Archive for February, 2015

Safe Work Environment Act Report: “Mobbing” Spells Emotional Abuse

February 27, 2015

There will be no Community Party Hartford News column this week, due to a Hartford Arts and Heritage special edition of the paper. Next week’s column will feature a Policy Watch analysis of Gov. Dannel Malloy’s proposed budget.

Workers need REAL protection against workplace bullying. The Community Party’s Safe Work Environment Act provides more protection than the Healthy Workplace Bill (also introduced during the 2015 legislative session), while eliminating legal barriers workers face when they file a lawsuit against their employer. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/real-protection-against-workplace-bullying-safe-work-environment-act/ Sen. Gary Winfield’s workplace bullying bill includes CP’s Safe Work Environment Act advisory board amendment. http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/CGABillStatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=SB432

In the coming months we’ll continue to provide information on the psychological and legal aspects of workplace bullying. Employees must educate themselves about the law in order to empower themselves. A study found that 15% of total adult suicides in the U.S. are related to abusive workplace conduct, which the Department of Health and Human Services says is the equivalent of domestic violence. http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/hhs-workplace-bullying-domestic-violence_764508.html

This week we’ll share information on workplace mobbing which appears on Gail Pursell-Elliott’s Innovations website. Pursell-Elliott is a national expert on mobbing/bullying in schools and workplaces.
http://www.innovations-training.com/Home_Page.html

“Mobbing” spells emotional abuse

by Mary O. Bradley, Sunday Patriot-News, August 22,1999, Harrisburg, PA

One of the most vicious subcultures of collective humanity is a mob.

Whether pursuing the hapless Frankenstein creature, lynching a gunslinger in the Old West or rioting at the gates of a sold-out rock concert, the human mob takes on horrifying dimensions. Single-focused, whipped to a frenzy by a puffed-up martinet and unfettered by normal restraints of morality, the mob is merciless in its assault.

When mob mentality sinks its claws into a colleague or supervisor in the workplace, the results can be terrifying, especially when the demoralized victim internalizes that a fault of his justified the attack.

The collective assault in the office, on the assembly line or on the board room is known as mobbing, according to Gail Pursell Elliott, co-author of a new book titled “Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace.”

“People are aware of it, but they never had a name for it,” said Elliott, a human-resources and training consultant in Roland, Iowa. “When we speak to people, they know immediately what we are talking about. One person called it ‘barnyard mentality’, similar to chicken pecking.

Mobbing is defined as a concerted effort by co-workers, subordinates or superiors to force someone out of the workplace through rumor, innuendo, intimidation, discrediting, isolation or humiliation. It is a form of nonsexual, nonracial harassment.

It is a psychological form of bullying without the in-your-face confrontation or physical assault of the macho combatant. The assailant attacks with an iron fist encased in a velvet glove.

Managers and supervisors often are targeted by subordinates or peers. Most disconcerting of all is that “some companies condone this to get rid of someone”, said Elliott, a former Cumberland County resident and graduate of Cumberland Valley High School.

German industrial psychologist Dr. Heinz Leymann, who died in January, identified and studied the syndrome in Europe, Japan and Australia for two decades, but the behavior is only now being quantified in the United States, according to Elliott.

The book by Elliott, Dr. Noa Davenport of Colins, Iowa, and Ruth Distler Schwartz of Des Moines, Iowa, is considered the first published book examining the incidence of mobbing in the United States.

Davenport, of Swiss origin, is a cultural anthropologist who has worked internationally in research and administration, in government and nonprofit organizations and in higher education and business. She is an adjunct assistant professor at Iowa State University and principal of DNZ Consulting & Associates, a company that focuses on conflict management education.

Schwartz is president of R.A. Schwartz & Associates, a national consulting and marketing firm. She has held management positions in nonprofit organizations, higher education and the health-care industry.

A nationally certified trainer in communications and behavior management, Elliott has more than 20 years of experience in administration, training and motivation. The name of her business is “Innovations: Training with a Can-Do Attitude”

The 214-page book is filled with examples of mobbing victims who have been systematically professionally and emotionally starved out of their jobs. The victims were interviewed by the authors.

They were victims of a new manager who wanted his own people on the management team. They were employees who were taken out if the loop on projects and left with nothing to do. They were the victims of lies and innuendoes spread by colleagues standing at the water cooler.

Some of the victims tried to tough it out. Others took a different job in the organization. Others resigned.

One interviewee was no longer working in any job. The person was “permanently disabled and unable to re-enter the work force” after a traumatizing incident 15 years previously, Elliott said.

In a worst-case scenario, the victim may be so emotionally scarred that he is driven to suicide. Heinz Leymann, who lived and worked in Sweden,. estimated that 15 percent of the suicides in Sweden were attributed to workplace mobbing.

“Mobbing is very inhuman behavior,” Elliott said in a telephone interview. “It has a devastating effect on people, organizations and families”.

Sadly, the mob conspirators either wear blinders or justify their actions, believing that the victim wasn’t fit for the job. In some Swedish studies, Elliott said, people who mobbed the person had “no idea their actions had such an effect.”

The authors include chapters on how mobbing affects the victim and what victims can do to cope, as well as the effects of mobbing on corporate America.

Despite the weighty subject, the book is approachable and readable. “Anybody can pick it up,” Elliott said. It is a wake-up notice to employees and managers and a self-help book for victims and families.”

“I believe everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect, ” Elliott said. Too often today employees are treated as “objects and opportunities, rather than people with wants, needs and desires.”

Have You Ever Heard of Mobbing?
©2000 Gail Pursell Elliott

The topic of workplace bullies has become more of an issue over the past several years. Workplace violence, people going ‘postal’, etc., has become more prevalent. When one or more people create a group to engage in bullying behavior towards another person, the term used is ‘mobbing’.

Mobbing is a ‘ganging up’ on someone to force the person out through the use of rumor, innuendo, discrediting, humiliation, isolation, and intimidation. It is a group bullying process that occurs repeatedly over a period of weeks, months, or even years. The mobber(s) portray the victim as the person at fault. This is one of the nastier forms of emotional abuse and the impact on the individual can be devastating. As a result of the experience, many victims of mobbing suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, disabling physical illnesses, mental and emotional problems, experience the dissolution of their closest personal relationships, and some even have committed suicide. In fact, the Swedish research revealed that about 15% of all suicides in that country were a direct result of mobbing in the workplace.

Mobbing has been researched in Scandinavian countries and in Europe since the early 1980’s. Books have been written on the subject. Legislation and occupational safety statutes have been passed in Sweden and are proposed in other countries. Mobbing is a household word in German speaking countries. A major movement against mobbing behavior began in the United Kingdom in 1994.

This term may be new to you, but the behavior is one that you will recognize quickly. It is possible that this has happened to you, to someone you care about, or within your own company. It’s a recurring theme in literature.

Risk Management Issue

Mobbing is a serious behavioral risk management issue for organizations. It results in high turnover, low morale, increased absenteeism, decreased productivity, loss of key individuals. It undermines teamwork, trust, and a sense of shared vision.

In 1994, an article in the EAP’s national publication talked about corporate behavioral risk management as a growing concern. The author described an incident in which the CEO of an east coast company asked for an internal behavioral risk management assessment. The company was experiencing low morale, high turnover, and there had been two suicides on the Vice Presidency level.

Scott H. Peters, Esq. of The Peters Law Firm. P.C., Iowa, has described mobbing as a “widespread, vicious, workplace tort.” Mr. Peters also recommends that “plaintiff counsel should familiarize themselves with this issue as clients will surely become aware of their rights as the decade progresses. Corporate and defense counsel will need to be prepared to advise management and HR leadership as they seek to incorporate mobbing policies into corporate documents.”

Once mobbing begins in an organization, it can occur repeatedly and can spring up in more than one area. It’s tough to stop unless it’s recognized and intercepted in the early stages. The fact that mobbing may be instigated from higher management levels, thus ignored or even condoned, is another crucial issue. Some human resources people have been ‘ordered’ or directed to support a mobbing process when the mobber is on a higher level of the organization.

Many ethical human resources professionals don’t become aware of a mobbing situation until it is well underway. It can be both frustrating and confusing. Most have seen this happen at least once in their careers but never had a name to put to it, nor did they see that it was a syndrome with a specific pattern. When these are presented, most have said that the ‘players’ in the roles become obvious.

Content copyright 2012 – 2014. INNOVATIONS-TRAINING.COM All rights reserved.

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Policy Watch/ Innovative Manchester Snow Removal Ordinance/Know Your Rights

February 20, 2015

Policy Watch: Gov. Malloy’s Budget Address

This column appears in the February 19 – 26 edition of the Hartford News… The next Community Party column will include a Policy Watch analysis of Gov. Dan Malloy’s budget address, which Malloy delivered to the General Assembly on Wednesday. Malloy threw stones from a big glass house during his WFSB Face the State interview last Sunday, as he bashed Texas for their high poverty rate. A U.S. Census report found that poverty continues to rise right here. http://www.ctvoices.org/publications/poverty-income-and-health-insurance-connecticut-cities-and-towns-summary-2011-2013-data Malloy has not mentioned the word poverty once during his annual State of the State address since he has been in office.

Connecticut Business and Industry Association CEO and President Joe Brennan talked about Malloy’s budget plan last Sunday on Fox CT’s The Real Story. Predictably, Brennan lobbied for tax cuts for businesses and privatization of state services (I’m a state employee). As we discussed last week, Connecticut Voices for Children has drafted policy plans aimed at closing the massive corporate tax loopholes that deprive Connecticut of hundreds of millions of dollars in much needed revenue. Malloy has blamed the state’s budget woes on a lack of incoming cash. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/police-body-camera-factspolicy-watchsafe-work-environment-act-report/

Brennan talked out of both sides of his mouth, denouncing budget cuts to state services while talking about the need for state agencies to “do more with less”. That’s coded corporatist language for these agencies outsourcing services to private entities, who will pay workers less money while providing inferior quality. Brennan said that economic policy should benefit both businesses and labor. In that case the CBIA should support a publicly owned bank. Rep. Susan Johnson has introduced a public bank study bill. A public hearing on Rep. Johnson’s proposed legislation was scheduled for Thursday. A publicly owned bank would help small businesses by facilitating principled lending, which boosts local economies.

http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/new-livelihoods/how-state-banks-bring-the-money-home Follow CP’s A Public Bank for Connecticut

Facebook page for updates on Rep. Johnson’s bill. https://www.facebook.com/PublicBankCT

Snow Removal

My colleague Mary Sanders recently posted a Facebook photo of her car buried in snow in the parking lot of her Hartford apartment building, days after one of the recent winter storms that have battered the city. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152938200298889&set=p.10152938200298889&type=1&theater The lack of enforcement of the housing laws in this state results in an additional set of problems for tenants in the winter months, who find their mobility impacted by landlords who do not fulfill their snow removal obligations. The Town of Manchester responded to this housing and public safety issue by passing an innovative ordinance. If landlords do not clear snow on their property in a timely fashion, tenants can call the town office and request snow removal services. The town then charges the delinquent landlord by placing a snow removal lien on the property. (see below)

