Workplace abuse

I worked for 2 companies in the private sector wherein the authority to discipline employees and the authority to administer discipline laid solely in the hands of one individual. In one case, the owner of the company was the sole authority and in the other case, one of the managing partners had the authority to administer discipline. In both cases, the HR department had no real authority to enforce any violations of workplace decorum and conduct. In the second case I mentioned, a senior partner of the law firm would yell and scream out obscenities from his office suite that was in earshot of most of the other employees, and he did this obnoxious verbal abuse 3 or 4 times a day. The HR administrator’s office was right next to his. But the administrator and now I’m just guessing, seemed afraid to discipline the attorney for fear of losing his job. There is an old adage that never seems to get old: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”; (Lord Acton, 1887); and that is what workplace abuse is:  the power to wield one’s will over another without fear of reprisal.

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