice." I'm not asking for any special favors. I'm simply asking that you follow your own standards one of which is to "treat each person the way you want to be treated." It's that simple. Thanks for your comments.

Leonard Nolt said...

In the past month I've re-read the e-mails I received from St. Als during my last three years there, e-mails related to being bullied on the job there. One is from the bully, a few from the EAP counselor, Paula Brown, quite a few from management, and numerous ones from former co-workers and other employees after I was forced out of the workplace and reported why to others who needed to know.

This is the first time I've read them since I received them. I considered it many times but did not because the thought of reading them was just too traumatic. There were no surprises in them. The letters from the bully and management seem as malicious, dishonest, and unethical now as they did when I received them. There were threats and misbehavior from the co-worker who was injuring and disabling me and driving me out of the workplace; and management pretending that the problem didn't exist, refusing to do anything about it, and retaliating against me for reporting it.

As I've mentioned before, all this behavior constituted, at every employment level (staff, and dept., HR, and senior management) multiple violations of Saint Alphonsus and Trinity Health written standards, standards found in the Mission Statement, Basic Conditions of Employment, Customer Service Standards, Standards of Conduct, as well as those found in the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.

One of those directives is, "A Catholic health care institution must treat its employees respectfully and justly." In my interactions with management attempting to get help dealing with workplace bully, that didn't happen. I didn't, at any time, receive a respectful or just response from management. I was not listened to, not believed, and nothing was done about the problem. In fact the bullying was not just permitted, but facilitated, encouraged, and rewarded by management.

I'm sure the previous Respiratory Care Department manager, Connie Leavitt, would never have just sat back and done nothing while one of the employees in the department she managed bullied and harassed another employee in the same department, but that is exactly what Kelly did.

Bill, you wrote in your last comment the following: "You put me in a tough spot, Leonard." If you're in a tough spot, Bill, I had nothing to do with it. I don't know who you are or what position you're in, if any. But anything related to being the target of a bully, is entirely the fault of the bully and management at St. Alphonsus, who refused to address the bullying. The literature on bullying makes it clear that the bully is responsible for the problem. Entirely responsible, and it's management job to put a stop to the bullying (Continued).

LeonardNolt said...

Bill, the bully selects the target. The target has nothing to do with it. That's one aspect of bullying that actually makes the problem easier to resolve. Unlike some workplace issues, such as a personality conflict, bullying is caused by the bully. This is confirmed in the literature. Namie in "Bullyproof Yourself at Work" writes , "Bullies select Targets to harm...Cheerleaders for corporate competition are quick to denigrate victims as deserving their fate. Wrong! Bullied Targets no more like the torment they endure than rape victims are likely to seek out the rapist" (Introduction).

Suggesting that my situation is "rare" is incorrect. Surveys have shown that as many as a third of workers in the workplace have been the target of bullies. Education and health care are the settings in which bullying is most commonly found. Just before I left St. Alphonsus in 2006 I knew of half a dozen others who were also the target of a bully, or who had recently left St. Als for the same reason I did; to get away from a bully and the injuring and disabling that goes with being the target of a bully. I only knew about 200-250 people at St Als, and there's no reason why most of them, if they were being bullied, would tell me about it. Claiming that bullying is rare at St. Alphonsus is burying your head in the sand and pretending that a serious endemic problem that jeopardizes the health and safety of this community, doesn't actually exist! After I reported why I left St. Als I heard of others who had, or were having, a similar experience there.

As I've written before, management's request that I not talk about being bullied was inappropriate. Bullying is a form of abuse. Silence always supports and encourages the abuser. It never supports the victim of abuse. Asking me to not talk about it violates St. Als stated commitment to safety and healing. The confidentiality agreement does not covers actions or events that pose an immediate safety threat to employees or patients. Dwello is smart enough to know that. If I'm walking across the campus of Cynthia Mann Elementary School, which is near my house, and I get bitten by a stray unrestrained dog, my first responsibility is to go to that school office and warn them before the children are released for recess. The same is true for a health and safety threat at any place of employment, especially a medical center, where customers arrive in what is usually a more vulnerable state than if they were arriving at Home Depot or the local state university.

The comments by Gibson, you, and others that, in the future, this kind if situation will be addressed differently is not convincing in light of management's refusal to listen to or be accountable to those, like myself, who suffered injury there in the past.

I am interested I hearing more about this "new approach" you mentioned. How can you insure that "both sides are treated fairly" when you have people like the HR manger who refused to listen to my side of the story, threatened me with termination for reporting the PTSD injury to him, ordered me to lie about the injury, and told the bully I would be fired if I reported any more bullying to him or the dept. manager? The foundation of his behavior toward me was unfairness and retaliation. A simple change of process or procedure will make no difference to someone like that. Every member of management I reported the bullying to, requesting help, violated St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health standards in their response, and some of that violation is still ongoing, as I'm still being retaliated against by management at St. Als and Trinity Health.

LeonardNolt said...


If, when I first reported the problem to the Respiratory Care Department manager, the bullying had been addressed and halted, then perhaps my continued talking about it to co-workers, which was very limited and infrequent, would have been unnecessary and problematic. If the bully's work schedule had been changed so our paths didn't cross, thereby protecting me from additional harassment and serious injury, then the problem would have had some potential for resolution. But that never happened. I was repeatedly scheduled to work and interact with the bully for nearly two years AFTER it was diagnosed by St. Alphonsus and reported to management that by doing so, I was being seriously injured. In so doing management supported and facilitated the bullying and the injuring.

Leonard Nolt said...

Your comments Bill, about bullying being rare indicates, that if you are a part of management, management still hasn't done their homework. If management took the problem seriously they would have, by now, educated themselves on workplace bullying, and taken steps to prevent others from being bullied and injured which would include, among other things, a specific anti-bullying policy.

Ordering a victim of abuse to not talk about it, as Kelly, Dennis, and Susan did, is grossly irresponsible and inappropriate, and can only result in the victim receiving more abuse and injury, which is exactly what happened to me.

I reported the abuse to Kelly first, following the chain of command. He initially seemed to listen but never did anything to stop Rhoda's bullying. I was patient, a lot more patient than I should have been, and gave him numerous opportunities, and at least 8 months to address the problem. Nothing was done. Next I tried to report it to Dennis who refused to listen and started to adopt a "kill the messenger" response to my reports. I then went to Susan asking for help to stop the bullying. She seemed to be sympathetic and compassionate, but did nothing except dump the problem back on Kelly and Dennis, two managers who had already proven that they were either unwilling or unable to do anything about it.

Since I was being injured and becoming disabled by the bullying, and since the bully was regularly interacting with dozens of other employees, all of them vulnerable to the same abuse I was facing, and since every level of management had adamantly refused to do anything about the problem, I had no choice but to report it to my former co-workers after leaving St. Als.

Then I received even more retaliation from management at St. Als with a punitive psychiatric admission to their psychiatric hospital with two psychiatrists, Estess and Novak, working for St. Als to generate a phony psych record to try to further discredit my reports of management supporting and participating in psychological abuse of an employee.

And all I did to receive that response was follow the employer standards, and my responsibility as a health care professional, and report behavior by a co-worker that was jeopardizing patient care and injuring an employee.

LeonardNolt said...

From Jan. 2004 until I left St. Als at the end of Aug. 2006 I only had 3 interactions with the bully that I would call "neutral." One was in June, 2004 when we had a brief conversation about a car. One occurred in Jan. 2005 when I greeted her, and instead of the usual pretending that I didn't exist, she startled me by starting to talk about her husband needing surgery for some injury, and talked for some time about it. The third was three months later in March when I asked her how school was going and she spoke about it briefly.

My other interactions and conversations with her during that time period, all of them terse and brief, were laced with hostility toward me,
sometimes open raw hostility so obvious and threatening that I was concerned about my safety and seriously considered calling security to accompany me when in her vicinity. It was also clear that this was directed only at me.

When it wasn't a hostile attitude, I was simply ostracized. She pretended I didn't exist, which, as you know if you've read Kipling Williams books, "The Social Outcast: Ostracism, Social Exclusion, Rejection, and Bullying," and "Ostracism: The Power of Silence, " is even more harmful than chronic hostility.

This behavior of hers consistently violated customer service standards and other employer guidelines, and I specifically asked management to enforce those standards, but they never did.

