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Harassment and Ethics

Arlene Vernon

Arlene VernonI created a training session for one of my clients on what leaders should know and do about harassment, bullying and discrimination. My focus for “Sense and Sensibility” training covers the important issues around workplace culture, ethics, boundaries, personal sensitivities, bullying, harassment investigations, retaliation and What’s A Manager To Do?

As I was reviewing my previous training sessions and updating them with new and exciting information on the topic, I rediscovered the Ethics Resource Center, who conducts a National Business Ethics Survey of US workers every other year, the most recent in 2013.

I was most intrigued by the following statistics regarding employee observations of misconduct on the job.

  • 41% of all respondents observed misconduct on the job, down from high of 55% six years ago
  • 60% of misconduct involved someone with managerial authority, ranging from lead to CEO
  • Only 63% of people who observed misconduct reported it
  • 21% of reporters faced some sort of retaliation for reporting misconduct

Below I’ve listed just a few of the types of wrongdoing or misconduct the surveyed individuals observed. I selected those areas that are most relevant to the topic of harassment, bulling and discrimination:

  • 18% observed abusive behavior
  • 17% observed lying to employees
  • 12% observed discrimination
  • 7% observed sexual harassment

And the respondents responded that they did not report misconduct due to fear of retaliation

  • 34% feared payback from senior leadership
  • 30% feared payback from a supervisor
  • 24% feared payback from coworkers

I could elaborate on so many aspects of these statistics. The idea that 41% of our employees observed misconduct but only 63% report it, primarily due to fear of retaliation, speaks loudly. And if 21% of our employees are being retaliated against for their reports, then we’re going wrong somewhere.

It means that in many companies, despite our efforts to (a) educate our employees as to their rights and (b) encourage them to come to us with their concerns, we are not following through on ensuring the safety of our employees. We have to make sure that we truly are turning our non-discrimination, non-bullying, non-harassment and non-retaliation talk into action. For more details on the survey, check out this link: National Business Ethics Survey.

©2014 Arlene Vernon

Supervising Smart SeriesPublic Seminars

I received several questions about the Supervising Smart Series that the Minnesota Multi Housing Association is offering to its members and to the public.

Well, that answered one of the questions. Yes, even if you’re not a member of MHA, you are welcome to attend or send people you know to the seminars that I am conducting.

The second question I received was-

“I’m interesting in attending the Leadership session on April 22nd, but I see that it is sold out! Will you be offering it again?”

Because of the great response to this session, MHA created a waiting list for a second session. If we get enough people to sign up on the waiting list, MHA will schedule a second date and notify everyone on the waiting list.

So, click on this link MHA Supervising Smart Brochure
or contact mallory.ruppert@mmha.com and ask to be placed on the waiting list for this program.

Hiring the Best Without A Crystal Ball

Friday May 23rd – 9:00 – 11:00 am

If you’re struggling with your employment and interview processes, know hiring managers who can benefit from fine-tuning their hiring techniques or you’re hiring what you think will be a great employee and are disappointed when the candidate shows up for work – then this program that I am conducting is for you


Here’s a description of the session:

There’s more to hiring than meets the eye. Learn how to hone your hiring techniques and practices to attract the best. Learn to customize your hiring methods and develop structured interview questionnaires to ensure each new employee truly fits the job and your organization. In this session, you will get solid tips, tools and techniques to design a hiring process that helps you move from superficial selection to super selection!

Contact MHA and sign up today!

See you there,


About Arlene Vernon

Arlene has provided HR consulting and management training services to over 300 organizations since starting HRx, Inc. in 1992.

If you’re seeking a hands-on, practical HRxpert to assist your organization with employee relations, policy development, strategic HR activities or fun/doable management training, call on Arlene – Your HRxpert.

If you’re planning a conference, seminar or special event, Arlene specializes in keynotes, seminars and workshops to meet your talent management needs. And if you’re seeking a more lively entertaining activity, Arlene’s custom songs and musical-inspirational keynote may be perfect for your organization!

HRx, Inc., Eden Prairie, MN 55344, 952.996.0975www.HRxcellence.com. Arlene@ArleneVernon.com

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