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Martin Luther King Day Of Service Starts At Work

Martin Luther King Day of Service Starts at Work

Did you know that Martin Luther King was only 26 years old when he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott?  At the age of 35 he won the Noble Peace Prize and at 39, he was slain in Memphis, Tennessee. On this day of service, we all can take a look back to the dream for equality for people regardless of race, gender, class, religion etc.

In 1963, he wrote Letter from a Birmingham Jail in which he writes, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”  While this wisdom at the time was applied to the social inequities across our country, the same philosophy still applies when we find injustice in the workplace.  Harassment, bullying, and retaliation cost organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Did you know that 37% of the general population will face workplace bullying according the Namie and Namie of the Workplace Bullying Institute? The recent book, Bully in the Ivory Tower confirms that workplace bullying is even worse in higher education with 62% of employees facing bullying. In regard to civil rights statutes, retaliation continues to be the largest EEOC complaint area; a complaint status where someone exercises his or her civil rights, yet faces ill will or adverse action as a result. Every day, over 550 NEW workplace discrimination complaints are filed against small business owners. Seeking equity for everyone can minimize these complaints and the cost associated with defending the organization.

The beginning of the year.

It is a great time to have an internal day of service to cultivate a healthy workplace and maintain critical productivity as the year gets under way.

1)      Group training.  When a culture is trained to identify quarantine and eradicate bullying, the workplace is a safer place.  Group training would assist staff members in identifying bullying and empower staff to address it head on.  Further, training would include policy analysis and implementation.  While staff may be trained, the organization also needs to have an early alert system, a sanctuary where targets can report issues, and a clearly defined organizational time line to address the problem.

2)      Individual interventions.  Coaching can work for individuals to create candid interventions for those who exhibit bullying tendencies. Individual interventions would include developing strategic solutions to comply with the organization’s anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies, also establishing a leadership action plan for productive engagement with his or her staff.

Guard against bullying, discrimination and harassment in your work place.  Have proper training and intervention to create a positive, inclusive and productive workplace.

Leah Hollis, Ed.D. is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire, a blogging community created by Annie Jennings.