I've noticed, Bill, that since your first comment on this blog page over a year ago, I've asked more than 15 questions, and you've not answered any of them...yet.
I interpret that two possible ways. If you are a part of management and you haven't answered those questions, it's either because you don't know the answers which raises concerns about your knowledge of the phenomena of bullying in the workplace, or else you have the answers and are withholding them because the information would embarrass St. Als and Trimity Health, and that confirms the unethical and unprofessional nature of the treatment I received from management when requesting assistance. Let me know if I need to repeat those questions.

Bill said...

You put me in a tough spot cause I have bosses too Leonard. I can't honor your requests.We are trying to raise awareness to the subject, and put together a anti- bullying policy.Estess was fired not for your psych admission, but for falsying your medical records once you were there,making stuff up. So Kelly emailed you back and forth, and linch did talk with you at lets just chalk this up to a misunderstanding.

Leonard Nolt said...

Bill; I will respond to your latest comment later but I suggest you read this article, "Internal Complaint Systems Attack Those Who Dare Tell Truths," from the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI). It is a a very accurate account of what happened to me at the hands of St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health. Especially the sentences; "RETALIATION IS THE MOST FREQUENT CONSEQUENCE OF FOLLOWING INTERNAL PROCEDURES FOR WRITING A WRONG," and "THE REPORTING IS CONSIDERED THE PROBLEM - NOT THE UNCONSCIONABLE ACTIONS THAT THE COMPLAINANT FELT HAD TO BE REPORTED." I was retaliated against by management for reporting behavior by a co-worker that was jeopardizing the safety of patients and employees. The co-worker repeatedly made several false accusations against me, but that was done so she could continue her bullying and her goal of getting me driven out of the workplace, which she eventually was successful in doing. Whether or not there was a misunderstanding is irrelevant. (I'll comment more on that later). The threat to patients and staff is what mattered. During my employment there the retaliation came most viciously from D. Wedman in HR, but other members of management supported the retaliation. After I left, of course, I was retaliated against by Drs. Estess and Novak, but I think it's clear that Estess, (who had a significant financial interest in depicting me as someone with mental health issues, making him, from an ethical perspective, ineligible for having anything to do with me) was doing exactly what management wanted him to do. I've also been told that Wedman and Ben Murray were instrumental in recruiting Estes to facilitate the punitive psychiatric admission. As long as management continues to ignore reports of problems from long-term employees, with a proven commitment to the employer (like me), and instead responds with a kill-the-messenger response which is exactly the response I received from Wedman, nothing is being done to address the problem. Now, ten years after the bullying began, suggesting that it just be swept under the rug, as you suggested on part 3, is grossly irresponsible, and convincingly demonstrates just how little commitment there is at Trinity Health and St. Alphonsus to changing things and making their workplaces safe for employees, patients, and especially for whistleblowers.

Leonard Nolt said...

Note: in my previous entry, that should be, in the first quote, "RIGHTING A WRONG, not "writing a wrong."

Leonard Nolt said...

You mentioned in your comment that St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health are trying "to raise awareness and put together an anti-bullying policy." I suggest you consider the ones in Chapter 6 of "Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace," by Noe Davenport, Schwartz, and Elliott. Chapter 6 on page 131 is entitled, "Organizations: How They are Affected; What They can do." There's an example of an anti-mobbing/bullying policy on page 145 that is compact and thorough. The 12 components for creating a caring and nourishing environment on page 142 are also quite good, as is page 190 which lists the psychological and financial costs of allowing bullying and mobbing as St. Alphonsus does.

Of the dozen or so books I've read about psychological abuse in the workplace, "Mobbing" is perhaps the one that most closely describes and addresses what I experienced at St. Alphonsus. I purchased over 100 copies of it and gave at least 80 of them to co-workers and others at St. Alphonsus. It cost me about $1700. dollars but I was willing to use some of my own money to help raise awareness and address what I saw as not just a very serious problem at St. Alphonsus, but an immediate emergency adversely impacting employee health and employment, and jeopardizing patient care.

I felt this was especially serious because management, after multiple reports of the problem, were still ignoring my concerns, retaliating against me for those reports, and showed no concern for the fact that I and other first rate employees were being injured and driven out of the workplace. Because I had invested more than a quarter of a century of my life working at St. Alphonsus and cared deeply about St. Alphonsus, and the situation and workplace there, I was more than willing to use some of my resources (money, time, and energy), to address an urgent safety issue impacting employees and patients. I considered editing my historical report of what I had experienced, which I started writing the year before, but did not because that would have taken some time, and I felt the bullying problem at St. Alphonsus was so serious, as I said, an immediate emergency, that I didn't dare take that much time before warning my co-workers.

After I sent the report, management foolishly retaliated against me and slandered me, falsely claiming that I was some kind of potential threat to St. Alphonsus, even though in the report I expressed concern for the health and safety of people at St. Alphonsus more than 40 times! Of course in order to respond as they did, Wedman, Estess and other members of management had to rip what I wrote totally out of context, and completely ignore my 30-year work record at St. Alphonsus, as well as my church and community activities and involvement. There is no doubt that their response was intentional retaliation against me in order to discredit my reports of bullying and abuse at St. Alphonsus, abuse that comes, not just from co-workers but also from management. (Continued)

Leonard Nolt said...

Bill, you write that Estess was fired for the phony diagnoses he made up for my record, not for the admission. The phony diagnoses were the excuses he used to justify the admission! It's all the same thing. In so doing he was simply acting for management at St. Als, doing what management wanted him to do, that is, continue the retaliation against me for reporting their abusive behavior.

Your last sentence is particularly disturbing. "So Kelly e-mailed you back and forth and Linch did talk with you at times, so let's just chalk this up to a misunderstanding." I suggest you familiarize yourself with Saint Alphonsus Customer Service Standards and the Trinity Health Standards of Conduct. Linch and I were required to communicate multiple times each shift. The customer service standards state that rudeness is never acceptable; not that rudeness is OK as long as there is one civil interaction about every six months!

As manager it was primary Kelly's responsibility to address Linch's behavior and put a stop to her abuse, which he never did. There is no proof that he ever discussed it with Linch, since her behavior toward me never changed.

The diagnosis of PTSD as a result of the bullying, which was made by a St. Alphonsus professional in Dec. of 2004 was proof of the abuse. I was under the impression that health care professionals were required by law to report abuse if they suspected it, not to mention had actual proof of it, as in my case. Why wasn't it reported?

I was charged a large sum of money for the phony admission to the psych hospital, that Dr. Estess was fired for initiating. Why? That expense should have been absorbed by St. Alphonsus. Why didn't management at St .Alphonsus come to me after terminating Estess, explain to me what happened and what they had done about the problem, offer to have the phony record officially and legally declared invalid, and apologize for the way I was treated? Isn't saying "I'm sorry" training you receive from Kindergarten 101 for professional and responsible interacting with other human beings?

When is management at St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health going to respond to me in a professional and ethical manner and take responsibility for the abuse and injury I suffered there and offer to be accountable for what happened, as promised in their standards?

Bill said...

No what's consistent Leonard, is the vindictive mater of your writting. Everybody knows your story and we know you like to comment and pitch it on others blogs etc. Its clearly obvious you you haven't moved on from this. Maybe its a good for you to still be on medications, or maybe you do need another psych evaluation? I suggest you find another hobby.

Leonard Nolt said...

The word "vindictive" means "having or showing a strong desire for revenge." If I was vindictive I would have filed a lawsuit against St. Alphonsus. You know perfectly well that most employees, treated as I was by management, would have done that first instead of seeking a mediated mutually beneficial resolution. If I was vindictive I would have tried to get the bully fired, again instead of asking for a mediated conflict resolution process, as I did the first time I reported the problem to Dwello.

From the time this problem began I have consistently and deliberately requested a win/win solution, that is a resolution that would be mutually beneficial to everyone involved including Linch and St. Alphonsus. I have never tried to get anyone fired or taken any legal action against anyone or any institution. All I've done and am still doing is asking that St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health follow and enforce their own standards.

I think every person who enters a CHE Trinity Health facility for any reason: patient, visitor, employee, vender, etc. has a right to expect management and employees there to follow their own standards. My requests and communication about being abused, bullied, and injured at St Alphonsus have not been, even slightly vindictive.