NOTICE OF MUNICIPAL LIEN
Property Address:
Owner of Record/Volume and Page:
Amount of Lien:
Date of Services:
Notice is hereby given by the Town of Manchester that pursuant to the Town of
Manchester Code of Ordinances, Chapter 279, Article III, Section 297-21, a lien is placed on the
above-referenced property in the name of the owner of record to reimburse the Town of
Manchester for expenses incurred for the removal of snow and ice from the public sidewalk
abutting the property as a result of the property owner’s failure to comply with Section 279-19 of
the ordinance.
Dated this _____ day of February, 2015 at Manchester, Connecticut.
_________________________________ Scott Shanley General Manager

Last Friday I spoke with Manchester Town Clerk Joe Camposeo, who told me that he had received an astounding 35 snow removal requests from tenants the previous day. This ordinance is an effective strategy for providing tenants with an essential service, while at the same time holding landlords accountable. The Hartford City Council should follow Manchester’s lead and pass this amendment.

Know Your Rights with Police

The Flex Your Rights website (http://www.flexyourrights.org/) provides information on how to handle encounters with the police. This week we’ll share the Flex Your Rights tutorial on the legal definition of probable cause. Stay tuned for updates on the city council’s police body cameras proposal and CP’s Trayvon Martin Act. Rep. Matt Ritter’s racial profiling bill, HB 5437 An Act Concerning The Requirements Of The Alvin W. Penn Racial Profiling Prohibition Act (http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&which_year=2015&bill_num=5437),
includes CP’s Trayvon Martin Act traffic stop receipt amendment. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/community-party-trayvon-martin-act-bill-language/

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What is Probable Cause?

Probable cause is the legal standard by which a police officer has the right to make an arrest, conduct a personal or property search, or obtain a warrant for arrest. While many factors contribute to a police officer’s level of authority in a given situation, probable cause requires facts or evidence that would lead a reasonable person to believe that a suspect has committed a crime.

Common examples of probable cause include the sight or smell of contraband in plain view or plain smell, or an admission of guilt for a specific crime. The presentation of any of these facts would allow an officer to perform a search and make an arrest.

Be aware that minor traffic violations (e.g. speeding, broken tail-light, or expired registration) are notconsidered probable cause.

What probable cause means to you

While there are certain situations where police need a warrant to search you or your property — during a traffic stop, police only need probable cause to legally search your vehicle.The major exception to the probable cause requirement for vehicle searches is consent. Most vehicle searches don’t occur because police have probable cause. They occur because people get tricked or intimidated into consenting to search requests.

Consenting to a search request automatically makes the search legal in the eyes of the law. And the 4th Amendment doesn’t require officers to tell you about your right to refuse. So if you’re pulled over, don’t try to figure out whether or not the officer has probable cause to legally search you. You always have the right to refuse search requests by stating, “Officer, I don’t consent to any searches.” Repeat, if necessary.

If you refuse consent but the officer searches you anyway and finds illegal items, your lawyer can file a motion to suppress — or throw out — the evidence in court. If the judge agrees that the officer’s search violated the 4th Amendment’s probable cause requirements, she’ll grant the motion. Unless the prosecution has other evidence, your charges would be dismissed.

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Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and global headlines and updates on the status of our Trayvon Martin and Safe Work Environment Acts, including action alerts. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives. https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/) for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s for selected columns (http://www.northendagents.com/) . Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com

David Samuels

Founder

Community Party

Innovative Manchester Snow Removal Ordinance

February 16, 2015

Text of Manchester snow removal ordinance which allows tenants to request snow removal service, if landlords do not clear the snow from their property in a timely fashion. We’ll talk more about the ordinance in the next Community Party Hartford News column.

AMENDMENT TO ORDINANCE

BE IT ORDAINED by the Board of Directors of the Town of Manchester that Chapter

279, Article III, of the Code of Ordinances, Snow and Ice Removal from Sidewalks, is hereby

amended by revising Sections 279-19 through 279-23 as follows:

Snow and Ice Removal From Sidewalks

§ 279-19 Duty of abutters to abate snow and ice hazards.

A. The owner, agent of the owner, or occupant of any building or land bordering upon any

street, square or public place, within the Town where there is a sidewalk, concrete or

paved, or a fire hydrant, shall cause to be removed therefrom any and all snow, sleet and

ice within 24 hours after the same shall have fallen; and whenever any such sidewalk or

any part thereof shall be covered with ice, the owner, agent or occupant of the building or

land adjacent thereof shall, within the space of 12 hours thereafter cause such walk to be

made safe and convenient by removing the ice therefrom, or by covering the same with

sand or some other suitable substance.

B. Sidewalks shall be cleared and sanded to pedestrian push-button signals, through snow

windrows at intersecting streets, crosswalks, sidewalk ramps and bus stops so that

pedestrians have unimpeded access to pedestrian push-button signals and have walking

space to cross at intersecting streets, crosswalks, sidewalk ramps and bus stops.

C. Fire hydrants shall be cleared of snow and ice so as to create a four-foot clearance in all

directions, and a three-foot-wide path should be cleared from the fire hydrant to the

street, square or public place so that Fire Department personnel shall have unimpeded

access to the fire hydrant.

D. No person shall lay, throw, blow, place or plow on or into any public sidewalk, public

street or public right of way any snow or ice from any private property, public or private

sidewalk or public right of way in a manner which jeopardizes public safety or impedes

pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

E. The owner, agent or occupant of any building or lot of land, whose duty it is to clear the

sidewalk or fire hydrant adjacent thereto, who shall violate any of the provisions of the

foregoing subsections, or refuse or neglect to comply with the same, shall be deemed

guilty of an infraction and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined $75 per offense. Each

24 hour period shall be deemed to constitute a separate offense.

§ 279-20 Agreements imposing responsibility on occupants.

