Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fireman Bullied at Tucson Fire Department

Last Spring, a Tucson firefighter began litigation proceedings against the Tucson Fire Department for their bullying activities against him. Adam Neal accused his co-workers of harassment that included “tying him up with duct tape,” according to an Associated Press article in the Arizona Republic.

Neal stated he endured daily abuse that his supervisors at the Fire Department said was “just part of the training.” Eventually, due to the stress induced by these workplace bullies, Neal required four days of inpatient therapy for depression.

As often happens, the claim was settled out of court. In this case, the settlement was $60,000 but, of course, the Tucson Fire Department had no comment.

From a bottom-line perspective, this case cost much more than $60,000. One of the additional costs includes the time wasted on non-productive activities:
-time devoted to bullying
-time lost due to low employee engagement of the bullies and their target
-time spent on preparing and defending the case
That’s only the beginning.

The next time an organization calls you requesting a contribution, you might want to think about it twice before donating your hard-earned dollars. Do a little research first to learn whether the organization in question has wasted its funds on bullying and other forms of harassment. Somebody has to pay the costs of bullying. But I don’t want to. And you probably don’t either.