However it is, and for some time, has been my distinct impression that management would have preferred a lawsuit, than someone who keeps telling his story of what happened to him at the hands of management. Unlike any injured employee, St. Als and Trinity Health has unlimited legal and financial resources, so any employee who files an lawsuit is a significant underdog from the beginning. A lawsuit would be easier for management to control. Any resolution would probably include a gag rule. That way management could continue to cover up their malicious and abusive behavior.

However the problem of bullying in the workplace, like sexual abuse, child abuse, or any other kind of abuse cannot be solved by cover-up. It has to be reported and reported until something is done about it. I've read numerous books about different kinds of bullying and abuse, including books for children as well as adults, and the common theme through all of them is the need to keep telling and telling and telling until someone takes the report seriously and addresses the abuse, until something is done about the problem. At Saint Alphonsus that hasn't happened yet. (Continued)

Leonard Nolt said...


The Saint Alphonsus Customer Service Standards include; "Treat each patient and coworker as you would want to be treated," and "Treat each person as though she or he is the most important person in our facility." Refusing to listen or communicate with someone who wants to talk to you about a serious on-the-job injury there is a violation of those standards. I remember the first time I read the Core Customer Service Standards I was so impressed. I thought they sounded downright Biblical. I carried a copy of them to work with me in my back pack every shift for over a year and a half and I read them numerous times. I have that copy, on green paper, right in front of me as I write this. It's quite worn and creased. Of course at that time I didn't realize that they were just a publicity gimmick. I didn't realize that human resources and senior management had no intention of following them, let alone enforcing them.

It appears that you have confirmed your status as a member of management at Trinity Health, BIll. Telling an employee or former employee, who follows the standards and responsibly reports a serious safety or ethical violation, that he should be on medication or needs a psych evaluation follows the pattern of retaliatory behavior I experienced at Saint Alphonsus. That kind of arrogant, condescending, and abusive response from someone who has no commitment to safety and health, and is not qualified to make such a decision, is exactly what I had to endure from management at St. Alphonsus.

It seems as if when the standards were written someone forget to add the disclaimer that employees are required to report unethical behavior unless the behavior originates in management; and that everyone except members of management will be held accountable for unethical, hazardous, or abusive behavior. However the bully violated at least half a dozen Core Customer Service Standards every shift we worked together for two years and eight months and was never held accountable, and she wasn't a member of management. So I guess young, female blondes are also excused from following the standards (Continued).

Leonard Nolt said...
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Leonard Nolt said...
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Leonard Nolt said...


You claim that my writing is "vindictive." Let me remind you of some of the history of this ordeal. On July, 2005 I sent an e-mail to Wedman reminding him of the PTSD injury and requesting help. He responded by threatening to fire me. Dwello responded to the same e-mail by claiming that my injuries were "petty" and "no issue." on Oct 4, 2005 Wedman ordered me to lie about the bullying and injuring if anyone asked. On the same day and in the same meeting he told me I would be fired if I talked about the bullying with anyone in the Respiratory Care Dept. He also said I would be fired if I reported any more problems with the bully to either him or Dwello, and he said that right in front of the bully, thereby giving her permission to continue bullying me.

In October, 2006 I was retaliated against by management for reporting what happened to me, subjected to an involuntary admission to the St Als Psychiatric Hospital where two physicians, DR. Estess and Dr Novak fabricated a phony psych record with fictitious diagnoses. You said that Dr. Estess was terminated from his position as medical director there for that act, but he was clearly doing exactly what management wanted him to do, as proven by the fact that management never came to me to apologize and offer to be accountable for the harm done. (I was charged a large sum of money for the admission which should have been covered by St. Alphonsus), and also proven by the fact that the fake psych record has never been declared invalid. My personnel record was also falsified. In 2013 I was hit with a phony trespassing charge from management at St. Alphonsus. I've received letters from St. Als threatening me with arrest if I come on their property.

So tell me again Bill. Just WHO is being vindictive??

Bill said...

Your stunt Leonard,and how you choose to address this issue is what got you locked up at BHU. No one before you or since ever did that. So you must at least take some blame for your actions.You took a deal on the trespassing charge and it was dismissed.There is no need for you to write anymore on this blog or anywhere else for that matter.Let it go and find another Hobby.

Leonard Nolt said...

What "stunt" are you talking about, Bill? All I did was report what happened to me, as I was required to do by Saint Alphonsus and Trinity Health standards. I was also required to do it by the code of ethics of the AARC (American Association for Respiratory Care) of which I'm a member. Another motivating factor was my concern for the health and safety of my co-workers and others at Saint Alphonsus, which I mentioned numerous times in my report.

I reported the bullying problem to management literally dozens of times before reporting it to my co-workers. For reasons known only to them, management refused to do anything about it, even after they knew that I was being seriously injured and patient care being jeopardized by the bullying. I actually reported the PTSD injury to management, requesting help, 25 times. Most of those requests were in writing and I still have copies of them.

The involuntary admission was clearly a retaliation against me for reporting the way I was treated by management to hundreds of co-workers. It was done to discredit my reports, and as my psychologists said, "to depict me as a nutcase." The reason I was retaliated against was because I told on management's abusive behavior toward me.

Management's behavior toward me was as abusive as the behavior of the bully. Wedman's orders to lie, his threats to fire me, and his refusal to listen to my story was the behavior of an abusive injury-causing bully. His ongoing retaliation against me is a continuation of that abuse. I'm sure he's pissed off because I told on him. But I did the right thing. No employer has any right to treat their employees as I was treated by management at St. Alphonsus.

When I reported the problem in my writing I warned them of the dangers they were subjecting their institution to. They obviously needed that warning. If I tell my grandson, "Don't run across the street without looking or you might get hit by a car," am I threatening to run over my grandson with a car? Of course not. I'm warning him of a danger that exists, and trying to prevent a tragedy, just as I was trying to do at St. Alphonsus.

But if course bullies in management do not want to lose the power they have to harass and injure their employees, so the defective management at Als deliberately ripped what I wrote out of context and used it to retaliate against me.

I would like to know why nothing was done about Linch's bullying. I would like to know why management, especially HR, inferred with my attempts to get treatment for the PTSD. I would like to know why the abuse was not reported to the authorities as required by law. I would like to know why St. Alphonsus denies me treatment for the PTSD. I would like to know why Linch and Dwello received significant promotions after injuring a co-worker and driving him out of the workplace. I would like to know why I lost my job and was retaliated against for following the standards; and others, who violated the standards consistently were rewarded with promotions and other benefits. I would like to know why management at St. Als and Trinity Health still refuses to be accountable for the harm they did. I would like to know why the phony psych record, which you, Bill, acknowledged is phony, has not been legally and officially declared invalid, etc, etc. That's why I am still requesting a meeting. That's why I must still keep on writing and publicizing the problem. To not do so would neglect my obligation as a responsible citizen and health care professional to report health and safety hazards that exist in this region.

Leonard Nolt said...

You wrote "no one before you or since ever did that." That's a revealing statement to make, Bill. If it's true it means several things. It means that since many people have suffered the same, or similar bullying and mistreatment that I was subjected to, then it's high time someone publicizes it.

It also means that many employees who leave St. Alphonsus take legal action which results in a gag rule, so they cannot talk about it. Such gag rules should be illegal because they facilitate and enable businesses in their wrongdoing. Or they leave injured and do nothing, but if injured with PTSD and not receiving treatment, then they take out the injury on themselves with the use of alcohol or drugs; they may become suicidal, or take it out on their family in domestic violence, or by distancing themselves. The literature on the effects of workplace bullying confirms this repeatedly.

Your statement is also a confirmation of how much unreasonable power St. Als management has over their employees, so much that they are not even free to report unaddressed health and safety hazards at their place of employment. No business should have that much power. When management at St. Alphonsus violates their own standards and mistreat their employees; when they ignore or actually cause injuries to their employees, when they refuse to address bullying in the workplace as they refused to address Linch's bullying for over two,and a half years, they should expect to have their misbehavior publicized, and they should expect to have it publicized repeatedly until they accept accountability for the harm they did. That's the only way to make our workplaces safe for employees and patients.