Should the owner or agent of the owner of any building or land be able to verify with written

documentation that the occupant of the building or land is responsible for the removal of snow

and ice, then the occupant will be deemed liable for violations under this ordinance.

§ 279-21 Removal of snow and ice by Town. Lien.

A. In the event of the failure of the owner, agent of the owner or the occupant of any

building or land to comply with the provisions of Section 279-19 above, and in addition

to the penalty provided in Section 279-19 E. above, the owner of the building or land

shall be responsible for any expense incurred by the Town in removing snow, sleet and

ice from such public sidewalk so as to maintain the public sidewalk safe and convenient

for public travel. Any expense incurred by the Town shall constitute a claim against the

owner of the building or land adjacent to such public sidewalk and shall, upon the

recording of a certificate of lien in the Town Clerk’s office, as provided by statute, be a

lien upon the premises adjoining such public sidewalk in favor of the Town.

B. The removal of snow, sleet or ice by the Town in accordance with paragraph A. above

may occur under either of the following circumstances:

1. When the building or land is vacant, unoccupied or uninhabited and the timely

removal of snow, sleet or ice jeopardizes public safety; or

2. After the issuance of two or more citations for violations of Section 279-19.

§ 279-22 Liability of corporate officers for violations.

Whenever a private corporation shall violate the provisions of this article, any officers and/or

directors of such corporation shall be personally liable for any fine imposed.

§ 279-23 Youth Corps for snow and ice removal.

The Youth Commission is hereby requested to work with Town staff and the Manchester school

system to develop a Youth Corps consisting of volunteers to assist eligible owners and occupants

of residential properties in complying with the provisions of Section 279-19.

Adopted: October 7, 2014

Action No.: 328-14

NOTICE OF MUNICIPAL LIEN
Property Address:
Owner of Record/Volume and Page:
Amount of Lien:
Date of Services:
Notice is hereby given by the Town of Manchester that pursuant to the Town of
Manchester Code of Ordinances, Chapter 279, Article III, Section 297-21, a lien is placed on the
above-referenced property in the name of the owner of record to reimburse the Town of
Manchester for expenses incurred for the removal of snow and ice from the public sidewalk
abutting the property as a result of the property owner’s failure to comply with Section 279-19 of
the ordinance.
Dated this _____ day of February, 2015 at Manchester, Connecticut.
_________________________________ Scott Shanley General Manager

Police Body Camera Facts/Policy Watch/Safe Work Environment Act Report

February 12, 2015

This column appears in the February 12 – 19 edition of the Hartford News…

Trayvon Martin Act Update

During the Hartford City Council meeting Tuesday night on purchasing body cameras for Hartford Police officers, HPD apologist Hyacinth Yennie spoke against the plan. Facts trump Yennie’s tired rhetoric. Every 28 hours a Black person in the U.S. is killed by police, security guards and vigilantes. https://mxgm.org/we-charge-genocide-again-new-curriculum-on-every-28-hours-report/ Last week Philadelphia station WPIV TV reported surveillance video revealed that two city officers lied about their brutal attack on a Latino man. The officers now face criminal charges and will be fired. http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/02/philadelphia-cops-will-face-charges-after-surveillance-video-shows-they-lied-about-brutal-attack/

A study by Cambridge University found that the use of body cameras reduced police use of force by 59% and citizen complaints against police officers by 88%. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unKwsam7vIc Body cameras are just a start, however. NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo was caught on video using an illegal chokehold on Eric Garner, yet he is a free man today and Eric is dead. The rigged grand jury process that protects killer cops must be dismantled. Stay tuned for updates on the city council body cameras proposal and the Community Party’s Trayvon Martin Act. Rep. Matt Ritter’s racial profiling bill includes CP’s Trayvon Martin Act traffic stop receipt amendment. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/community-party-trayvon-martin-act-bill-language/

Snow Removal

Tuesday we received additional reports of poor snow removal on South Whitney Street in the West End of Hartford following Monday’s winter storm. Evelyn Richardson is directing folks to call Jalmar Dedios at Mayor Pedro Segarra’s office (860-757-9500) if you have a complaint about snow removal on your street.

Policy Watch

Last week Gov. Dan Malloy announced a criminal justice reform initiative. Mark Pazniokas of the Connecticut Mirror reported on the details of Malloy’s urban policy plan. “Malloy, a former prosecutor in New York and urban mayor in Connecticut, said he would seek the repeal of mandatory minimum sentences for simple drug possession, which are now primarily imposed on those arrested within 1,200 feet of schools, day cares or public housing — wide swaths of most cities. He also would ask the General Assembly to reclassify some non-violent offenses as misdemeanors, streamline the parole system and ease access to pardons that scrub criminal records and can remove barriers to employment.” Incredibly, Malloy excluded Black/Latino policy makers at the State Capitol from participating in the drafting of his initiative.

Malloy has chosen to introduce the most progressive legislation of his term with a de facto conservative majority in the House of Representatives. The Democrats hold an 87-64 edge in seats, but the 12 conservatives among the Democrats could give the Republicans a majority in votes on any issue. House Speaker Brendan Sharkey said that the Republicans gaining 10 seats in the House during the last election, coupled with the 12 right-leaning Democrats, would affect his party’s decisions on which bills they will or won’t support. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/01/15/2015-legislative-session-shook-ct-democrats-continue-to-move-toward-right/ The question that looms is why Malloy didn’t introduce this package in 2010, when the Democrats had total control of the General Assembly. Malloy appears to be following the lead of President Barack Obama, who announced his progressive legislative initiative to a Republican controlled Congress during his State of the Union address. The Democrats held the majority in the U.S. House and Senate during Obama’s first two years in office, yet he waited until now to introduce bills such as paid sick days for workers and subsidized community college education. In my opinion this is an attempt by two center-right Democrats to score brownie points with progressives.

