First and foremost, Happy New Year to all! I wish you peace, good health and joy in 2020.
In my book, The Whistleblower: Defeating Bullies, Harassers & Management Gang Retaliation (available on Amazon), I speak rather forthrightly about the realities of the Human Resources (HR) system. To cut to the chase, I contend that most – though thankfully not all – HR offices in the public and private sector are nothing more than pawns of the management gang.
After my book was published, I braced myself for a wave of pushback from the HR community. I anticipated an avalanche of angry rants:
“How dare you say such a thing about the HR community! We are dedicated to protecting employee rights and ensuring that bullying, harassment and retaliation do not occur in the workplace! You should be ashamed of yourself, Mr. Titus!”
To my utter surprise, I have actually received just the opposite feedback from HR professionals. Rather than scorn, I received praise for my stance on HR:
“Attorney Titus, you are a blessing! Thank you for boldly speaking the truth.”
One individual lamented:
“I have always wanted to be a Human Resources professional. I thought I could help a lot of people in that capacity. Instead, what I have found is that office politics rule the day. If an executive wants a particular person hired for a good job – usually his/her friend or due to a favor owed – HR will make it happen whether that person is actually qualified for the job or not. It’s just a matter of posting the job announcement in a way that fits the friend’s background.
Oh, and forget about harassment and bullying complaints. If it’s brought against a favored manager, we (HR) might conduct a pseudo investigation just to put it on the books that the agency “takes these matters seriously.” But unless there’s a smoking gun in terms of evidence, the complaint will almost always be “unfounded.”
And then I pity the poor soul who brought the complaint against the manager. HR will help management find ways of “dealing with” that “troublesome” employee. That sort of gamesmanship and ugly politics was not why I went into HR work. It made me feel very ashamed.”
I have heard from HR professionals who, having tried to do the right thing in these situations, found themselves out of a job due to “poor performance,” notwithstanding the fact that prior to their principled stance, they were considered “high achievers” and held a spotless record. For such noble souls, I always felt the worse because they represented all the good that Human Resources is supposed to stand for.
Throughout my professional experience as a public servant and executive over 22 years, I have witnessed much corruption in the HR system. Where I formerly worked as the first-ever Anti-Harassment Program Manager, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Headquarters, one of the adverse parties in my successful legal action was, get this, the Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer!
Can you imagine the sad irony of that? The Anti-Harassment Program Manager takes legal action against, essentially, the personnel office for harassment, bullying and retaliation! Being a pretty decent lawyer, I prevailed in the action and reached an honorable settlement.
Yet it is most sad, indeed pathetic, that such an action was necessary in the first place against the very office established to protect the integrity of the workplace. Yet that is what happens in the real world when power goes unchecked, and accountability is nonexistent.
HR equality is a myth. Most HR offices in the public and private sector are arms of the management gang. I stand by my assertions.
Yet this does not mean that all HR professionals are corrupt and devoid of principles. On the contrary, I truly believe that most people enter the HR field with good and noble intentions to help people, and to do the right thing.
Yet somewhere along the way, the weak and faint of heart surrender their values to the system – to peer pressure and politics. They are rewarded with salary increases and bigger titles. Yet they become hollow shells, having abandoned their original sense of purpose.
The valiant HR professionals continue to do what they can to help people, with what little authority they have left. They often become the targets of the management gang – bullied, harassed, retaliated against.
Their so-called friends at work have long since abandoned them, out of cowardice and preservation of their comfortable suburban lifestyles. The noble souls often feel alone.
If there is a central theme to my book, it is just that – You are not Alone. You Deserve Better.
I firmly believe we can work together to make things better. What do you believe?
Attorney Shenandoah Titus is the Founder and CEO of WARN (Whistleblower Anti-Bullying Resource Network). To learn more, visit: