February 29, 2008

Expression of support for Howard Fredrics

To: press@kingston.ac.uk
Sent:
Friday, February 29, 2008 8:19 AM
Subject: Expression of support for Howard Fredrics

I would like to express my concern about the workplace mobbing problems at Kingston University. I am particularly concerned about the case of Howard Fredrics, who used to be employed as a senior lecturer in music.

I understand that eleven colleagues 'paid him back' for making a complaint of administrative ill-treatment. And that their behaviour has affected Howard's health and his career. I understand that one other academic at your university has already been driven to suicide by workplace abuse.

I urge all members of the staff of Kingston University to desist from workplace abuse and mobbing behaviour.

XXXXX XXXXX
Edge Hill
Queensland

February 27, 2008

Howard Fredrics seeks redress at Kingston University (UK)

The bureaucratized university plays havoc with bright, creative minds. In July of 2006, Diana Winstanley, a 45-year-old professor in the School of Human Resource Management at Kingston University, hanged herself. As at many other universities, a significant number of faculty have been on leave in recent years for occupational stress.

American-born Howard Fredrics, a senior lecturer in music at Kingston until his formal dismissal in 2006, has published a well-documented multi-media website on the conflict that led to his ouster and his efforts since then for redress, and on similar conflicts involving other faculty at Kingston. The website is also useful for its critique of British employment law, in particular the easily abused "some other substantial reason" for an employee's dismissal. Of particular interest in Fredrics's own case is the ganging up of eleven colleagues and their filing a collective grievance against him, apparently with the administration's encouragement, following his own formal complaint of administrative ill-treatment.

The mire of legal twists and turns since then is deep, involving charges of witness intimidation, anti-Semitism, and much else.

From: http://www.arts.uwaterloo.ca/~kwesthue/mobnews06.htm#KIN

Howard needs our support and our solidarity. He is facing difficulties that show bias against him by the legal system. His health is suffering, his career more than likely ruined, and the financial cost has been huge.

Please write emails of complaint and support for Howard to Kingston University Press Office: press@kingston.ac.uk

Howard's supportive local MP is Vincent Cable:

Constituency Office:
2a Lion Road, Twickenham TW1 4JQ, England

Phone: 020 8892 0215, 020 8892 0218

Vincent Cable should be encouraged to take the matter further.

-----------------------
Do nothing and watch from the sidelines as an academic career and life is ruined, or do something however small, for if we all do it then it may have some impact. Please act today.

Teachers take bullying claim to commission

Staff at the Conservatorium High School claim the Department of Education has failed to protect them from bullying.

In the NSW Industrial Relations Commission yesterday, teachers said the department had failed to carry out a risk assessment of workplace bullying at the prestigious music school, which the Teachers Federation said had been promised as early as November 2005.

Two teachers have complained to their union of their treatment by the school's principal, Robert Curry. The federation said one of those allegations had come before the commission last year.

One of the complainants, Allan Scott-Rogers, was dismissed by Dr Curry on the final day of term last year.

Dr Curry said yesterday he could not comment and he had been instructed to send inquiries about the case to the department's media office. The department said it was unable to comment because the matter was before the commission, but it said at the time of Mr Scott-Rogers's dismissal that his termination was the result of subject changes.

The federation's industrial officer, Joan Lemaire, told the commission that members had asked the department for a risk assessment and risk management plan following the commission complaint last year. But the department resisted until Tuesday night, after the federation had lodged a dispute with the commission.

"There was no risk management plan or risk assessment conducted at the conservatorium either in 2005 or during 2006 or in 2007 and it now finally appears after our dispute notification that there may be a risk assessment and development plan in relation to workplace bullying," Ms Lemaire said.

But Bev Charlton, appearing for the department, said the organisation had fulfilled its legal obligations and taken several measures to prevent bullying at the school, including implementing mediation, professional development sessions and communication protocols.
[The organisation met its legal obligations!]

Justice Schmidt ordered the parties to report back to the commission next month. "We will find an agreed way forward and through that process find a way of settling this school down, because all of these exhibits show me that things have become unfortunately unsettled," she said.

From: Sydney Morning Herald

February 25, 2008

Coping, surviving, fighting back

UCU are you listening?
Local MPs and Higher Education spokesmen/women, are you listening?
In fact, is anybody listening?

'...the big challenge is to come up with a programme of action for surviving and thriving in the face of mobbing. That's a tall order. Davenport, Schwartz and Elliott describe options ranging from grieving, building self-esteem, using humour and taking care in choosing professional help. They also give advice on how family and friends are affected and how they can help. All this is quite valuable, but it is clear that there is no guaranteed way of getting through a serious case of mobbing. It often may be best to leave for another job...'

From: Martin Brian, 2000, Insight and advice about workplace bullying

'...Thus, these individuals [targets of bullying] find themselves in a prolonged stress- and in a prolonged trauma-creating situation. Instead of a short, acute (and normal!) PTSD reaction that can subside after several days or weeks, theirs is constantly renewed: new traumata and new sources of anxiety arise in a constant stream during which time the individual experiences rights violations that further undermine his or her self-confidence and psychological health. The unwieldy social situation for these individuals consists not only of severe psychological trauma but of an extremely prolonged stress condition that seriously threatens the individual's socio-economic existence. Torn out of their social network, the majority of mobbing victims face the threat of early retirement, with permanent psychological damage...'

From: Heinz Leiman, How serious are Psychological problems after mobbing?

'...Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a natural emotional reaction to a deeply shocking and disturbing experience. It is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation...'

...It seems that Complex PTSD can potentially arise from any prolonged period of negative stress in which certain factors are present, which may include any of captivity, lack of means of escape, entrapment, repeated violation of boundaries, betrayal, rejection, bewilderment, confusion, and - crucially - lack of control, loss of control and disempowerment. It is the overwhelming nature of the events and the inability (helplessness, lack of knowledge, lack of support etc) of the person trying to deal with those events that leads to the development of Complex PTSD. Situations which might give rise to Complex PTSD include bullying, harassment, abuse, domestic violence, stalking, long-term caring for a disabled relative, unresolved grief, exam stress over a period of years, mounting debt, contact experience, etc...

...The UK has one of the highest adult suicide rates in Europe: around 5000 a year. The number of adults in the UK committing suicide because of bullying is unknown. Each year 19,000 children attempt suicide in the UK - one every half hour. in the UK, suicide is the number one cause of death for 18-24-year-old males.

...The prolonged (chronic) negative stress resulting from bullying has lead to threat of loss of job, career, health, livelihood, often also resulting in threat to marriage and family life. The family are the unseen victims of bullying...

...The person who is being bullied often thinks they are going mad, and may be encouraged in this belief by those who do not have that person's best interests at heart. They are not going mad; PTSD is an injury, not an illness...'

From: http://www.bullyonline.org/stress/ptsd.htm

'... Consider leaving - regard it as a positive decision in the face of overwhelming odds which are not of your choosing, not of you making, and over which you have no control. Serial bullies are obsessive and compulsive in their behaviour; once they start on their target they won't let go until that person is destroyed. For most people, the top priority is to be financially stable. What's more important - job or health? You may need to make the decision to move on and find an employer who values you and your skills. Refuse to allow your health to be destroyed and your career wrecked by an idiot...

