On behalf of the Whistleblower Anti-Bullying Resource Network (WARN), I congratulate President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on their successful Inauguration! I wish their administration great fortune as they now move forward with the hard work of restoring the soul of America.
In speaking via video conferencing with members of his staff on January 20th, President Biden cautioned that if he were to hear of anyone being disrespectful toward a fellow team member: “I will fire you on the spot! ON THE SPOT!” Biden reiterated.
As a whistleblower attorney and anti-bullying expert, I applaud with all my heart President Biden’s efforts to be the opposite of what the outgoing president was reputed to be — a bully in chief. Nevertheless, Mr. Biden’s approach is erroneous.
Leaders do not create a healthy workplace, free of bullying and harassment, by inadvertently creating a chilling milieu where people walk around on eggshells — afraid that the slightest human moment of exasperation might rob them of their livelihood. This misses the point of what a bully-free workplace is.
There is also the reality, I think overlooked in President Biden’s warning to staff, that some people who have closer access to “the boss” will be inclined to set an innocent but unpopular team member up for dismissal due to false accusations. Biden apparently did not speak of a fair and unbiased investigative process. From the CNN clip that I saw, he spoke only of what he might “hear of.”
Moreover, this kneejerk approach to addressing workplace bullying and harassment does not bode well for whistleblowers. If a whistleblower within the Biden administration feels morally compelled to address a wrong, yet knows that he/she will be fired if reported to the president as being “disrespectful,” it will have a chilling effect on bringing truth to light.
After all, every whistleblower is labeled “disrespectful; troublemaker,” and so many other unflattering things by those whose wrongs are being exposed. Branding of this nature is par for the course.
I implore President Biden to reexamine his approach to creating a healthy work environment. I would hope not to see his noble intentions to foster respect and civility ironically become the very tense, chilling and unfair work milieu that he is seeking goodheartedly to avoid.
Shenandoah Titus, Esq., CEO & Author
This article was also posted at DailyProgress.com HERE