Safe Work Environment Act Report

Workers need REAL protection against workplace bullying. The Community Party’s Safe Work Environment Act provides more protection than the Healthy Workplace Bill (also introduced during the 2015 legislative session), while eliminating legal barriers workers face when they file a lawsuit against their employer. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/real-protection-against-workplace-bullying-safe-work-environment-act/ Sen. Gary Winfield’s workplace bullying bill includes CP’s Safe Work Environment Act advisory board amendment. http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/CGABillStatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=SB432

In the coming months we’ll provide information on the legal aspects of workplace bullying. Employees must educate themselves about the law in order to empower themselves. A study found that 15% of total adult suicides in the U.S. are related to abusive workplace conduct, which the Department of Health and Human Services says is the equivalent of domestic violence. http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/hhs-workplace-bullying-domestic-violence_764508.html This week we’ll share an article from http://www.nolo.com/ on what workers can do when they face retaliation from their employer.

*****

Workplace Retaliation: What Are Your Rights?

Learn about workplace retaliation — and what to do if it happens to you.

Most people know that laws exist to protect employees from discrimination and harassment. However, many don’t know these laws also protect employees from retaliation. That means employers cannot punish employees for making discrimination or harassment complaints or participating in workplace investigations. And punishment doesn’t just mean firing or demotion: It can include other negative employment actions, from being denied a raise or transfer to a more desirable position to missing out on training or mentoring opportunities.

What Is Retaliation?

Retaliation occurs when an employer punishes an employee for engaging in legally protected activity. Retaliation can include any negative job action, such as demotion, discipline, firing, salary reduction, or job or shift reassignment. But retaliation can also be more subtle.

Sometimes it’s clear that an employer’s action is negative — for instance, when an employee is fired. But sometimes it’s not. In those cases, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, you must consider the circumstances of the situation. For example, a change in job shift may not be objectionable to a lot of employees, but it could be very detrimental to a parent with young children and a less flexible schedule.

As long as the employer’s adverse action would deter a reasonable person in the situation from making a complaint, it constitutes illegal retaliation.

When Is Retaliation Prohibited?

Federal law protects employees from retaliation when employees complain — either internally or to an outside body like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) — about workplace discrimination or harassment. That’s true even if the claim turns out to be unfounded, as long as it was made in good faith.

The law also protects employees who cooperate in EEOC investigations or serve as witnesses in EEOC investigations or litigation. A recent Supreme Court case confirms that an employee’s participation as a witness in an internal investigation is protected, too. And various federal laws protect other types of “whistleblowers” too, such as those who complain of unsafe working conditions. (For more information, see Nolo’s article Assert Your Safety Rights Without Fear of Retaliation.)

In addition, some state laws prohibit employers from retaliating against employees.

How Do You Know if Your Employer is Retaliating Against You?

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell whether your employer is retaliating against you. For example, if you complain about your supervisor’s harassing conduct, his attitude and demeanor may change. But if the change means he acts more professionally towards you, that isn’t retaliation even if he isn’t as friendly as he once was. Only changes that have an adverse effect on your employment are retaliatory.

On the other hand, if something clearly negative happens shortly after you make a complaint — like firing or demotion — you’ll have good reason to be suspicious. And remember, not every retaliatory act is obvious or necessarily means your job is threatened. It may come in the form of an unexpected and unfair poor performance review, the boss micromanaging everything you do, or sudden exclusion from staff meetings on a project you’ve been working on.

What to Do if You Suspect Retaliation

If you suspect your employer is retaliating against you, first talk to your supervisor or a human resources representative about the reasons for these negative acts. It’s fair to ask specific questions. Your employer may have a perfectly reasonable explanation — you’ve been moved to the day shift because there’s an opening, and that’s what you’d said you always wanted, or your poor performance review may be based on documented problems you’d been told of previously.

If your employer can’t give you a legitimate explanation, voice your concern that you are being retaliated against. No doubt your employer will deny it — and in truth, employers can retaliate without realizing it. You should point out that the negative action took place only after you complained, and ask that it stop immediately.

If the employer isn’t willing to admit its wrongdoing or correct the problem, you may have to take your concerns to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or your state’s fair employment agency.

Building a Case of Retaliation

If you suspect retaliation and your employer won’t correct the problem, you will need to show a link between your complaint (or other behavior that you believe triggered the retaliation), and the employer’s retaliatory behavior. The more evidence you have in support of your claim, the better.

To do this, document the allegedly retaliatory behavior. Also, keep track of historical information prior to when you made your complaint. For example, if your boss claims your performance is poor after you make a complaint, be sure to dig up any email messages or other documents showing that your boss was pleased with your work performance before the complaint.

To learn more about retaliation and what you can do to fight it, get Your Rights in the Workplace, by Barbara Kate Repa (Nolo).

by: Lisa Guerin, J.D.

*****

Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and global headlines and updates on the status of our Trayvon Martin and Safe Work Environment Acts, including action alerts. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives. https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/) for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s for selected columns (http://www.northendagents.com/) . Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com

David Samuels

Founder

Community Party

Safe Work Environment Act Update

February 9, 2015

Sen. Gary Winfield’s workplace bullying bill will include the Community Party’s Safe Work Environment Act advisory board amendment. cga.ct.gov/asp/CGABillStatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=SB432 …
Check out this link for details on our bill language. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/real-protection-against-workplace-bullying-safe-work-environment-act/

Workplace bullying is a serious labor issue. A study found that 15% of total adult suicides in the U.S. are related to abusive workplace conduct, which the Department of Health and Human Services says is the equivalent of domestic violence. http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/hhs-workplace-bullying-domestic-violence_764508.html Separate Freedom of Information Act requests by the Community Party to Connecticut Valley Hospital and by Cornell Lewis to the Department of Children and Families revealed racist disparities in suspensions, terminations, promotions and wages. Adam Osmond analyzed the data provided by CVH and DCF.