... Consider suing for personal injury - solicitors may now do this on a no win no fee basis. Bear in mind that this might take 3 years (County Court - awards up to £50,000) or 5 years (High Court - awards over £50,000) or more. For many though, especially those suffering trauma, the legal system can be more abusive than the original bullying. Defence lawyers will often string out the proceedings as long as possible in the hope you'll get fed up and go away, or run out of money, or become so ill you'll have to withdraw, or even die. What a nice world we live in. They're also likely to go through your past and dig up any trauma (including bereavement) and claim that is the origin of your present ill health. This process is similar to victims of rape being portrayed as "loose women" and therefore responsible for the rape...

...Consider going public - awareness is rising, the media are interested and sympathetic; ask for anonymity at the outset if required... Bullies think they are above the law - but insist that you stay rigidly within the law...

From: Helpline4u - control a bully

'... Abuse victims should first name the behavior, which gives them a feeling of legitimacy and banishes their shame, Namie said. Then, they should take some time off to heal, check their mental and physical health, explore legal options and build the business case against bullying.

Finally, employees must expose the bully for the sake of their mental health, while knowing they may lose a job, he said.

"In most cases, the bully is believed and the person is not," Namie said. Still, if you remain silent and "leave shrouded in shame, you never get past it."

From: http://www.workdoctor.com/press/newh050505.html

February 24, 2008

URGENT CALL FOR ASSISTANCE - Tell the truth about life at Kingston University - UK

Have you worked for Kingston University?

Have you been mistreated by the University?

Were you bullied and/or unfairly dismissed?

We want to know YOUR story.

Tell us about what happened to you.

We promise to keep it STRICTLY confidential.


Send e-mail to: blowthewhistle@sirpeterscott.com

Mean and Nasty Academics: Bullying, Hazing, and Mobbing

Tenure is supposed to protect scholars from outside control, but it does a lousy job of protecting them from one another.”
-- Kenneth Westhues, quoted in The Chronicle of Higher Education

I don't usually post my newsletters here, but I think this is a subject that needs to get more airing. So here is the text of my latest newsletter, called "Mean and Nasty Academics." (If you'd like to sign up for my bi-weekly (sometimes less frequent) newsletter, go to this page, which also lists the bonuses you will receive.)

Another reason I'm posting this newsletter issue is that I have received some interesting replies from my newsletter readers that will help those of you struggling with these issues. I will put these replies up in later posts.

Mean and Nasty Academics

"I was surprised to experience hazing as a graduate student, not once, but continually and by multiple professors… I watched how some of the other women faculty members in the department were treated, and they were second-class citizens at best." (Twale and De Luca, 2008, p.84)

"A tenured full female prof gets up to talk, and an untenured junior faculty man tells her that her ideas are not really important, that it may be a concern of hers but not ours. And the entire faculty went along with it, including the women... Be invisible. We weren’t supposed to say anything, even the strong women who could hold their own. Women sensed they were in a powerless position." [Ibid, p.85]

As an academic coach, I could add many more examples of graduate students and professors of all ranks being victimized by mean, nasty, harsh, underhanded, passive aggressive or bullying behavior at the hands of other academics.

The only reason I don’t give you details of what my clients have told me over the years is that I need to protect the identity of the victims. However, I’m not giving anything away if I tell you that I have heard numerous examples of departments ganging up on one individual, of professors being shunned, of tenured professors harassing other tenured professors, and of incredibly harsh treatment of graduate students by their advisors or other professors.

Bullying and emotional abuse don’t only exist in academia (see Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace). But Darla Twale and Barbara De Luca, the authors of Faculty Incivility: The Rise of the Academic Bully Culture and What to Do About It, suggest that there has been an increase in “bullying, mobbing, camouflaged aggression, and harassment” (p. xii) within academia.

In working with people who have been the victims of bullying, I find that one of their first needs is reassurance that they did not do anything to deserve such treatment. So let me say that No one, ever, under any circumstances, deserves to be humiliated, undermined, insulted, shunned, marginalized, ganged up on, or even spoken to harshly. If it has happened to you, you did not cause it to happen. And you are not alone.

What Can I Do About Bullying?

There is no space here to review the reasons that academics can be so cruel to one another. Instead, I’ll focus on what you can do about it. The following suggestions are summarized from the Twale and De Luca book; additional comments from me are in brackets.

Avoid becoming part of an abusive department. Before you attend graduate school or accept a job, do your homework. Look at faculty turnover rates, policies and guidelines regarding harassment, and level of enforcement of such policies as seen in grievance filings and resolutions...

From: http://www.academicladder.com

February 23, 2008

Whistleblowers...

Whistleblowers are part of society's alarm and self-repair system, bringing attention to problems before they become far more damaging. Australian whistleblowers have spoken out about police corruption, paedophilia in the churches, corporate mismanagement, biased appointment procedures, environmentally harmful practices and a host of other issues.

Although whistleblowers are extremely valuable to society, most of them suffer enormously for their efforts. Ostracism, harassment, slander, reprimands, referral to psychiatrists, demotion, dismissal and blacklisting are among the common methods used to attack whistleblowers. Bosses are the usual attackers with co-workers sometimes joining in.

Many whistleblowers are conscientious, high-performing employees who believe that the system works. That's why they speak out. They believe that by alerting others to a problem, it will be dealt with. Many do not think of themselves as whistleblowers at all - they believe they are just doing their job. So they are shaken to the core when the response to their public-spirited efforts is to vilify them as disloyal, to question their work performance, to withdraw emotional support and to mount attacks. As well as suffering financial losses and severe stress, whistleblowers are at increased risk of relationship breakdown and health problems.

Even worse than this, though, few whistleblowers seem to bring about any change in the problem they speak out about. The treatment of whistleblowers is a double disaster for society: capable and courageous individuals are attacked and sometimes destroyed, while the original problems are left to fester.

From: http://www.uow.edu.au/arts/sts/bmartin/pubs/05overland.html, by Professor Brian Martin

February 21, 2008

Bully in Sight: How to Predict, Resist, Challenge and Combat Workplace Bullying

...A feature of bullying which is not generally appreciated is that in the months (which may exceed a year) which immediately follow cessation of employment (whether through termination or ill-health absence) the traumatised victim is often physically unable to touch anything which reminds them of their experience. Many victims report the strange feeling of sitting in front of large piles knowing the ease with the formerly handled paperwork but feeling paralyzed, unable to touch, read or process any of it...

From: Bully in Sight by Tim Field

February 20, 2008

Yamada Featured on Bullying in ABA Journal - US

I appreciate Chris Cameron (Southwestern) alerting me to the news that David Yamada's (Suffolk) scholarship on bullying in the workplace got him not only mentioned in this month’s ABA Journal, but also photographed – smile and all – on page 16 (different photograph here, but same great smile).

Some of the article highlights:


In the last several years, legislation has been introduced in 13 states to allow people to sue their employers for bullying or offensive behavior even when the conduct doesn’t meet standards for discrimination or infliction of emotional distress . . .