I'm curious about something, Bill. How does it make you feel to be continually defending bullies? How does it make you feel to try to cover up abusive and dishonest behavior at a medical center? Isn't that a little like denying a patient his pain medication simply because you like to see people suffer? How does it make you feel to be continually trying to get someone who suffered a permanent injury at the hands of an abusive co-worker and abusive management in a medical center, to be quiet about it so management can continue being abusive? I don't know who you are, or what kind of person you are, but I think that behavior would leave a bad taste in the mouth of any honest and ethical person and even make it hard to sleep at night. Earlier you wrote "everyone knows your story." If that's true, Bill, then you know that I'm telling the truth. So when is management at St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health going to do the same and come to me offering to talk with me about what happened and offering to be accountable for the harm that was done?

Leonard Nolt said...

You wrote, "It's clearly obvious that you haven't moved on from this." You write that like it's an accusation, Bill. If you really believe that I "haven't moved on from this" then you are acknowledging that I suffered a serious injury at St. Alphonsus. A person who "can't move on" is one who has been injured.

Candi Lightner couldn't "move on" either after her daughter, Cari, was killed by a drunk driver in 1980. So she founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) which has made a difference in the the number of people killed and injured by drunk drivers. As my psychologist told me several years ago. that act probably made it more difficult for her to move on, but it also provided some personal healing for her by working to protect others.

I haven't founded any organizations yet, but I know that plague of bullying in the workplace at St. Alphonsus, and at other Trinity Health facilities (since management at Trinity is as regressive and in as much denial about bullying as at St. Als.), is a serious menace to health in our region; and I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that my communications of my experience has been beneficial and provided protection for many other people.

There are two possible answers to your statement about me not "moving on." The one answer is "No." I have moved on. Note that my comment written on Apr. 15, 2014 was written nearly two months after the previous comment from Feb. 21, 2014. Do you think I spent all that time thinking of what to write?

In the past two months I worked full-time. My wife also works full-time. We are raising our 11-year-old grandson. He as some "special needs." I take him to a physician three time a week for treatment. I wrote two poems for delivery in worship at our church. I volunteer at the Corpus Christi House, a homeless shelter in Boise. In the past two months my wife and I have had our kitchen and bathroom gutted and rebuild with new plumbing, wiring. lighting, cabinets, and appliances, although most of the actual work has been done by professionals. I met for a couple hours with a current St. Alphonsus employee to discuss the on going problem of bullying there. Since Feb. 21 I've read 35 books on a variety of topics. None of them were about workplace bullying or PTSD. They're listed on Goodreads if you're interested. I subscribe to and regularly read more than 20 magazines and periodicals including The Mennonite, Mennonite World Review, The Sun, OnEarth, Sierra, Audubon, Esquire. Respiratory Care, AARC Times, Mother Jones, The Hightower Lowdown, Harvard Health Review, RT, Solar Today, The Nation, Poetry, Poets and Writers Magazine, AARP, etc. plus several online publication. Only a very small percentage of my time is spent addressing the bullying and ongoing lack of accountability I'm experiencing from management at St. Aphonsus and Trinty Health.

Leonard Nolt said...

The other answer, Bill, is "Yes." I haven't moved on. It's just like it happened yesterday... or is still happening. The inability of an injured person to "move on" as you put it, is proof of a serious injury.

One reason is because this problem in an ongoing problem. I still have symptoms of the PTSD injury, which is a permanent injury, and am still on medication for the bullying. Since meeting with the EAP counselor, Paula Brown, in 2004, I've never received a sincere offer of treatment from St. Alphonsus. Management knew I was being injured when it was happening!! NO ONE in management ever expressed any concern for me, or the fact that I was being injured on the job!!

An inability to "move on" is part of the PTSD injury, as I'm sure you know, BIll, if you've done any homework on this topic. Also I'm still being retaliated against by management at St. Alphonsus with threatening letters and phony trespassing charges, and all because I did the right thing and reported health and safety hazards there.

Your accusation of me not "moving on" is another attempt to try to silence me instead of doing the right thing and actually addressing the problem of bullying, and offering to be accountable for what happened. I got the same response when I was still working at St. Alphonsus. Kelly Dwello sent me an e-mail saying that we needed to "move on like adults," the implication being that someone concerned about an unaddressed safety hazard and potentially disabling injuries, is actually being childish!

I hope that by now you've read Mark Ames book "Going Postal" so you know what I'm going to write next from page 235 under the heading "Move On or Get Over It! This section focuses on how people use the phrase "move on." It tries to depict those who are injured and can't move on as losers. Ames writes, "Winners always move on - losers can't. Since American is so winner-obsessed, the move on argument is essentially its own argument - it quashes debate…" (Page 235).

Ames continues "Telling people to move on is essentially the same as ordering them to go into denial, with the implication that if they don't put on their amnesia caps, there's something wrong with them" (Page 236). "The call to move on is effective because it makes those who resist it look like losers and failures and weirdoes. It works like bullying -" (Page 236). "If people who are suffering or upset don't move on, then the culture applies a more venomous voodoo incantation, "Get over it." Whereas the call to move on implies a kind of patronizing "move back to the state of denial, and we'll forget the whole thing attitude (sounds like what you've been telling me, Bill), telling someone to get over it is the ultimate insult…"

"The impulse to get over it is an example, caught in a phrase, of how profoundly normal it is for contemporary Americans to be callous and bullying" (Page 237). "When relatives of soldiers fighting in Iraq complained about a speech Bush gave that made light over the fact that no WMD were found, Britt Hume of Fox News attacked the soldiers' families, saying, "you have to feel like saying to people, "Just get over it," Anyone who doesn't accept the way things are, no matter how cruel or destructive, needs to get over it" (Page 238).

I would add that expecting someone with PTSD to "move on," is like expecting a quadriplegic to run a four minute mile. It's not only demonstrates a profound ignorance of the injury, or a hard-hearted refusal to care; it's not only unkind and inappropriate; it's irrelevant. It has nothing to do with addressing the cause of PTSD, the permanent nature of the injury, or what needs to be done, not only to provide healing for the injured person, but also to prevent others from being similarly injured in the future.

Leonard Nolt said...

Bill, you wrote that how I "choose to address this issue" is what got me locked up. I'm not entirely sure what you mean but after being forced out of St. Alphonsus in 2006, I choose to publicize the problem and the reason I left by sending a detailed report of what happened to about 60 or 70 of the Respiratory Care Department members and a few others, and a brief summary of what happened to about 450 other employees.

But keep in mind, Bill, that was done after literally dozens of reports to multiple members of management following the prescribed chain of command, for years, while I was still working there! Dozens of reports of bullying requesting help to which I received no assistance whatsoever. Nothing was ever done to stop Rhoda Linch's bullying, harassment, and jeopardizing patient care.

After I was diagnosed with PTSD as a result of her abusive behavior toward me I felt sure something would be done. But management's response remained cold and callous, much like your response Bill. Nothing was ever done to put a stop to her bullying or to protect me from additional injury. As I wrote before, no one in management ever responded to my more than two dozen reports of being injured on the job, addressing the fact that I was being injured. No one in management ever contacted me checking to see if the problem had been resolved, and to see how I was coping with a PTSD diagnoses from working in Respiratory Care at St. Alphonsus.

I even reported the problem, asking for help to Michael Holper who was head of "Organizational Integrity" at Trinity Health and he never responded until months later when I reminded him and then he said that he had "investigated" my complaints about management not doing anything and found them without merit and he said that he considered the matter closed. At that point nothing had been done about the bullying. So it's clear that the retaliation against a whistleblower who reports health and safety hazards is not just a St. Alphonsus management defect, but also an unhealthy characteristic of Trinity Health.

How I choose to report the problem had nothing to do with me being locked up, Bill. The fact that I reported the problem is what led management at St. Als to try to silence and discredit me by locking me up. But keep in mind, Bill, that I had already exhausted all the channels available to employees for seeking help, and received no relevant response, just silence, threats, lies, and/or retaliation from Linch and management. So the question still remains. When is management at St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health going to come to me and offer to be accountable for what happened? When are we going to have a meeting to discuss what happened and what we can do to prevent it from happening again?

Leonard Nolt said...

Ok Bill, if management at both St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health refuse to respond to multiple reports of patient care being jeopardized and an employee being deliberately injured by a co-worker, what's that employee supposed to do? How is he supposed to "address the issue?"

Bill said...

Report it and Not use the words going postal, columbine etc. Leonard, Kelly was right, you both should have moved on and acted like adults. You just turtled up under pressure everytime. Rarely does a female bully around a male, thats almost unheard of. This conflict was a personal one, thats what was concluded.