The data also showed that Blacks and Latinos at CVH and DCF are steered into more dangerous positions, while being disproportionately excluded from clinical, supervisory and administrative posts. The Safe Work Environment Act would provide workers with more protection than the Healthy Workplace Bill (also introduced during the 2015 legislative session), while eliminating legal barriers that people currently face when they file a lawsuit against their employer. Our bill eliminates the HWB requirement that an employee must prove malice and intent by an employer, which is basically impossible. Our language would also remove the HWB stipulation that an employee must provide proof of damage to their physical/psychological health.

The federal employment discrimination law does not include either of the HWB provisions, which provide massive loopholes for abusive employers. We have included language from a Nevada workplace bullying bill, which eliminates the burden of having to prove workplace bullying based on race or gender discrimination. Employers currently use the so-called ‘jerk boss defense’ to get around discrimination lawsuits, claiming that a boss treats all workers poorly. The Nevada bill makes workplace bullying race/gender neutral. Employees will only have to prove that they are being subjected to a hostile work environment. We also want lawmakers to create a workplace bullying advisory board, which would solicit and implement input from public employees when they recommend future legislation. One bill will not stop workplace bullying, which is a constantly evolving issue. Legislation must evolve with it! The creation of a workplace bullying advisory board will ensure that this issue remains active at the State Capitol EVERY YEAR. Stay tuned!

David Samuels
Founder
Community Party

A Public Bank for CT/Segarra’s Snow Job /Policy Watch

February 5, 2015

Community Update

Last Sunday John Gale announced on Face the State that he was entering the 2015 Hartford mayoral race. Gale tooted his own horn and talked about himself in the third person, but like incumbent Pedro Segarra and challenger Luke Bronin, Gale somehow could not find the time to mention the city’s increasing poverty rate. http://www.ctvoices.org/publications/poverty-income-and-health-insurance-connecticut-cities-and-towns-summary-2011-2013-data This was not surprising at all. During my tenure as Vice President of the West End Civic Association, Gale was one of the WECA members who arrogantly rejected my demand that the organization actively support racial justice legislation. People of color should note that none of the three candidates have mentioned anything that remotely resembles an urban policy plan.

A Public Bank for Connecticut

Rep. Susan Johnson (D-Windham) is sponsoring a public bank study bill. http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&which_year=2015&bill_num=5973 Rep. Matt Ritter sponsored the Community Party’s public infrastructure bank bill in 2013. The Bank of North Dakota is the nation’s only publicly owned bank. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX8pcADnsEs BND generates an average of $30 million in revenue a year; during the last decade the bank has produced $300 million for the state’s General Fund. North Dakota uses this money to fund social services programs and infrastructure projects, at NO COST to taxpayers. BND also facilitates principled lending, which benefits small businesses and homeowners. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZdzVzAUBuI Stay tuned to CP’s A Public Bank for Connecticut Facebook page for news and information on the nationwide public bank movement, analysis of banking issues in communities of color and updates on Rep. Johnson’s bill.

https://www.facebook.com/PublicBankCT

Segarra’s Snow Job

Last Tuesday Segarra (in full reelection mode) bragged about the City of Hartford’s snow removal efforts following a winter storm that dropped about 12 inches of snow. Not so fast, pal. Fox CT aired a report the next day on the Hartford Police towing vehicles that were still parked in school lots following the expiration of the citywide parking ban at 8:00 pm the night before. South Whitney Street resident Chris Little was interviewed after his car was towed. Chris had a valid excuse for not moving his car: South Whitney Street had not been plowed more than 24 hours after the storm hit. Fox CT sent photos of the snow covered street to Segarra, who of course said that a crew was on the way. He then gave the lame excuse that South Whitney residents could have parked on another street after the parking ban was lifted.

I have been a West End resident for 16 years. Parking on the street in this neighborhood can be difficult when it’s 75 degrees and sunny; following a major snowstorm the task becomes even harder. Community resident Gary Ridley hit the nail on the head during a conversation on my Facebook page.

“Dave the response (from City Hall) bothers me. What if they had to park their car two blocks over from where they live and (it was) 20 degrees in the morning… How would they feel? They know it’s unfair.” Damn right. Activist Evelyn Richardson suggested that we call Segarra’s office and demand that Chris be reimbursed for the ticketing and towing of his vehicle. My call to Segarra’s spokesperson Maribel La Luz was not returned. Evelyn was told that if we could locate Chris, Segarra would “take care of it”. As of press time we have not been able to get in touch with him. If anyone has Chris’ contact info, tell him to email Evelyn at erichardson45@yahoo,com or me at samuelssloflo@aol.com or send either of us a message on Facebook. If Segarra really wanted to find Chris, he would have done so by now. The question remains as to why South Whitney Street was overlooked following the snowstorm. Segarra lives in the West End. It’s pretty hard to miss a street in your neighborhood that hasn’t been plowed. I submit that South Whitney was ignored because it’s in a low income community of color.

This week we’ll present the debut of CP’s Policy Watch series, which will include news and commentary on municipal, state and national public policy issues. We’ll analyze President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address and Gov. Dan Malloy’s budget cuts to social services.

Policy Watch

President Obama’s January 20 State of the Union address was consistent: the First Black President has not mentioned poverty nor Black/Latino unemployment since he has been in office. The address was notable for Obama announcing progressive initiatives that he knows damn well will die a quick death now that the Republicans hold the majority in the U.S. House and Senate. Black Agenda Report commentator Glen Ford gave his take on the Obama charade.