Much of this percolating legislation was modeled on a draft by David Yamada, a professor at Suffolk Univer­sity Law School in Boston who has been working with Namie. “There are some serious gaps in the law in terms of workplace bullying,” says Yamada, who studies harassment in the workplace.


Yamada says he has experienced or witnessed bullying behavior in the legal world and in academia. Typic­ally, he says, people victimized by bad bosses end up quitting. “It strikes me as being horrifically wrong,” Yamada says, “that targets are the ones to pay the price."

Yamada intends for the legislation to cover at least two categories of workplace bullying. The first is the boss who openly berates employees. The poster child for this type of personality, he says, is the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton. During his 2005 confirmation hearings, he was accused of being a “serial abuser” and “quintessential kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy.”

But Yamada’s proposal doesn’t stop with giving employees grounds to sue the yellers and screamers. He says he would also allow workers to sue for “the more hurtful and insidious” types of conduct—the backstabbing, subtle undermining and sabotaging that exist in many workplaces.


Kudos to David for single-handedly developing and implementing the strategy behind this anti-bullying in the workplace movement
.

From: Workplace Prof Blog

Management turns perpetrator as bullying cases soar

As many as seven in ten employees have felt bullied at work with almost half of bullying instigated by management.

The research conducted by Peninsula employment law service shows that bullying has increased significantly since 2003, with 69 per cent of employees saying that they have been exposed to bullying in the workplace, compared to 52 per cent in 2003.

Worryingly, just under half (44 per cent) say the bully is a member of management whilst 56 per cent who have felt victimised say that they were bullied by a work colleague.

Sadly, 62 per cent of those who feel they have been bullied in work say that it has had a detrimental impact on their personal life.

David Price, head of employee relations at Peninsula said he ‘urged’ employers to have a system in place where workers could speak to someone if they felt bullied and said bosses should consider having an Equal Opportunities Policy and an IT policy to prevent cyber bullying.

“When talking to employees it is apparent that those that are bullied by management or their employer are reluctant to work as hard as those that are not bullied. Silent bullying presents a major problem, where someone feels isolated when left out of group discussions and decisions. Employees and employers need to remember that harassment is in the eye of the recipient and the question employers need to consider is whether the situation could be considered severe enough for the employee to take legal action,” said Price.

The research showed that 69 per cent of workers would never consider reporting bullying to their employer whilst 89 per cent are not sure whether their employer has policies relating to bullying and harassment at work.

HR Zone, 20th February 2008

Eliminating Professors - Necessary Harm

...Given the social dynamic in this workplace, it is easy to see why the higher-ups did nothing to rein in the Jerk in. Addressing PITA's complaints would have meant taking on not just an individual harassing male but a cohesive group of male and female workers that was functioning productively in the overall organizational context. Each successive higher level of union or management authority to which PITA appealed was faced with challenging, disrupting, and overruling an even larger part of the organization. How much damage to morale and productivity can a senior official reasonably be expected to risk, for the sake of shielding one partially disaled woman from jokes other women laught at?

"Even so," you may say, "somebody should have done something." This comment has been made in every case I know of Dr. PITA's elimination from a uniersity faculty. It is a common exhoration of kind-hearted people working somewhere else
...

From: Eliminating Professors, a guide to the dismissal process, by Kenneth Westhues

February 18, 2008

The Goebbels doctrine

'Repeat a lie hundred times, and it becomes truth.'

February 16, 2008

Bullies are...

Bullies are most likely to:

· Not challenge change

· Be low achievers with low self-esteem

· Be non - Enthusiastic (rarely volunteer)

· Have low integrity

· Have no ethical standards

· Not known for their commitment to human rights, dignity and respect

February 15, 2008

A favorite tactic of bullies...

A favorite tactic of bullies is to falsely accuse his/her victim of something so outrageous that the victim is stunned with humiliation.

The decent or religious worker is accused of viewing pornography at work, the dignified moral worker is accused of sexual misdoings, the libertarian is charged with being a racist, the most honest worker is branded a thief. [In the meanwhile, the truly incompetent are safe at the apex of the academic hierarchy.]

It doesn't really matter that the bully often can't make the charges stick, the harm is already done. There's that element of guilt by association placed in the minds of others.

From: http://www.badapplebullies.com/index.htm

Tensions high at Liverpool Hope over hiring of dean - UK

Dedicated teaching staff have been turned into "instant failures" as the result of a drive to boost research at the traditionally teaching-led Liverpool Hope University, some staff have claimed.

Tensions over the university's direction came to a head this month with the appointment of Jon Nixon as dean of education. There are complaints that the appointment not only lacked transparency but unfairly penalised long-standing teaching-focused staff in an institution that was founded as a teacher-education college for women.

Professor Nixon, who has been at the university for two months, was appointed without any advertising of the vacancy. His appointment was widely predicted as a "done deal" before it was officially confirmed.

The university's vice-chancellor, Gerald Pillay, has said that he is seeking to "raise the bar" by appointing more professors and increasing research opportunities. Liverpool Hope's education deanery - primarily the teacher-training department - is said by the university to be developing a "growing research culture".

Before Professor Nixon's appointment, staff there were told that the new dean would be selected from among professors only. Some of the department's lecturers, most of whom are women and include former schoolteachers, considered this decision unreasonable. The previous dean, Elizabeth Gayton, was not a professor.

Announcing the appointment, Professor Pillay said: "With an excellent academic track record over a long period, Professor Nixon demonstrated, through his own work at three other universities and numerous publications, the importance and interdependence of research and professional practice. Both are important pillars of the education deanery's strategic vision."

One staff member said: "Many of the people here were brought in because they were excellent practitioners. Using research as the criteria for promoting excellence is turning them into instant failures. To make a change like this takes a lot of understanding of the context, but that understanding doesn't seem to be there."

All new lecturers are required to hold PhDs, and existing staff are being advised to obtain them if they wish to progress. The lecturers maintain that in teacher training, staff with a wealth of practical experience are more useful to students than tutors with research backgrounds who have spent little time in schools.

The source added: "People here have a love for this place, and for the students that is palpable. It's the kind of thing that takes 25 years to build up and could so easily be destroyed."

Professor Pillay has faced previous complaints about selection processes. Shortly after his arrival at the university in 2003, he appointed three men as assistant vice-chancellors amid suggestions that there was no proper application process.

"They were all white, middle-aged, middle-class men," a university insider said. "Apparently it had been decided that no one else was suitable, so there was no point in advertising."

At the time, staff asked for the university to produce a formal policy document on senior appointment processes, but so far none has been forthcoming. Appointments to principal lecturer and associate professor posts require a lengthy application and five referees. Staff want a similar process to apply to senior appointments.

A Liverpool Hope spokesman said the university had followed normal practice in appointing members of its senior executive team. While all professors in the education deanery had been invited to express an interest in the dean's position, only two did so, he said.