Bill said...

Report it and Not use the words going postal, or columbine etc. Not Use words that raise red flags. Kelly D. was right, you and Linch both needed to act like adults etc. All you did is turtle up under pressure everytime.I don't know how on earth you servived working all those years in the ER in tense situations? A female bully around a male, that is very rare and almost unheard of. Too much time has gone by, there is no need for a meeting etc.

Leonard Nolt said...

This is an excellent 12.5 minute animated video about Workplace Bullying. It can also be found by placing Workplace Bullying in YouTube and clicking on the animated video by QualiaSoup:

Leonard Nolt said...

Thank you for your response Bill, but like most of your responses this one shows an unacceptable lack of knowledge about workplace bullying. Since we're now using animal analogies its seems accurate to say that you're "chickening" out of doing your homework which makes it difficult for us to have an intelligent conversation about the topic of bullying at St. Als and Trinity Health.

You accuse me of "turtled up under pressure." You seem to have forgotten what my job description was there, if you ever knew. As a respiratory therapy supervisor I responded to every cardiac and respiratory arrest in the facility. I also responded to any emergency department call related to breathing. That meant any life-threatening event including asthma attacks, suicide attempts, stabbings, and gun-shot wounds. It included automobile accidents with multiple victims with life threatening injuries, traumatic amputations, near-drownings, babies beaten up by their mother's abusive boyfriends, drug overdoses, etc. I remember trying to save a young woman stabbed by her boyfriend and 9-year-old boy who hung himself in the shower.
I remember caring for one patient who was seriously injured when he was hit by a running ostrich!

All of those were situation where I and my co-workers were working under extreme pressure. I know what I was doing and did it very well for decades before being injured and forced out of the workplace by a bully and by incompetent and abusive management. But I never felt threatened in those situations.

Being bullied is completely different. Calling bulling "pressure" as you did is like calling the ocean a "puddle' or a hurricane a "breeze." If Trinity Health and St. Alphonsus want to continue to lose first rate experienced employees you can just continue trivializing and mis-identifying workplace bullying. You can continue refusing to take the problem seriously as demonstrated and proven by your comments, and continue refusing to care about employees who were, or are being injured on the job.

My 30-year "outstanding" career at St. Alphonsus was ended by a short-term, second-rate RT employee who targeted me with bullying and harassment because she did not approve of my political and religious beliefs. The injury and disability that resulted from those attacks occurred with the knowledge and approval of management. Management even encouraged and facilitated the bully in her bullying.

Bullying is an act of violence. It's a repeated personal attack on another person. It's intended to destroy that person. The International Labour Office includes bullying with homicide and other acts of violence in its report ("Mobbing…" by Davenport, et. al. Page 23). Wyatt and Hare in "Work Abuse…" write that anyone subjected to bullying in the workplace experienced it as a "life-threatening event" (Page158). Hirigoyen in "Stalking the Soul" calls it "psychoterror" (Page 52, 77) And you call it "pressure," Bill. What do you and management at Trinity Health have to gain by trivializing this problem to the extent of being completely dishonest and unethical in your response?

Bill, the Bible teaches us that people are created in the image of God. I'm trying to see God in you, but your trivializing of a serious intentional disabling injury, your mocking and condescending attitude toward violent abusive behavior and those who have been injured by it, your continual defense of bullies who consistently violate Trinity Health's ethical standards and do nothing when they know one of their "outstanding" employees is being injured and driven out of the workplace by an abusive co-worker, and your refusal to be accountable for the harm your company did, makes it very difficult.

Leonard Nolt said...

Note, Bill, that you wrote "Rarely does a female bully around a male, thats almost unheard of" By using "rarely" instead of never, and by saying "almost" instead of never, you are admitting that it happens. It's not as frequent as women bullying women or men bullying women, but it happens.

The 2010 Workplace Bullying Institute, US Workplace Bullying Survey reported that 35% of the workforce have experienced bullying firsthand. That makes bullying extremely common and any manager at Trinity Health who is not educated about bullying, trained to recognize it, and under orders to respond promptly to protect the target and stop the bullying, is not qualified to be a manager.

The survey also reports that women target women in 80% of the cases. That's 80%; Bill; not 100% or even 99%, but 80%. Even if the percentage of situations where a female staff bully targets a male supervisor is less that 5% or even 2% as it very well may be, it still happens. I know because it happened to me.

Professionals at Saint Alphonsus were the first to document that I was being seriously injured by the female bully. Keep in mind that this bully already had a reputation of complaining and reporting other people in the department to the manager, probably more than every one else in the department combined, and also a habit, (witnessed by me and others) of verbally bad-mouthing people of different religions and political alliances. So she was a toxic employee before she started bullying me. I once heard Kelly say, " I know that (the bully) is not the angel she appears to be."

By the time I was forced to leave St. Alphonsus I knew at least six people who were having the same problem, or who had recently left Als for the same reason I was leaving. I only knew about 200-250 people employed there and most of them superficially. There were at least 3-4 thousand people, maybe more, employed at Als at that time. I had the names and e-mail addresses of each one of the employees. If there were six people out of every 250 being bullied, that makes 24 for every thousand or 72 for three thousand employees. That's a very common and serious problem.

If at any given time there are over 70 people being bullied at St. Als (and that's a very conservative number, since most of the 250 people I knew would have no reason to tell me they were being bullied) you can be sure, BIll, that at any given time at St. Als, at least a few women bullies are targeting men. Several months before I left, a physician told me that several of his/her patients who worked at St Als were being bullied by their manager/s.

When I sent out my reports by e-mail, I made a point to include those employees in the list receiving the report so they knew that they were not alone; that others were having the same problem and speaking out about it, which, of course, is the only way to solve the problem. And the problem would probably be solved by now if management behaved in a responsible and ethical manner toward their employees.

Of course none of that would have happened, and the reports never written or sent if management had listened and taken the problem seriously when I first reported it; if they had recognized the seriousness of the problem instead of mocking me and trivializing it as you are foolishly still doing. If HR had listened, and conducted a legitimate objective investigation, instead of refusing to listen and manipulating the investigation to get pre-determined results; instead of ignoring reports of an employee being injured by an abusive co-worker, reports that came from their own professionals, then the problem would have been solved by early 2005 at the latest. I would still be working there, not on medication for injuries imposed at St. Als, and not having to engage in multiple activities to keep the symptoms of PTSD at bay….. and you and I would not be having this dialogue.

Bill said...

I believe and many believe, that if you had Not over flown this situation as far as You did. Things would have worked out just fine for everybody, and You and I would not be having this conversation. Michael Holper did investigate your reports of misconduct, and told you your accusations were without Merit. What you should have done, and you never did, is just sit down with Linch and talk it over with her first. Before your reports of PTSD, mobbing etc. and big words accusations.

Leonard Nolt said...

What did Holper do, Bill? Call HR at St. Als and ask them it they had done their job? Did he expect them to say "no?" People asked to investigate their own misconduct cannot be expected to be objective and respond correctly.

Once again you are dead wrong. I certainly did try to discuss the problem with Linch, but she refused to talk with me about it.

When I first reported the bullying to Dwello I requested a mediated conflict resolution process with Linch and she refused to participate because she "didn't think it was necessary."

What do you mean by "not over flown this situation as far as you did?" That doesn't make sense. When would have things "just worked out fine for everybody?"

I tolerated the bullying for 4 months before first reporting it to Dwello, thinking that Linch would soon discontinue her malicious behavior. I reported it to Dwello several times in 2004. Nothing was done to address the problem. By Dec. I was diagnosed with PTSD. By then I had put up with it for nearly a year.

In Jan. 2005 Wedman ordered me to NOT try to talk about it with Linch. During the next 12 to 24 months I requested help from Dwello, Wedman, Gibson and others in management, including Holper. He never responded to me until I reminded him, months later. I didn't receive any help from anyone in management. I followed the designated chain of command as prescribed, but when I got to Gibson, she violated the chain of command by doing nothing, and then dumping the problem back on Wedman and Dwello, two people who had already proven that they were unable or unwilling to do anything about the bullying.

By then Wedman was visibly angry that I had gone beyond him to report the problem (as I was told he would be)and he promptly initiated another manipulated investigation as a retaliation against me... AND THAT WAS BEFORE I RECEIVED THE REPORT HE PROMISED FROM THE FIRST INVESTIGATION!

During that time in 2005 and 2006 I offered to participate in a mediated conflict resolution with Linch using either direct or indirect communication, I offered to participate in any method to resolve the problem. I even offered to voluntarily discontinue supervising and change shifts which would have resulted in at least a 10% pay decrease for me. I was focusd on resolving the problem since patient care was daily being jeopardized by Linch's bullying. Linch refused all of those efforts and escalated her bullying against me.

I was isolated from many of my co-workers who distanced themselves from me as if afraid that whatever made me a target of Linch might be contagious. Since Dwello was no longer listening to me and had done nothing to address Linch's harassment, I spoke with two other department managers who were much more supportive. No I won't tell you who they were because they would probably be fired for being supportive.

Of course by now I had developed multiple symptoms of PTSD and was becoming disabled by the chronic harassment.

I displayed an incredible amount of patience and I never retaliated against Linch or tried to get her or anyone else terminated, even though I realized that I could not survive for long in such a toxic work environment. I sought help from the EAP counselor and from a psychologist but HR inteferred with both of those efforts, so I had to seek another psychologist outside of Saint Alphonsus at my own expense.

It's been over ten years now since the bullying began and I'm still waiting for Als to respond in an ethical manner and be accountable for what happened, since the problem was born and bred at St. Alphonsus. Your claim that it's too late for a meeting is ridculous since the first time I reported the problem to Dwello I requested a meeting. That no meeting to resolve the problem has taken place is the fault of management, not my fault.

Leonard Nolt said...

Bill, I suggest you read the several parts of my report on "Workplace Psychological Abuse" on my blog "the Cambium Level" since in them I've already answered the points or claims you frequently try to make in your comments. For example you inaccurately claimed that I did not try to first address the problem with Linch. Of course I did. That's in Part Two which was written several years ago. That what the St. Als Customer Service Standards and the Trinity Health Standards of Conduct prescribe. The Standards of Conduct on page 6 state, "Attempt to address any differences you have with coworkers directly with the individuals invloved." I was following the customer service standards religiously.

But, of course, with bullies that will not work. Why? Because bullies will not discuss their behavior, especially not with their 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). That's one reason why I never heard of the reason why Linch was targeting me. Wedman and Dwello both acted as if they didn't know either.

Also the writings of Marie-France Hirigoyen in her book "Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity" emphasizes 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." ....Withdrawal from discussion is an effective means of aggravating the conflict (Page 62). "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). The information in the last two paragraphs is in Part 3 of my reports.

Linch's behavior confirms that this was the behavior of a typical workplace bully, not a personal issue as you try to dismiss it. Trying to solve the problem by scheduling a dialogue solely between the bully and her target will not work because the bully will not communicate; because her bullying is intentional and she does not want to quit bullying.

Like I've mentioned before, if you would devote some time and effort to learning about workplace bullying you would not be making such statements. You are currently the only image of management at Trinity Health and Saint Alphonsus I see, and your lack of knowledge is solid proof that Trinity Health has yet to take the problem of workplace bullying seriously. Your claim that Trinity Health is making progress addressing the bullying problem simply does not ring true.

Leonard Nolt said...

Bill, the Trinity Health Standards of Conduct on page 1, written by Michael Holper himself, (the same person who ignored my reports of being injured on the job by a violent and unethical coworker) say the following, "Most important, you're responsible for speaking up about behaviors or actions that may be inconsistent with the Standards of Conduct." On page 2 is written, "Speak up when you're concerned about behavior that is inconsistent with the Standards of Conduct." On page 7 is the following: "Trinity Health associates, physicians, and others are not expected to tolerate disrespectful behavior in the workplace. Rather such behavior should be reported…." And on page 17 is the following: "Ultimately, it is your responsibility to report issues and concerns."

When I first walked into Kelly Dwello's office on that April spring day in 2004 to report Linch's bullying, the first time I ever reported anything so problematic and troubling to any manager in over a quarter of a century of working there, I WAS FOLLOWING THOSE STANDARDS.

When I wrote the last entry on this blog this morning, I WAS FOLLOWING THOSE STANDARDS. Every verbal or written report I've made for more than ten years, (and that number is probably over 200 by now and still growing), in between those two dates WAS DONE AS AN OBEDIENT RESPONSE TO THOSE STANDARDS. This entry IS ALSO A RESPONSE TO THOSE STANDARDS.

I've read those standards dozens of times. I've read the Saint Alphonsus Customer Service Standards even more often, at least 50 or more times. I've read the Basic Conditions of Employment many times too, as well as other documents and web sites by St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health. No where in any of those writings did I ever find a statement saying that members of management at Saint Alphonsus and Trinity Health, (as well as young female blondes), are excused from following their standards. Those same documents also emphasize that employees (or associates if you prefer) will be held accountable for violating those standards.

But in spite of my reports, I've NEVER received a response from anyone at any level of management acknowledging that I was being bullied and injured, or sincerely addressing the problem in an attempt to end it. After I was diagnosed with PTSD, no one in management made any attempt to protect me from additional injury. Nothing was ever done to stop Linch's harassment. There was never any lasting or appreciable change in her behavior toward me.

Neither the bully nor anyone in management was ever held accountable for their abuse and violations of St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health standards. In fact some, including Linch and Dwello, received significant promotions after participating in injuring me and driving me out of the workplace. No one at St. Alphonsus, except EAP counselor Paula Brown, ever sincerely made any attempt to help me or offer me any treatment for the on-the-job injury. Even though they received multiple reports of me being bullied and injured on the job, no one in management and that includes Dwello, Wedman, and Gibson, ever voluntarily contacted me to see how I was doing, to see if Linch had discontinued her bullying, or to see it I had a safe working environment.

WHY ??????

Bill said...

Dwello and Wedman both told you, this conflict was a personal one. That you were trying to renew or continue a friendship with someone who no longer wanted to be friends with you.Dwello emailed you and told you, this was a small conflict and no issue, but you kept making this issue so large. You made it up all in your head, all these theories etc. You made this problem bigger then it ever was, thats what the investigation uncovered, like it or not Leonard. Nobody hindered your requests to get help etc. The fact was Calhoun and Wedman did know each other. So obviously there was a conflict of interest, especially of what was going to be talked about etc coming from you.

Leonard Nolt said...

Bill, tell me exactly what it was that I "made up in my head," and what "theories" are you talking about? What did I do that made "this issue so large?"

Bill said...

Well first of all, you right away requested a professional mediation session. None was needed, not to mention we didn't have a plan in place then, had someone requested one. 2nd, you wanted (later demanded) everything be put in writting and handed over to you. Gee Leonard, I wonder why? You made this small issue bigger then it ever was, and kept at it as if know one was doing anything etc. The fact was, we were and there was no need for the whole hospital administration to look into your little squabble with a female coworker.

Leonard Nolt said...

I will respond more specifically to your most recent comments, Bill, but first let me write the following:

When I walked into Dwello's office in April, 2004 to first report the bullying. I did so with an outstanding work record, an impeccable record of honesty and integrity, and more than 34 years of experience in health care, probably more than Linch and Dwello combined. I had a right to be listened to, to be believed, and to have the problem resolved promptly. It should not have been necessary for me to report it twice, not to mention dozens of times.

There was nothing on my more than 25 years plus record at St. Alphonsus of me having "little squabbles" with other employees, of reporting "minor conflicts" that were "petty"and "no issue." But in spite of my long-term service there and my extensive experience in health care, I was not listened to, not believed, and nothing was done about the bullying. I received the same uncaring, non-response from multiple layers of management even though patient care was being jeopardized, and even though I was being seriously injured. I find that very offensive. It also demonstrates from management an extremely high level of callousness, contempt, and disdain toward employees as well as a lack of commitment to health and safety for patients and employees, an attitude permeating all levels of management that only can be described as totally irresponsible and appalling.

This was a bullying problem caused entirely by the bully. As texts on workplace bullying repeatedly point out, the target has nothing to do with the bullying. But even if it had been my fault, a report of someone being injured on the job by a coworker must be seen by management as an emergency requiring immediate attention, regardless of who is responsible (Continued).

Leonard Nolt said...