“Tuesday night, in his next-to-last State of the Union address, President Obama flashed the suckers a bag of tricks that has no chance of passing the Republican-controlled Congress, but will allow his apologists to claim that the genuine, more progressive Obama is revealing himself in his final two years in office. Of course, the final-years Obama could have accomplished his modest 2015 agenda, and much more, back in 2009 and 2010, when Democrats dominated both the House and the Senate and the Republicans were in despair and disarray. Which is precisely why Obama chose, instead, to put his party’s perishable congressional majorities at the service of bankers, Wall Street, private insurers and Big Pharma. Now that Democrats are the endangered species on Capitol Hill, Obama hangs a piñata of subsidized community college education, additional tax deductions for child care, seven days paid sick leave, higher capital gains taxes on the wealthy, and billions in fees on casino bankers.

On closer examination, his grab bag of bills and requests for legislation contains even less than advertised – a vapor-thin rhetorical veneer for a center-right presidency whose real accomplishment has been to re-inflate the Wall Street casino, flush the last vestiges of secure employment out of the economy, and put the imperial war machine back on the offensive.”

The Malloy administration reported a $121 million deficit earlier this month. A $1.3 billion hole looms for the next fiscal year. As usual Malloy took out his budget hatchet and again slashed funding to vital social services. The Connecticut Mirror reported on the damage.

“Almost $11 million was taken from various social service agencies. The largest cut was aimed at the Department of Developmental Services, which lost $8.4 million. And more than half those funds came from employment and other support programs for people with disabilities, or from voluntary services. A smaller cut of almost $60,000 targets a Department of Public Health program that pays for medical care of patients with tuberculosis. The department included it in a list of potential budget cuts submitted to Malloy’s budget office, but noted that reducing funding for the program ‘could result in less patients being treated and TB being spread to others in the community.’ ”

For years the nonprofit Connecticut Voices for Children has presented common sense budget solutions that have been ignored by Malloy and the General Assembly. Malloy has blamed a lack of revenue for the red ink hemorrhaging from the State Capitol. The following policy recommendations by CT Voices for Children would bring in much needed cash. The full menu of budget and tax publications is available on their website.

http://www.ctvoices.org/publications?issue=1

Our current revenue system falls short of generating the resources needed to maintain vital public structures such as education and healthcare. Connecticut has faced deficits from Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 through FY 2018. Our system is not only inadequate but also unfair: the richest 1% of residents pay half the proportion of income in state and local taxes that the poorest 20% do; meanwhile, Connecticut is one of only two states that make no adjustment in their income taxes for the cost of raising children.

Reforms to Connecticut’s state and local revenue system can make it more adequate, fair, and accountable by aiming to achieve the following goals:

Reduce Connecticut’s overreliance on the local property tax to fund public education, diminishing discrepancies among towns and offering property tax relief to residents and businesses.
•Increase the adequacy and reduce the regressivity of the state’s revenue system by counteracting the erosion of our tax base, avoiding regressive sales and property tax increases, and strengthening the state’s Rainy Day Fund to build a cushion of revenues to help weather the next downturn.
•Make Connecticut’s tax system more family friendly by creating a Child Tax Credit that accounts for the high cost of raising children and brings Connecticut in line with most states and the federal government with fairer tax treatment for families raising children.
•Continue posting additional years and categories of tax subsidy data on Connecticut’s new online database, allowing citizens, advocates, and the media to scrutinize how public dollars are put to use in supporting the state’s businesses.
•Refine the state’s new, biennial tax incidence analysis once it is released, ensuring that subsequent versions of the analysis are even more useful to reformers and policymakers.
• Mandatory combined reporting, which 22 other states already use, would catch much of the income that larger corporations shelter from taxation through avoidance schemes that smaller businesses typically cannot afford. Under one such scheme, called the “Las Vegas Loophole,” a corporation establishes a shell company in another state that does not tax corporate income, like Nevada. The shell company then charges the real company for payments that reduce its Connecticut profits (and thus tax liability), even though the shell then refunds the payments back to the real company. The real company gets its dollars back, plus a lower tax bill. Closing loopholes like this through mandatory combined reporting could generate $70 to $120 million annually.

•The throwback rule, which about half of states with corporate income taxes already have, would catch much of the tax revenue that simply falls through our system’s cracks. With multi-state corporations, the various states’ apportionment formulas sometimes are not able to account for all income: some income, so-called “nowhere income,” is not booked in any state and thus goes untaxed. On balance, this means larger Connecticut corporations, with more out-of-state revenues, are able to pay lower taxes than smaller ones, with fewer such revenues. The throwback rule makes sure “nowhere income” is taxed at Connecticut businesses, closing the loophole and removing the unfairness towards smaller businesses. The rule could generate $20 million annually.

Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and global headlines and updates on the status of our Trayvon Martin and Safe Work Environment Acts, including action alerts. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives. https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/) for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s for selected columns (http://www.northendagents.com/) . Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com

David Samuels

Founder

Community Party

Vote for Project of the Month “Out of Luck” Documentary Movie

February 4, 2015

Thank you for your vote for the Project of the Week. We won, and now we are moving to Project of the Month which is big, and I need your votes.
Please vote for Project of the Month “Out of Luck” documentary movie which I’m in it. I’m showing the public how running can help you beat addiction, and how to turn around your life after losing everything to gambling. It takes only 30 seconds.