"Candidates who expressed an interest were considered carefully. The successful candidate was by far the more experienced of the two," he said. The Liverpool Hope spokesman added: "In appointing to senior academic positions, the university seeks in the first instance to give opportunity to those most senior and experienced among its own staff. If this does not provide the most appropriate candidate the university advertises internationally, as it has done for the past two professorial appointments.
"

From:http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk

February 14, 2008

Workplace bullying: just say no

...In a system where we place individuals in a position of power over others without democratic accountability or transparent process there is bound to be scope for those in a position of power to take out their frustrations and inadequacies on their subordinates, even where this cuts against the interests of the organisation...

When I was a UNISON steward in the NHS a few years ago I worked in a unit that had developed a real culture of bullying over a period of years. Whilst the two tiers of management we had direct contact with were, partially, responsible for this it was one worker in particular who was making life a misery...

Now I'm sure most people reading this would think "here's a job for the union". Your instincts are right and noble - but there was a difficulty. The branch secretary was married to a top manager and, as far as I'm aware, there has never been an instance of him opposing management on any substantive issue and when I approached him for advise he blankly refused to act. Why? Because the culprit in question was a member of the union.

This was an outrageous position. The idea that you don't protect workers when the bully is a union member turns union membership into something more akin to being a made man in the mafia...

To fight bullying you have to have leverage. The more leverage you have the better able you are to defend yourself. A corrupt union is worse than no union at all - but a good one is your best defense. Your workmates are the best weapon you have. Solidarity is the key
.

From: http://jimjay.blogspot.com

February 13, 2008

Latest News About Kingston University - UK

The London South Employment Tribunal has ruled against Regina Benveniste in her claim for unfair dismissal and victimization. In its failure to refer to key points of compelling evidence presented by Dr Benveniste in her case documents (including documentary evidence that the Personnel Director, Liz Lanchberry, had openly called for her immediate dismissal because she could not bear the thought of Dr Benveniste bringing forward an appeal of her grievance to the Board of Governors), the Tribunal has whitewashed a case in which an employee was solely and exclusively targeted for imposition of workplace rules on working at home.

The University freely admitted that it had created the policy barring

working at home for more than one day per week in order to address Dr
Benveniste's working methods. It did not impose such a policy on any
other staff member, nor did it subject any other staff member to
disciplinary/dismissal procedings, as it did with Dr Benveniste. This
"convenient" action to single out and dismiss Dr Benveniste occurred
following her having filed a suit for discrimination and harassment, as
well as a grievance which was, of course, not upheld by the University.

Anonymous post

February 12, 2008

Open letter to UCU

Open letter to University and College Union.

We would like to bring to your attention the tragic issue of entrenched workplace bullying in higher education, and we would like to have your comments, suggestions and proposed strategies to deal with this. We are making some suggestions and comments below but ultimately we want to hear your opinions on the matter.

Right now most - if not all - HEIs have in place and are required to have in place anti-bullying policies. These exist on paper, but - as evidenced in numerous cases (Sheffield Hallam University, Leeds Metropolitan, Birmingham's School of Health Sciences), plus our own UCU survey, the problems persist. Quote from recent UCU survey:

'...An astonishing 82% said their institution had a management culture which 'actively contributed to stress' (87% in colleges, 80% in universities). 27% thought their management 'acknowledged the causes of stress' but only 15% thought their management 'sought to address the causes...'

Some rough figures: It is estimated that 14-16% of the British workforce experiences workplace bullying. In a union with a membership of over 100.000, this translates to over 14.000 members.

It appears that there are few, if any, 'formal' evaluations of bullying intervention programmes. For example, the recent HSE Research Report 024 reviewing supporting knowledge for stress management standards (Rick et al, 2002) found no studies examining evidence on interventions to reduce the bullying/harassment stressor.

In our opinion, it is far more productive for our union to intervene before disciplinary decisions are imposed on academics and other staff, before bullied staff loose their jobs under tragic circumstances. It is far more productive for a truly independent body, external body to assess if the university (employer) has indeed followed the right procedures before reaching a decision. This needs to happen before a decision is imposed and not after. The problem with formal grievance/discipline procedures, from the point of view of statistical monitoring, is that they come at the end of a long chain of actions and decisions and are therefore rare.

Usually, any mediation offered by the employer can be used / is used as another forum for power games where the target (victim) experiences the ultimate bullying and usually leaves with an exit package, a confidentiality clause and wrecked health. Internal grievance procedures never work in favour of the victims.

The 2005 Survey of HR Professionals: Which of the following factors impair your organisation's ability to deal effectively with bullying?

Unwillingness to acknowledge a problem by management - 74.4%
Prevailing management style - 70.4%
Lack of training in how to deal with bullying - 45.4%
Lack of cooperation from management - 44.4%
Inadequate procedures - 30.2%

In random order, some of the challenges we face, are:

• Failure of some employers/managers to fully implement ACAS guidelines, and in particular the right to call upon witnesses, to have representation, to have access to accurate records of all hearings. Yes, the Employment Tribunals can decide on this but does it have to always go that far? Are there no other options?

• Failure of some employers to have appropriate internal procedures, embedded with principles of natural justice. How many universities have a record of resolving employment disputes through negotiations and a truck record to prove so?

• Colleagues who are afraid to speak up for fear that they may suffer various forms of penalties. So the victim is often left without wtinesses. Which colleague will openly support the victim of bullying and become a witness against senior managers?

• HR and personnel departments caught in the dilemma between their professional training and professionalism, versus possible management 'pressures' to go along with the prevailing and obviously wrong groupthink.

• A noted lack of expert union reps in workplace bullying backed up by union active policy, strategy, negotiation, and legal action. There is a web page online from a network support group, and a legal/counseling help line that union members can phone, but the issue seems to be the lack of satisfactory results in some well document cases. The available help from the network support group, seems to come too late in the process.

• Funding and quality control bodies should somehow engage in the process of contributing to the implementation and appropriate application of internal grievance and disciplinary procedures. They should/can consider what is happening with workplace bullying, for this has effects on how the general workplace functions or dysfunctions. Yes, we know universities are independent bodies. True, but this is where the collective energies of multiple partners at all levels have to come into this, and the union is only one of them. In fact, the union could lead such a campaign and perhaps attempt to unite all the players in some kind of common cause.

Yes, we do have a new booklet that is well written, BUT the issue remains 'policing' and monitoring and from what we know, universities are not always good at policing their own. An independent party is indeed needed, an external party, even an ombudsman, something, anything… for there are far too many instances when universities when left on their own have not always done the right thing… (ACAS, internal procedures, discrimination, victimisation, racism etc)

TUC, Andrea Adams Trust, and other organisations are working/have worked on a number of projects – policing remains the issue, the gap, the weakness. We feel that our union could be more proactive on this issue and at least advocate for this. This is perhaps one of the central challenges. Does 'independence' mean lack of accountability and transparency on issues of workplace bullying?

The reply from HEFCE is/was that universities are accountable to their own governing bodies. Well, one wonders how cozy these relationships may become after some time. There is a voluntary code of practice for governors, but how many of us know about it or have read it? How many governors have been challenged successfully?

So, who has responsibility for this mess? So far, we have failed to pinpoint a single agent for change. That would be too easy. A collective and coordinated effort of multiple players is needed. We have a long way to go. We would like to know if our union will play a leading role in this or will remain a passive observer offering well-written booklets and support after the events.

