Worst Bosses of 2010

I recently came across a website that lists the alleged “Worst Bosses of 2010.” Now ,it’s not a scientific study, and it’s based on submissions by thousands of individuals around the country to the eBossWatch website (whose tag line is “Nobody should have to work with a jerk.”). That said, I continue to be stunned (I know, I should be less naïve – especially given the work I do) by what bosses do in this day and age.  A few striking examples from this site:

• Sexual harassment: “no honey, no money” was one of the comments from a male boss to his female assistant – and you thought the casting couch was a thing of the past!

• Racial harassment: the white boss saying it was “just a joke” when he discussed the marks a rope would make around an African-American employee’s neck

• Assault, as well as sexual and racial harassment by the female African-American boss who tried to run over a white, male employee in retaliation after he alleged that she called him her pet dog and snapped her fingers at him saying, “Come here, white boy.”

And, lest you think that it doesn’t happen around here, state of Washington bosses landed tsix times on the top 100 “Worst Bosses of 2010.” . The honorees were:

# 8: Don Gough, Mayor, City of Lynnwood for sexual harassment and the creation of a hostile work environment.  A number of his female employees have accused him, and the City recently settled a lawsuit for nearly $50,000 with several of them.

# 17: Three managers of the Evans Fruit Company in Sunnyside were named in a lawsuit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for “sexual comments, propositioning and physical groping” of female employees, including a 15 year old.

# 43: Greg Lassiter was fired as Snohomish County Planning Director for exposing himself to a woman during a golf tournament.  His behavior recently resulted in the County’s settling a lawsuit for $600,000. His Deputy Planning Director, Greg Morgan, was named #56 on the “worst bosses” list for helping create a “Harley club” for male managers whose members allegedly regularly left work early, got drunk, rode their motorcycles, and supported one another in firing and promoting favorites.

# 86: In a letter from her colleagues to the site, State Senator Pam Roach was chastized for “an ongoing pattern of treating your co-workers and employees with hostility and anger. As your fellow Senators, it is difficult to be in a room with you when you erupt in anger. For our employees it is unacceptable.”

So, most unfortunately, we in Washington are well represented here. As we close out 2010, I’d challenge each of us to make sure that we would be found on a “best bosses” list because we understand our own power and use it for good by

• Setting and modeling clear, high standards for workplace behavior and civility, and expecting and helping all employees meet them

• Treating all employees fairly and equitably

• Demonstrating caring and compassion for staff and customers/clients

• Helping all employees meet the organization’s goals as well as their own professional goals

• Supporting the greater community by giving back and encouraging our employees to do so as well.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday and a great 2011! We’ll be back next year. ~ Daphne Schneider

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