Since PTSD can be permanently disabling, a diagnosis of symptoms of PTSD is an immediate emergency, the psychological equivalent of a cardiac or respiratory arrest. Steps have to be taken immediately to protect the injured person from additional injury and those steps have to be completed in a couple hours. Work schedules must be promptly changed so the paths of the bully and her victim do not cross in the workplace, that is until the victim or target is guaranteed a safe working environment relative to the occupation. I believe this is Management 101 level information. In other words everyone in management should know this and be prepared to respond appropriately. There was nothing ethical, professional, responsible, or relevant about management's response, or non-response to one employee at Saint Alphonsus being deliberately and repeatedly injured by a coworker.

The permanent nature of a PTSD injury is well known and any responsible, ethically competent, and medically knowledgable employer will recognize an on the job PTSD injury as an immediate life and career threatening emergency. In "Stalking the Soul," Marie-France Hirigoyen writes, "A person who has undergone psychic aggression such as emotional abuse is truly a victim because his or her psyche has been, to a greater or lesser degree, permanently altered" (Page 9).

Judith Herman, M.D. in "Trauma and Recovery" writes": "Some of the most exciting recent advances in the field derive from highly technical laboratory studies of the biological aspects of PTSD. It has become clear that traumatic exposure can produce lasting alterations in the endocrine, autonomic, and central nervous systems. New lines of investigations are delineating complex changes in the regulation of stress hormones, and in the function and even structure of specific areas of the brain. Abnormalities have been found particularly in the amygala and the hippocampus, brain structures that create a link between fear and memory (Page 238).

In "Traumatic Stress: The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on Mind, Body, and Society" edited by Bessel A. van der Kolk, et. al. is the following statement that confirms the ongoing harm inflicted on bullying victims by St. Alphonsus' continuing denial of the problem and the injury. "Many personal testimonies of trauma survivors indicate that not being supported by the people they counted on, and being blamed for bringing horrendous experiences upon themselves, have left deeper scars than the traumatic event itself" (Page 27).

From the same book comes the following: "Grinker and Spiegel (1945) noted that the lasting imprint left by traumatic memories on the psyche 'is not like the writing on a slate that can be erased, leaving the slate as it was before'" (Page 59).

And by Arieh Y. Shalev from the same book is the following: "The resistance of PTSD to most treatment modalities likewise suggest that the disorder is most often immutable and resistant to change. Theory also predicts (Post, Weiss, & George, 1994) that neurobiological scars of psychic trauma create irreversible changes in the brain structure. PTSD symptoms, therefore, may reflect different underlying processes at different stages of the disorder. Future research should focus on the ways in which stress responses are indelibly transformed and become a permanently disabling disorder (Page 95).

Bill as you know Saint Alphonsus professionals were the first to diagnose me with symptoms of PTSD and the possibly accompanying "lasting alterations in the endocrine, autonomic, and central nervous systems," "complex changes in the… brain structures," "permanently disabling," "irreversible changes," and a "permanently altered psyche." Why would any responsible employer knowingly allow an employee to be subjected to this kind of threat, as St. Alphonsus did to me? (Continued)

Leonard Nolt said...

Bill, I requested a conflict resolution process when I first reported the problem to Dwello because patient care was being compromised by Linch's refusal to communicate with me about work. The problem urgently needed prompt resolution. The other solution was to try to get Linch terminated for jeopardizing the patients. I wasn't being vindictive. Now you make it sound as if I should have been.

Your comment made it sound as if there is now a plan in place for mediation, which raises the question; If it wasn't necessary then, why is it necessary now? I was told by other employees that they received mediation from Wedman's office to resolve disputes with coworkers, so I assumed that was available. Only one person said the mediation she received actually worked, so perhaps it was very low quality or unprofessional.

I asked for things in writing to keep everything "regular" and professional. I would attend a meeting with Dwello or Wedman and later they would claim that we agreed on something at the meeting, I had no recollection of ever agreeing to.

At the end of the first meeting with Wedman he made the following comment: "Now we'll meet with Rhoda and get some answers to your questions." But I never received any answers to my questions. They denied me information about this conflict from her perspective which made it impossible for me to find out what her complaints really were and what I could do about it. Maybe she refused to tell them too, but if so, I should have been informed of that. Why? Because I was the only one who was being seriously injured and having my career and job threatened.

At one point Dwello claimed that he and I had arrived at an agreement solving the problem. I was shocked. I didn't know that we had any agreement. Of course the only criteria determining whether or not the problem had been solved would have been a change in Linch's behavior toward me, and that never happened. The last month we worked together in August, 2006, whenever our paths crossed, she was just as hateful and rude to me as before. But if this so called agreement Dwello claimed we had, had been put in writing, then there would have been no question about what was decided. Putting things in writing is necessary so we know what was and was not communicated.

Leonard Nolt said...


Tim Field in "Bully in SIght" on page 248 writes:
"Get Everything in Writing"
"Keep writing asking for justification, clarification, etc; everything the bully writes - or declines to write - can later be used to identify intent and may be used in evidence. The action of writing also helps to maintain a feeling of usefulness and purpose - which feeds back into self-worth and self-esteem."
"If criticized, insist that the bully be specific, then ask for it in writing - if what was said doesn't match what is written, record this discrepancy in your journal. Make a note if the bully refuses to put anything in writing. It is unfortunate to have to go to these lengths, but it is the bully who has chosen to behave in a manner that necessitates you taking this action now." As you may have figured out by now Bill, the word "bully" in the previous two quoted paragraphs includes management as well as Linch since management supported and joined Linch in bullying me.

Field goes on for several more pages emphasizing the need to record everything in writing. On Page 252 he writes; "Put your complaint in writing."

Keeping minutes of meetings is the normal way that businesses record what has happened in meetings and what decisions are made. It seems quite irregular and suspicious when members of management refuse to put things in writing.

It seems clear to me that there are a couple reasons why management did not want anything in writing. If it was in writing then management could not later deny what was said or decided. Wedman parroted Linch's false accusations back to me word for word but his refusal to put them in writing and sign his name to them indicated that he didn't actually believe them either. His retaliation against me for reporting the problem and his threats to terminate me if I talked about it to dept. coworkers, or if I reported any more problems with Linch to him or Dwello, indicated that Wedman didn't care about patient care or an employee being injured; he just wanted me to quit reporting it so he didn't have to deal with it.

And keep in mind that all this time I was being injured and driven out of the workplace by a bully, management knew it was happening while it was happening and did nothing about it. In fact management made the problem much worst by joining in the bulling against me that was started by Linch.

Of course the other reason why management refused to put this in writing is found in Tom Devine's book, "The Whistleblowers's Survival Guide," in the chapter, "What to Expect: Classic Responses to Whistleblowing" where one way of retaliating against a whistleblower is to "Prevent the Development of a Written Record." On this topic Devine writes, "When a policy is indefensible, the goal is to restrict debate to an oral dialogue. This can be enforced through peer pressure, over-scheduling to ensure there is not time to construct a written record, or even a gag order if necessary. Managers recognize that it is difficult to be accused of revising an oral history, and verbal agreements diffuse accountability in the event of a serious problem" (Page 45).

On the other hand, even though Dr. Estess was fired for falsifying my medical record, as you pointed out; nothing was done to have that record declared invalid, or to correct my equally falsified personnel record. So even though management at St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health refuse to put in writing important decisions made concerning a safety issue in the workplace; they are completely comfortable and content with having falsified medical and personnel records in their possession. WHY is that, Bill? (continued)

Leonard Nolt said...

Bill, you wrote: "Dwello and Wedman both told you, this conflict was personal one. That you were trying to renew or continue a friendship with someone who no longer wanted to be friends with you." I already responded to that claim, Bill on pages 21 and 22 of my report. You've been quite critical of that report, Bill. Perhaps you should read it.

Of course Wedman found out that that "this conflict was a personal one." That's what he conducted the investigation to find out! By selecting that conclusion he conveniently excused senior management from being responsible for having a bullying and dangerous workplace environment. He excused himself from having to undertake addressing a problem that he was not trained to address, had no skills at addressing, and did not want to hear about again.

If you're conducting an investigation to find out what's happening to a person in the workplace, do you ask that person - or do you ask people that it's not happening to? Who is the chief authority when it comes to experiencing bullying in the workplace? Is it the bully or is it bystanders who do nothing to stop the bullying, or is it the target of the bullying? To draw an analogy, (the same one frequently used in the literature on workplace bullying) in a rape situation, who is best qualified to accurately report what happened? Is it the rapist, witnesses who didn't care enough to intervene or call 911, or is it the rape victim?