It would be good to hear/read from all of you your thoughts and your suggestions on how to tackle workplace bullying in academia.

Louise Michel

Recognizing and Dealing with Workplace Bullies

In a presentation Camilo Azcarate (University Ombuds Officer, Princeton University), Nicholas Diehl (Associate Ombuds, Princeton University), Howard Gadlin (Ombudsman, National Institutes of Health), and Patricia J. Lynch (Corporate Ombudsman, United Technologies Corporation) gave at the first annual International Ombudsman Association conference, held in April 2006, they cited ten characteristic behaviors of workplace bullies that managers need to be alert to:

A workplace bully:


1. is charming in public; this charm is used to seduce the victim with the aim of dominating and controlling.


2. spreads rumors in private to reduce the victim’s power and damage his/her reputation.


3. is apparently supportive in private but exposes the victim’s mistakes in public.


4. distorts reality to make him/herself look good and the victim look bad.


5. is hypocritical — says the right things but is exploitative and manipulative.


6. is evasive, does not provide straight answers, and gets angry when confronted.


7. is pompous and self-righteous and inflates his/her importance.


8. is passive-aggressive. For example, the bully withholds information and works to isolate the victim.


9. presents him/herself as a victim and blames others for his/her pain and suffering.


10. pretends to care, and humiliates the victim under the guise of caring
.

From: http://streamlinetraining.blogspot.com

February 11, 2008

Warning: Mobbing is Legal, Work with Caution

Mobbing Example

Hayden Scott is seemingly successful. He is close with his family and works as a University Professor. He loves his work. Student feedback of his teaching is positive - he often receives appreciative thank you notes at the finish of classes. He goes beyond his job requirements to help his department and students succeed in their chosen profession.


After four years of dedicated service, Hayden prepared his tenure packet and presented it without trepidation. His first and third year reviews were positive and cited no deficiencies or areas of concern. He had authored a number of publications, presented at conferences, and provided service to his community and school. He was given no reason to believe his employment at the university was threatened.


It is at this point that Hayden’s life takes a turn. Hayden learns that what he had ignored for months is now going to haunt him.


Several months earlier Hayden felt certain students and colleagues were responding to him coolly and talking secretly about him. Doors were closed as he approached, conversations were interrupted when he entered a room, and he was not invited to “unofficial” faculty gatherings. He ignored this as he did not want to get involved in counterproductive workplace politics. His hope was the situation would dissolve itself when no attention was provided to fuel its continuation.


He soon learned his tenure was in question. Little explanation was given but the dean of the department stated that one professor seemed to sabotage his promotion. The dean and a union representative suggested he apply again the next year.


This defeat led Hayden to question what he had dismissed earlier. Through keeping alert to the politics of the office and researching his situation, Hayden learned he had been “mobbed”.


Mobbing Defined


According to Westhues (2002) mobbing “is an impassioned, collective campaign by co-workers to exclude, punish, and humiliate a targeted worker.” Namie and Namie (2000) name it bullying and define it as “the repeated, malicious, health endangering mistreatment of one employee by one or more employees” (p. 3). Whether termed mobbing, bullying, or verbal abuse the behaviors and results are to the same ends “to crush and eliminate the target” (Westhues, 2002).


Mobbing frequently involves the use of “harassing, abusive, and often terrorizing behaviors” (Davenport, Schwartz and Elliot, 1999, p. 34). Mobbing is seldom overt instead it thrives on the use of rumor, innuendo, making inappropriate jokes, and public discrediting (Davenport, Schwartz and Elliot, 1999; Namie and Namie 2000). What seems to traumatize the target the most are covert tactics used continuously and methodically. These methods often leave the target feeling as though mobbing is occurring, but without concrete evidence.


Mobbing Frequency?


Due to the lack of reporting, the number of mobbing victims is uncertain. Davenport, Schwartz and Elliot (1999) estimate that in the United States “well over 4 million people yearly, are, or may become, victimized by mobbing” (pg 25). According to Leymann (n.d.) one out of every four employees entering the labor market will risk being subjected to at least one period of mobbing of at least six months´ duration during his or her working career.”


Who Mobs


The literature is particularly critical of the perpetrators of mobbing. According to Namie and Namie (2000) those who instigate mobbing tend to be bullies, who try to dominate people in nearly every encounter. They are described as “inadequate, defective, and poorly developed people” (Namie and Namie, 2000, p. 14). They tend to be unpredictable, angry, critical, jealous, and manipulative (Davenport, Schwartz and Elliot, 1999; Namie and Namie 2000). Finally, Glass (1999) describes them as representing “everything bad” (p. 239).


Targets of Mobbing


An individual can be mobbed regardless of age, race, religion, gender, or rank within an organization (Davenport, Schwartz and Elliot, 1999; Namie and Namie 2000; Leymann, n.d.). Though any person is susceptible to being mobbed, those individuals who are devoted, loyal, creative, organized, cooperative and experienced professionals, seem to be at a higher likelihood to experience mobbing (Davenport, Schwartz and Elliot, 1999).


It is suggested that particularly creative individuals may often be subjected to mobbing because they promote new ideas which may challenge others (Davenport, Schwartz and Elliot, 1999). Mobbing may begin out of jealousy over the superior competence of the target, envy over the targets social skills or envy regarding the positive attitude of the target that attracts colleagues to them (Namie and Namie, 2000). At times mobbing is done as a bully revels in animosity, gaining pleasure from the excitement that it creates, giving the bully what Westhues (2002) calls “the euphoria of collective attack”.


Why do Targets Endure


It may be questioned why a person would stay in a job in which she/he is being mobbed. Mobbing victims often stay because they love their work (Davenport, Schwartz and Elliot, 1999). They feel a sense of identity, competence, and commitment to what they do.


It is perhaps the targets commitment to the job that leaves him/her ill prepared for the mobbing experience. Targets dedicated to their work may rely on their superior efforts to move ahead and gain recognition, in lieu of tracking the politics of the job. Targets tend to be empathic, just, and fair people (Namie & Namie 2000: Auerbach, 2001), who naively believe if they don’t fight back against mobbing and continue to excel in their work, the perpetrator will lose interest and stop or that others will recognize the work they do and disbelieve the rumors and lies being told. This lack of knowledge about mobbing leaves the target little time to build the necessary survival networks to combat the problem (Davenport, Schwartz and Elliot, 1999).


The Price the Target Pays


At the beginning of the mobbing experience the target may choose, as Hayden did, to ignore the problem. However; as the alienation of being mobbed continues, the target may find that he/she is less productive, creative, and self questioning. Mobbing can leave the target’s life in turmoil (Glass, 1999), feeling embarrassed, frustrated and untrusting. Symptoms may include crying, sleep difficulties, lack of concentration, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal problems, excessive weight loss or gain, depression, alcohol or drug abuse, avoidance of the workplace, and/or uncharacteristic fearfulness (Namie & Namie, 2000; Davenport, Schwartz and Elliot, 1999). For some the degree of symptoms may become severe and include severe depression, panic attacks, heart attack, other severe illnesses, accidents, suicide attempts, violence directed at third parties and symptoms of PTSD (Namie & Namie, 2000; Davenport, Schwartz and Elliot, 1999). These symptoms may lead the target to feel who they are as a person is being stripped away.