Voting will end Friday, February 6 at 11 a.m. EST.
1. Click the link below.
2. Scroll down till you see the list of the four movies
3. Click “Out of Luck”
4. Click “Vote”
5. Enter your email
6. Click “Vote” again
7. Check your email “PollDaddy”
8. Click “Confirm” – Then you are done

http://www.indiewire.com/article/vote-for-the-january-2015-project-of-the-month-will-it-be-love-other-mental-illnesses-devils-in-disguise-big-sonia-or-out-of-luck-20150202

The project that receives the most votes for Project of the Month will receive a consultation from Project of the Month partner, Tribeca Film Institute, and will be in the running for 2015 Project of the Year.
The movie is produced by a great filmmaker who has produced movies for Discover, A&E and MTV as well as documentary movies, including the show Hoarders.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Thanks

Adam

=========================
Adam Osmond

P. O. Box 1162

Farmington, CT 06034-1162
Email: AdamOsmond14@gmail.com

Blog: http://www.AdamOsmond.com

“You Don’t Hire a Rapper to be Your Agent”

February 1, 2015

I recently watched ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary on former National Football League running back Ricky Williams. Williams is a two-time All-American and Heisman Trophy winner who played a total of 11 seasons in the NFL and the Canadian Football League before retiring in 2011. Williams is a highly intelligent free spirit who was the subject of controversy due to his first retirement after just five seasons and subsequent suspensions for violating the NFL’s drug policy.

What I thought was going to be an opportunity to zone out in front of the TV turned into the subject of this column: specifically corporate media stereotypes of the Black male. Williams hired No Limit Sports to negotiate his contract with the New Orleans Saints, who drafted him 5th overall in the 1999 NFL draft.
No Limit Sports was owned by Percy “Master P” Miller, a rapper from New Orleans who took a $10,000 inheritance that he used to start a record store and subsequently founded No Limit Records, one of the most successful rap labels in the history of Hip-Hop. Miller’s net worth has been estimated to be as much as $661 million, due to his superior business acumen.
MIller expanded into numerous business ventures following the success of his rap label. His Wikipedia page includes a laundry list of enterprises.
“(Master P) has invested money into starting a jewelry line, auto accessories, stocks, a real estate company, a gas station, started a No Limit clothing line, a phone-sex company and a sports management firm that represents several NBA basketball draft picks, a travel agency, a Foot Locker retail outlet, film, music, and television production, toy making, telecommunications, book & magazine publishing, car rims and fast food franchises. No Limit Communications, a joint venture with marketing guru, Djuan Edgerton, was a surprising success. No Limit Enterprises quickly became a financial powerhouse. According to Black Enterprise magazine No Limit Enterprises grossed $110 million in revenue in 1998 alone.  Miller also has his own line of beverages, called ‘Make ‘Em Say Ughh!’ energy drinks. Miller has also made a foray into mass media, where he founded Better Black Television, a cable television network in November 2010 based in New Orleans, making him the first hip hop entrepreneur to establish a cable television network.”
Like anybody in the high stakes world of business, Miller had some duds: No Limit Sports was one of them. A fair and balanced article by Vice Sports ( https://sports.vice.com/article/no-limit-sports-the-inside-story/ )  summed up the reason for the demise of the sports management agency. A company that was successful in music and films applied that business model to sports management and failed. Football writer Jason Cole, who was interviewed for the Williams documentary, gave viewers a totally distorted picture of the relationship between Williams and No Limit Sports. The contract negotiated by the agency was regarded as a disaster. Other than an $8 million signing bonus only the NFL minimum of $175,000 was guaranteed, with the rest of the deal based on incentives. Williams would have to achieve certain performance goals (rushing yards, touchdowns, etc.) in order to make additional money, an unheard of agreement. A player who was drafted as highly as Williams was expected to be guaranteed a salary worth millions of dollars before playing their first game.
Cole ignored the facts of the story and said, “You don’t hire a rapper to be your agent.” The quote was accompanied by a clip of Williams and Miller sitting together at a press conference, accompanied by a soundbite of Miller chalking up the criticism of Williams’ choice of representation to racism.
A casual viewer was left with the impression that Miller himself negotiated Williams’ contract, and that rappers lacked the intelligence to handle business deals. I confronted Cole on Twitter about his remark. Cole backpedaled and said that he was only talking about Miller. I reminded him of his exact quote. His response was, “So what?” Cole claimed not to recognize the racist implications of his comment. Miller’s track record as an entrepreneur clearly shows that he has forgotten more about business than Cole will ever know. I pointed out to Cole the success of Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter’s Roc Nation Sports, which partnered with a group of experienced sports agents. Roc Nation negotiated a 10-year, $240 million contract for former New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, who signed with the Seattle Mariners as a free agent prior to the 2014 season. Cano’s contract is one of the richest in sports history. National Basketball Association superstar Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder is another Roc Nation client. Carter clearly learned from Miller’s mistakes, as he has seasoned professionals representing his clients.
Did No Limit Sports drop the ball in their representation of Williams? Absolutely. Up to that point however, the agency had actually been successful, managing a small roster of National Basketball Association players who they had signed prior to acquiring Williams. Williams maintains that he specifically requested the terms of his contract. Williams subsequently fired No Limit Sports and signed with agent Leigh Steinberg, who renegotiated Williams’ contract after he was traded to the Miami Dolphins in 2002. Miller selected an inexperienced individual who was in over his head when he negotiated the contract for Williams, No Limit Sports’ first star who they wished to make their flagship client. Cole took one of the few missteps in Miller’s business career and stereotyped rappers as being too ignorant to succeed in the corporate world. Shameful.
David Samuels
Founder
Community Party
Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and global headlines and updates on the status of our Trayvon Martin and Safe Work Environment Acts, including action alerts. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1    Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives. https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/) for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s for selected columns (http://www.northendagents.com/) . Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com