A person who hasn't been the target of a workplace bully isn't qualified to say what it's like to be bullied in the workplace. If a researcher or reporter wants to find out what it's like to ride in the space shuttle, is he going to interview me, or is he going to interview someone who actually rode on the space shuttle?

You try to claim that this "was small conflict and no issue, but you kept making this issue so large. You made it up all in your head, all these theories, etc." What theories are you talking about, Bill? There weren't any theories, only information about the bullying? And if this was such a small issue, why was management unable to do anything about it? Why was I seriously injured and diagnosed by St. Alphonsus with a permanent injury; symptoms of PTSD? Why did it go on for nearly three years and why was I forced to leave? Also why, if this is such a small issue, do Wyatt and Hare in "Work Abuse" write that anyone subjected to bullying in the workplace experiences it as "a life-threatening event?' Since when are life-threatening events, "small issues?" Another important question to ask is, why does management at St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health refuse to be honest about this problem, refuse to tell the truth, and refuse to be accountable for the harm they did and doing to people in their employment?

Leonard Nolt said...

Human Resource's investigations had nothing to do with resolving the problem, protecting an injured employee, or protecting patients. It was all about excusing management from being responsible, and generating information that could be used to blame me for the problem. Wedman made it clear that he was responsible for preventing lawsuits. Linch has threatened a lawsuit and was a short-term, uncommitted employee.

I, on the other hand, was a long term employee with an unquestionable commitment to St. Alphonsus, and I had not threatened a lawsuit. Since Wedman had a vested interest in finding information to support the one who threatened a lawsuit, he was not qualified to conduct an investigation. For him to conduct a investigation was a major ethical violation.

Another major ethical violation was HR communicating with the EAP counselor and the psychologist, (as you admitted) interfering with the treatment I was seeking. But that's really not surprising since "Institutionalize conflict of interest" is one of the methods that corporations use to retaliate against whistleblowers as documented in The Whistleblower's Survival Guide" by Tom Divine.

Your suggestion that I either imagined or exaggerated the problem is false. In fact the opposite is true. I waited over three months before I first reported the problem to management. How can that be an exaggerated response? Before reporting it to Kelly, I went the EAP counselor. When I finally had to report it to Kelly I watered down the details of Linch's hateful and dangerous behavior, simply telling him that Linch and I were having a communication problem. I believed that if I gave him the details of her behavior she would be fired on the spot and I wasn't trying to get her fired. I was simply trying to get the problem solved.

Linch refused to participate in any resolution process. Kelly, to my ongoing shock and surprise, refused to do anything about the bullying. I fully expected that when I returned to see Kelly the second time it would be simply to get the time, date, and location of the scheduled and desperately needed resolution process. I couldn't believe that he wouldn't do anything about it, simply because Linch "didn't think it was necessary."

But that initiated and established the pattern. Linch, the toxic, volatile, short-term uncommitted employee who was consistently injuring a coworker and jeopardizing patient care, got everything she asked for from management including permission and encouragement to continue her bullying; whereas the bully's target, with more than a quarter of a century of consistent high-quality work at St. Alphonsus and a self-sacrificial commitment to resolving the problem, was not listened to, nor believed and received no help whatsoever from any level of management, even though he was being seriously injured on the job by the bully.

Of course Linch didn't think it was necessary. That was completely predictable. Bullies in the workplace never intentionally do anything that might resolve the problem and put a stop to their bullying. Then they would have to find another target and start over. You know this is true if you've read about workplace bullying.

If a resolution process in April, 2004 wasn't necessary Bill, then why are we still talking about it ten years later, and why do I still have to cope with the symptoms of PTSD? Perhaps an even more important question is the following: Why do you, Bill, ten years later, still think you have to defend Trinity Health indefensible policy of ignoring and encouraging bullies, of allowing employees to be injured in the workplace, and of denying proven and recorded history of what happened at St. Alphonsus?

Bill said...

I refuse to answer your questions Leonard. I will simple say that most of your accusations and theories are without Merit. Find a new hobby and let this go.

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

Bill, you wrote, "You kept at it as if know (no) one was doing anything." That's correct, Bill. If someone was doing something, then why was there never any end to Linch's bullying? Why did I have to leave St. Als to get away from being repeatedly bullied and injured? Why did management at Saint Alphonsus NEVER offer me any protection from additional bullying and NEVER offer me any treatment for this on-the-job injury?

I told Susan Gibson that I thought the problem could be solved if management would simply enforce the existing Customer Service Standards, which they should have been doing without being asked or reminded. But it never happened. The bullying actually got worse. As I wrote before, the only criteria determining if anything had been done about the problem would have been a change in Linch's behavior toward me.

You also wrote that there was no need for the "whole hospital administration to look into your little squabble with a female co-worker. " Although it wasn't a "little squabble," but an act of violence (as any text on bullying will confirm), I couldn't agree more. If the respiratory care department manager had listened to me and taken the problem seriously; if his first priorities had been patient care and the health and safety of customers, then no one beyond the dept. manager would have heard about the bullying.

But it was and is my impression that he did not know what to do about it. At one point, after I again reported the bullying, he emphatically told me "I need help with this." It's my impression that he was hired for his ability to make money for the medical center, not because he was trained and skilled at resolving problems which might occur within a department. I understand that making money is important, but not at the expense of the health and safety of employees and patients.

The HR manager, Wedman, told Paula Brown, the Employee Assistance Program counselor, to tell me that, "she (Linch) doesn't have to be nice to you." However the Customer Service Standards state "treat each person the way you want to be treated." I can assure you, Bill, that is at least "nice" and for most people probably "very nice" would be more accurate. So the HR Dept. was supporting and encouraging an employee to violate the Customer Service Standards. Why? I responded to Brown's comment of what HR said by saying, "That's not what the Customer Service Standards say," and she appeared to be somewhat stunned and had no response.

Leonard Nolt said...

I did not make the problem bigger than it was, Bill. In fact I did the opposite. I waited over three months before I reported the problem, thinking Linch would soon quit misbehaving like that. I tried to speak with her about it numerous times but, as I've written many times before, she refused to communicate with me. I tried to resolve the problem in a non-vindictive manner by requesting a mediated conflict resolution process. As you know she refused to participate. I offered to participate in any kind of resolution process but Linch (in writing) refused to participate and refused to discontinue her bullying.

I even offered to discontinue supervising and change shifts if that would resolve the problem, which, according to Dwello, would have resulted in at least a 10% pay cut for me. I was totally committed to Saint Alphonsus and to resolving the problem and very self-sacrificial in the process. How many employees would have been willing to make that kind of sacrifice for Saint Alphonsus?

On the other hand, management refused to enforce their own standards, refused to listen to, or care about a long-term, high-productive employee who was being injured on the job by a short-term co-worker. Management also did not display any commitment to patient care.

Bill, you used the term "...told you..." in your most recent comments. That's part of the problem with management, Bill. They refused to listen and tried to tell me what was going on when they didn't know what they were talking about. Susan Gibson confirmed that when I met with her in 2008. She thanked me for the large amount of information about bullying that came from me and indicated that management at St. Alphonsus was not aware of the bullying problem at St. Als and in healthcare generally.

If managers listen to their employees they might learn something. When I went first to report the problem to Dwello I did it with more than 35 years of healthcare experience under my belt, probably more than twice that of Linch and Dwello combined. But I felt that I was not listened to. Then the problem got significantly worst when I tried to report it to Wedman, who refused to listen to me, tried to silence me, and threatened me when I continued to remind him of the bullying and the PTSD injury, and request help from him. I attended an awards ceremony for long term employees. The HR manager was handing out envelopes with certificates to the employees. I still very vividly remember how he sneered at me as he handed me my envelope.

It's my distinct impression that HR was intentionally malicious in his response toward me. That impression was reinforced and confirmed repeatedly by his refusal to listen, broken promises, manipulated investigations, dishonesty, threats of termination, orders to lie, no accountability, and total lack of empathy or concern for an injured employee. It's also confirmed by his retaliation which is ongoing.

That, Bill, is inexcusable behavior coming from any business or corporation, but especially from a health care company.