As emotional and psychological changes take place often physical difficulties follow. Those mobbed have been found to experience reduced immunity to infection, heart attacks as well as numerous other health problems (Davenport, Schwartz and Elliot, 1999). According to Leymann (n.d.) roughly ten to twenty percent of those mobbed in his study seemed to contract a serious illnesses or committed suicide.


Changes take place in relationships inside and outside of work. When the target fails to “bounce back” from the impact of being mobbed, family and friends may begin to abandon the target (Namie & Namie, 2000). According to Westhues (2002) “Not infrequently, mobbing spelled the end of the target’s career, marriage, health, and livelihood.”


All of the psychological, physical and relationships changes will likely lead to financial difficulties. Paid time off from work, doctor appointments, therapy, as well as medications may be required.


Mobbing: Legal Solutions


Certainly, each case of mobbing will have different legal merit depending on the client, the employer, the abuse and a variety of other factors. First, consider recourse through internal complaint channels and through formal systems. Some employers may empathize with the target and work to help the situation. Human resource representatives may intervene and attempt mediation. While this may seem a useful path, keep in mind that the human resource department works for the employer. Their primary interest is the employer. Do not allow the client to become overly optimistic or see this as the end to the battle, this may be one more step in a long and painful process. Therefore, Davenport, et al (1999) observe that as a counselor it will be critical to have attorney referrals available that specialize in workplace issues (Davenport, Schwartz and Elliot, 1999). However, enlisting a lawyer may be the start of a protracted, uphill battle often with little chance of success.


An attorney should be able to determine if the actions of the perpetrator are illegal, which mobbing seldom is, or if the actions fall under discrimination, harassment, or hostile work environment (Davenport, Schwartz and Elliot, 1999; Namie & Namie, 2000). Should the actions of the perpetrator be deemed mobbing and legal, work with the client to plan a useful course of action.


Harassment or discriminatory treatment-if unrelated to gender, race, age or any other title seven protected categories are not dealt with under current US law (Namie & Namie, 2000). Clients advised by an attorney that they have a case of illegal conduct must still be helped in understanding what this means, and in gaining support for the prolonged battle that may lay ahead.


An attorney can help prepare a client for conversations by providing language that may keep them out of trouble. Such language may allow the target to express him/herself in an assertive way in language that is free of rancor and vitriol.


Mobbing: Possible Counseling Interventions


The authors have developed a number of suggestions to help the targets of mobbing. First, assist the target in enlisting support. It will be important to develop relationships and ways to talk about mobbing events without exhausting people with the details or emotions of the situations. Mobbing occurs over time and it is helpful for the target to explain to those around him/ her that this will not be over in a month’s time but may continue for years. Knowing this may help supporters understand that this is not a one-time event and that long term support is required with this type of abuse.


Second, it will be helpful to assist the client in grieving the losses amassed. The client may need to grieve the loss of a promotion, a job, or a career due to mobbing. The loss of relationships, self-confidence and self also may need to be grieved.


Third, consider helping the target assess the possible financial impact of mobbing - attorney fees, health costs, mental health costs, lost days of work, and possible loss of a job. Reviewing finances and planning for various eventualities is one facet of help that cannot be overlooked.


Fourth, help the client evaluate what is going on from an outsider’s perspective and to consider an escape plan. It may be viewed as a defeat by the client to look for another job, but this could be the healthiest choice. If the client seeks other opportunities, it will be necessary to build a resume and prepare for interviews. A counselor can assist in framing the language of the resume and the way the client talks about the workplace in a professional manner.


Fifth, the counselor may help the target focus on skills useful outside the job. Minimizing time at the workplace can help alleviate stress. Volunteering for organizations that bring out other talents, and build relationships outside the work environment may help one to find new areas of interest that might provide a more developed identity which incorporates the values and interests as well as skills of the client.


Finally, helping the client gain perspective about pursuing a negotiated settlement or a legal resolution may be the most important work of a counselor.
Are the target’s needs for fairness and justice outweighed by the price paid for challenging an often smug, hurtful culture that will likely outlast any lone individual’s campaign for justice?

From:
http://www.counselingoutfitters.com/Housker.htm

February 10, 2008

Nepotism 2: Natural progression

They have known each other for twenty years. So when one of them became a manager, the friend was promoted to Principal lecturer.

They have known each other for a long time, so when one resigned the other stepped into the position of VC.

She did everything that was expected from her, even lied, but in the end was rewarded with a promotion for the loyalty shown.

From a junior administrative position in the Faculty, was promoted without merit to a senior managerial position.

She was his girlfriend and he made sure she ended up running her own department.

Nepotism 1: University employees promoted for 3 hours!

Eight employees of Gujarat university, who were in the good books of the vice-chancellor, were promoted yesterday afternoon but had to be back in their junior postings after three hours.

The eight 'favourite' employees were awarded promotions by the controversial V-C, Parimal Trivedi, against whom university staff have levelled 34 charges of corruption and nepotism.

However, in an instant reaction, 50 senior staffers who were being denied promotions for years on end went on a flash strike and sat on indefinite fast outside the V-C's office.

Finding himself at the receiving end, Trivedi cancelled the promotion orders and told the eight employees that they would have to wait till the high court gave its verdict in a related case.

From: http://www.khaleejtimes.com

February 08, 2008

Psychopath Checklist

1. GLIB and SUPERFICIAL CHARM -- the tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile. Psychopathic charm is not in the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything. A psychopath never gets tongue-tied. They have freed themselves from the social conventions about taking turns in talking, for example.

2. GRANDIOSE SELF-WORTH -- a grossly inflated view of one's abilities and self-worth, self-assured, opinionated, cocky, a braggart. Psychopaths are arrogant people who believe they are superior human beings.

3. NEED FOR STIMULATION or PRONENESS TO BOREDOM -- an excessive need for novel, thrilling, and exciting stimulation; taking chances and doing things that are risky. Psychopaths often have a low self-discipline in carrying tasks through to completion because they get bored easily. They fail to work at the same job for any length of time, for example, or to finish tasks that they consider dull or routine.

4. PATHOLOGICAL LYING -- can be moderate or high; in moderate form, they will be shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly, and clever; in extreme form, they will be deceptive, deceitful, underhanded, unscrupulous, manipulative, and dishonest.

5. CONNING AND MANIPULATIVENESS- the use of deceit and deception to cheat, con, or defraud others for personal gain; distinguished from Item #4 in the degree to which exploitation and callous ruthlessness is present, as reflected in a lack of concern for the feelings and suffering of one's victims.

6. LACK OF REMORSE OR GUILT -- a lack of feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims; a tendency to be unconcerned, dispassionate, coldhearted, and unempathic. This item is usually demonstrated by a disdain for one's victims.

7. SHALLOW AFFECT -- emotional poverty or a limited range or depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness in spite of signs of open gregariousness.

8. CALLOUSNESS and LACK OF EMPATHY -- a lack of feelings toward people in general; cold, contemptuous, inconsiderate, and tactless.

9. PARASITIC LIFESTYLE -- an intentional, manipulative, selfish, and exploitative financial dependence on others as reflected in a lack of motivation, low self-discipline, and inability to begin or complete responsibilities.

10. POOR BEHAVIORAL CONTROLS -- expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper; acting hastily.

11. PROMISCUOUS SEXUAL BEHAVIOR -- a variety of brief, superficial relations, numerous affairs, and an indiscriminate selection of sexual partners; the maintenance of several relationships at the same time; a history of attempts to sexually coerce others into sexual activity or taking great pride at discussing sexual exploits or conquests.

12. EARLY BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS -- a variety of behaviors prior to age 13, including lying, theft, cheating, vandalism, bullying, sexual activity, fire-setting, glue-sniffing, alcohol use, and running away from home.

13. LACK OF REALISTIC, LONG-TERM GOALS -- an inability or persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and goals; a nomadic existence, aimless, lacking direction in life.

14. IMPULSIVITY -- the occurrence of behaviors that are unpremeditated and lack reflection or planning; inability to resist temptation, frustrations, and urges; a lack of deliberation without considering the consequences; foolhardy, rash, unpredictable, erratic, and reckless.

15. IRRESPONSIBILITY -- repeated failure to fulfill or honor obligations and commitments; such as not paying bills, defaulting on loans, performing sloppy work, being absent or late to work, failing to honor contractual agreements.

16. FAILURE TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR OWN ACTIONS -- a failure to accept responsibility for one's actions reflected in low conscientiousness, an absence of dutifulness, antagonistic manipulation, denial of responsibility, and an effort to manipulate others through this denial.

17. MANY SHORT-TERM MARITAL RELATIONSHIPS -- a lack of commitment to a long-term relationship reflected in inconsistent, undependable, and unreliable commitments in life, including marital.

18. JUVENILE DELINQUENCY -- behavior problems between the ages of 13-18; mostly behaviors that are crimes or clearly involve aspects of antagonism, exploitation, aggression, manipulation, or a callous, ruthless tough-mindedness.

19. REVOCATION OF CONDITION RELEASE -- a revocation of probation or other conditional release due to technical violations, such as carelessness, low deliberation, or failing to appear.

20. CRIMINAL VERSATILITY -- a diversity of types of criminal offenses, regardless if the person has been arrested or convicted for them; taking great pride at getting away with crimes.

From: http://www.cassiopaea.com/cassiopaea/psychopath_2.htm

February 03, 2008

May not be aware of the implication

Trade unionists may not be aware of the implications of the legal ruling in the Weaver v NATFHE racial discrimination case 1987, which was upheld by the EAT and Lord Justice May at the Court of Appeal. The judgement was that complainants of harassment (racist/sexist or any other form) were not eligible for union assistance because the complaint threatened the tenure of the harasser and the union was under an obligation to protect members' tenure. This ruling applied irresepective of the merit of the complainants case. This policy is still the extant precedent for harassemtn cases (and bullying) and applies to all trade unions. For the reports of the Tribunals and the extensive documentation submitted to these Tribunals visit www.legalferret.net

The above was received as a post to this blog.

UCSF dean is fired, cites whistle-blowing - US

Dr. David A. Kessler, dean of the UC San Francisco School of Medicine, said Friday that he was fired from his post after raising questions about alleged financial improprieties at the school, one of the nation's most prestigious.

Kessler, formerly a high-profile commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said he was asked to resign in June and to keep his concerns private. He refused, he said. "I couldn't resign quietly," Kessler said in an interview with The Times. "I wasn't going to do that."

In a statement, UCSF Chancellor Dr. J. Michael Bishop acknowledged that Kessler had been fired on Thursday and that he had appointed Dr. Sam Hawgood as interim dean. He also said two separate reviews -- one by university officials and another by an outside accounting firm -- "found no evidence of financial irregularities" at the medical school and concluded that it was in "very strong financial condition."

Bishop, who personally wooed Kessler to come to UCSF in 2003, did not provide a reason for the termination but said in the statement that Kessler's appointment was at will, "meaning Dr. Kessler held the appointment at the pleasure of the chancellor."

Officials from the campus and the University of California Office of the President declined to comment further. Kessler said he was told by Bishop this summer that the university wanted to seek "new leadership." He said Friday that he believes he was fired for blowing the whistle on financial irregularities.

Kessler said he was asked to clear out his office by the weekend. He said he will remain a tenured professor of pediatrics and epidemiology. Kessler, who stressed that he still has great respect for the work done at UCSF, would not address whether he would challenge the firing.

As FDA chief, Kessler was well-known nationally for his aggressive regulatory approach, particularly his campaign against the tobacco industry and teen smoking. Before taking over at UCSF, he was dean of the Yale University School of Medicine.

Kessler said UCSF officials from the time of his recruitment misled him about the financial health of the so-called central medical school, which provides funds available for use by the dean. Kessler provided The Times with several internal memos, financial spreadsheets and letters to support his contention.

The central fund's financial health affects the school's ability to remain competitive, recruit prominent faculty and launch innovative research. According to a financial spreadsheet dated April 5, 2007, supplied by Kessler, the school's finance unit projected that the central medical school would run out of money in the 2008-09 fiscal year. By June 2011, it is projected to have negative net assets of $49 million.

According to financial estimates given to Kessler in June 2003, the school was projected to have revenue of $46 million to $47 million each year. In reality, Kessler said, the school's revenue was far below $40 million every year since he arrived, except in fiscal year 2006 because of a one-time patent settlement. "If you had $47 million a year, you wouldn't be in a hole," Kessler said in an interview.

In a letter dated July 5, 2007, Bishop acknowledged to Kessler that the financial data provided to him during his recruitment "did not accurately portray funds available to the dean for discretionary use. In retrospect, I can see how these presentations might have misled you and influenced your decision to accept the offer from UCSF. I regret this circumstance and apologize on behalf of the university."

Kessler himself came under university scrutiny for alleged financial irregularities. In January 2005, an anonymous source contended he "spent or formally committed all of the reserves of the dean's office and has also incurred substantial long-term debt in the form of lavish salary increases and exponential growth in new, highly compensated faculty and staff directly reporting to him."

In July, the University of California said it was unable to substantiate any of the allegations against Kessler. Kessler, 56, led the FDA from 1990 to 1997. During his tenure, he made a point of addressing issues that affected the lives of average consumers, saying he would not cater to special interests. He targeted misleading food labels and unsubstantiated advertising claims, and sought to allow earlier access to treatment for catastrophic diseases, including AIDS.

Most important, perhaps, were his efforts to investigate practices of the tobacco industry. He sought to regulate nicotine like any other drug, urging dramatic action on how cigarettes were sold and advertised. Critics charged that the high-profile leader was motivated by politics and publicity, and that he was overzealous in his testing of new products. He was also criticized for overbilling the government for expenses and repaid about $850.

As UC San Francisco wooed Kessler in 2003, he said he asked many questions about the school's finances, wanting to know if he'd have the necessary resources.

"I was just doing due diligence," he said. "I was trying to do my job. . . . In our work, when you recruit somebody, if a place is in deficit or has problems financially, that's the time when you negotiate with the university for additional resources. "This place looked in OK shape," he said.

Kessler said he relied upon detailed financial information shared with him by Jaclyne W. Boyden, who was then the medical school's vice dean for administration and finance. In a letter dated March 31, 2003, she said the dean's office had about $50.6 million in available funds in 2001-02 and was projected to receive about the same amount the following year.

That June, the school provided him with updated figures showing revenue was actually $46.4 million in 2001-02 and projecting revenue of $47.1 million in 2002-03. But in December 2004, after Kessler had hired his own chief financial officer, he said he received new financial statements that greatly troubled him. The actual revenue in 2001-02 was only $28.3 million and revenue in 2002-03 was less than that.

"I get the December spreadsheet and I say, 'What's going on here?' " he said. "This thing looks all negative now." Not using university funds, Kessler said he brought in an attorney, R. Nicholas Gimbel, to review the situation. In August 2006, Gimbel wrote a letter to university officials questioning the school's honesty with Kessler.

"The actual historic and projected revenue of the School of Medicine was substantially less than what was presented to Dr. Kessler during his recruitment," Gimbel wrote.

In May 2007, University Counsel Jeffrey A. Blair wrote a letter refuting Kessler's allegations. "There is no evidence that any revenue was misreported in any audit or official financial statement," Blair wrote. "Dean Kessler simply chooses to ignore the facts and irresponsibly asserts that they depict 'financial incompetence,' 'cooking the books,' and 'double booking' gift revenues. These are provocative accusations to be sure, but ones that are simply not supported by the facts."

When Kessler was hired, he was given a salary of $540,000 a year, a one-time relocation allowance of $125,000, plus his first six months rent. He also received a low-interest home loan up to $1.8 million, and he was reimbursed for his family's moving costs from Connecticut.

On his termination, Kessler's offer letter calls for him to receive $25,000 per year of service as dean, which amounts to $100,000. As a tenured professor, he will earn $325,000 per year.

From: Los Angeles Times

A few notes on the abuse of occupational health procedures

"Whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first make mad" - Euripides

Over the past few years I have listened to many cheerless stories of individuals who have exposed unacceptable practices within universities and hospitals. The institutional response is almost formulaic.

A frequent part of the common experience is the abuse of occupational health procedures. Following an incident this week involving a colleague, I have summarised some aspects of UK occupational health law below.

Most of these individuals started with the belief that their institutions would assume responsibility for upholding their own rules of conduct. They assumed that responses would be honest, colleagues and professional bodies would behave honorably, and that someone would take responsibility for the safety of the product (whether that product is a drug, honest science, open academic discourse or care of individual patients).

In reality, most are projected into an Alice in Wonderland world of sham procedures, collusion, lies and bullying. Many become ill (see the case of Dr Z), and some die. Distress signals are used by poor managers to invent "health concerns" and to avoid rational discussion about genuine problems. That hospitals and medical schools abuse their staff through health mechanisms is indicative of deep immorality within these institutions. The process usually starts as an apparent expression of genuine concern about the health of the employee.

Sadly, psychopathic administrators and medical leaders are rarely subjected to psychiatric or medical evaluation.

Employees should almost never agree to an employer's "offer" of health evaluation under these circumstances. When such evaluation takes place, it should only be for the benefit of the employee. Any assertion by the employer that they must have any right of access to health information is illegal and constitutes serious bullying.

Aspects of the relevant law is summarised from these sources: a) Occupational Health Law, 4th Edition, Diana M Kloss ISBN 0632-064978, b) Medical Ethics Today: Its Practice and Philosophy, Veronica English, Gillian Romano-Critchley. 2002 2nd Ed. BMJ Books, ISBN 0727917447
  1. The physical occupational health (OH) records technically belong to the employer, but the employer has no right of control or access to the information therein.
  2. OH doctors should have an agreement their employer with regard to confidentiality of records. If the doctor leaves the company, records remain the property of the employer, but should be passed to a new doctor or nurse with the same obligations. If an employee moves to another employment, OH records can only be transferred to the new employer with consent.
  3. Employers cannot enforce terms in contracts of employment stating that employees must provide copies of medical records.
  4. OH doctors have a duty of confidence which is the same as that for any other doctor. For example, if an OH physician were to reveal to the human resources department (without permission) that an employee has a drink problem the doctor could be sued for damages. Secretarial staff who have access to confidential information share these obligations.
  5. According to the General Medical Council there are restricted circumstances under which information could be conveyed by a doctor:
    • The patient explicitly consents.
    • Some circumstances where the doctor shares information with other health professionals caring for that patient
    • Parliament requires disclosure (notifiable diseases, RIDDOR reporting of injuries at work, and more worryingly "terrorism legislation")
    • Disclosure may be made to a statutory regulatory body for investigation into a health professional's fitness to practice (it is worrying that the GMC would see fit to incorporate such a provision without detailed qualification)
    • Disclosure is in the public interest, e.g. to the police about a serious crime
  6. If consent is provided, it can later be withdrawn. Consent should be in writing for the protection of the doctor or nurse. Consent should clarify exactly what records may be passed over - not simply "all records". The OH doctor can refuse to accept partial consent if that would be misleading through omission. An OH doctor should not communicate with the patient's own doctor without consent.
  7. Guidance from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (2002) is more coherent with greater emphasis on the purpose for which information was supplied: "To trust another person with private and personal information about yourself is a significant matter. If a person to whom that information is given is a nurse, midwife or health visitor, the patient or client has a right to believe that this information, given in confidence, will only be used for the purposes for which it was given and will not be released to others without their permission".
  8. Mere attendance at the OH department does not imply consent.
  9. Even if an employer is facing legal action by an employee, OH records should not be disclosed to the employer without consent or a court order.
  10. An occupational health doctor may find that an individual is somehow unfit for a job or that the employee is in danger. This does not justify a breach of confidence. If the danger is to others there may be a case for breach of confidence, but even then this requires very careful deliberation.
  11. Per the Faculty of Occupational Medicine's Guidance on ethics: "Occasionally the occupational physician ....may find that an individual is unfit for a job where the safety of other workers or the public is concerned. He should then take great care to explain fully why he thinks the disclosure of unfitness is necessary.... Where this is not obtained the occupational physician is faced with an ethical dilemma..... Ultimately, the safety of other workers and the general public must prevail..."
  12. Occupational health doctors should not become involved in advising employers on the validity or otherwise of sickness absence of an employee. They can however (in consultation with the employee) advise management on potential changes required to the conditions of employment. The doctor may also advise the employer about future employability but without providing clinical details of sickness to the employer.
  13. Some occupational health records may be of direct relevance to the employer (for example where the employer has a legal requirement to monitor toxic substances). Those records should be maintained separately from other records. Conveying of such records also requires consent.
From: The Scientific Misconduct Blog, by Dr Aubrey Blumsohn