Daily Archives: September 29, 2006

Ableism in the Human Rights Committee: What is bullying?


  • constant nit-picking, fault-finding and criticism of a trivial nature – the triviality, regularity and frequency betray bullying; often there is a grain of truth (but only a grain) in the criticism to fool you into believing the criticism has validity, which it does not; often, the criticism is based on distortion, misrepresentation or fabrication
  • simultaneous with the criticism, a constant refusal to acknowledge you and your contributions and achievements or to recognise your existence and value
  • constant attempts to undermine you and your position, status, worth, value and potential
  • where you are in a group (eg at work), being singled out and treated differently; for instance, everyone else can get away with murder but the moment you put a foot wrong – however trivial – action is taken against you
  • being isolated and separated from colleagues, excluded from what’s going on, marginalized, overruled, ignored, sidelined, frozen out, sent to Coventry
  • being belittled, demeaned and patronised, especially in front of others
  • being humiliated, shouted at and threatened, often in front of others
  • being overloaded with work, or having all your work taken away and replaced with either menial tasks (filing, photocopying, minute taking) or with no work at all
  • finding that your work – and the credit for it – is stolen and plagiarised
  • having your responsibility increased but your authority taken away
  • having annual leave, sickness leave, and – especially – compassionate leave refused
  • being denied training necessary for you to fulfil your duties
  • having unrealistic goals set, which change as you approach them
  • ditto deadlines which are changed at short notice – or no notice – and without you being informed until it’s too late
  • finding that everything you say and do is twisted, distorted and misrepresented
  • being subjected to disciplinary procedures with verbal or written warnings imposed for trivial or fabricated reasons and without proper investigation
  • being coerced into leaving through no fault of your own, constructive dismissal, early or ill-health retirement, etc

Ableism in the Human Rights Committee: Sabotage 2

Earlier in the month I wrote the draft of an article covering the last Human Rights Committee Conference, to be submitted to the UTLA newspaper, The United Teacher,  and posted it to the Human Rights Committee listserve, asking for revisions, corrections, suggestions,  and photographs.  A few corrections were suggested and revisions were made, and with the approval of the Chair of the Committee, Steve Seal I sent the article on, to UTLA  staff member K.T. for publication.  As we got closer to the submission deadline I contacted K.T. to make sure she had all the information she needed. She informed me that the UT was not going to use the article afterall, that  “Ethel” and “Gilroy” had provided another article on the upcoming HRC/CAMS conference instead.  No one had told me that a change had been determined. I was totally broadsided!  I immediately called Steve Seal, the Committee Chair, and he said he had heard nothing about this either, that Ethel and Gilroy, instead of engaging in democratic dialogue and suggesting changes to the proposed article, or even proposing a substitute article, silently and behind the scenes, went about replacing the article that had been approved by the Committee, including the Committee Chair, with one of their own.


As it was, the first article was challenged by a key concept in journalism: timeliness.  The conference had taken place last May and the article would be coming out in late September, early October.  The emphasis on the HRC/CAMS conference was more appropriate, with a reference to other Committee activities and previous conferences placed later in the article.  KT and I worked together to modify the CAMS conference article, adding  descriptions and photos of  the previous conference. The outcome was an article that was stronger than either of the two rival articles.   

So, what’s the problem?

Ethel and Gilroy KNEW they were subverting my work, which is classic bullying.  They had an opportunity to make changes to the article and even propose a different article or direction, when the matter was brought up on the listserve. They could have approached Steve with their concerns, if they had legitimate reasons for not working with me and the rest of the Committee, via the listserve, to revise the article. 

This matter was addressed at the first HRC Meeting, on September 27, 2006 and the revised article was presented, hot off the presses much to the surprise of Ms. Ethel and Mr. Gilroy who sat silently as both  Andy and I explained to the Committee what had happened and confronted E. and G. about what they had done.  There was nothing to say in their defense.    

This,   along with the strange emails from Gilroy regarding the names I sent him from the sign in sheets, and the  underhanded behavior of Camile, holding onto sign in sheets,  that were my responsibility to add to the listserve, is typical bullying behavior.


Steve was confronted with the unanswered phone call and emails regarding this underhanded behavior, and finally provides the  following email:

——– Original Message ——– 


Subject: Re: second post: : Re: [utla-hrc-discussion] re: HRC issues
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2006 20:19:05 -0700
From: steve seal <steveseal@msn.com>
To: <emmarosenthal@earthlink.net>
References: <4505695A.7000209@earthlink.net> <450EBE86.4050106@earthlink.net>

I have discussed the matters with Gilroy and Camille and have received assurances that we will all be able to work together on our committee priorities.  There should be no further personal attacks from anyone on the listserve or anywhere within this committee.  I feel that the situation with Clarence and his attire is one that I really have no say in.  It is not up to me to judge the attire of any person wherever they are.  This is an individual issue and I think that it has been blown out of proportion under the rubric of sexual harassment.  You are an important part of this committee and so are the others.  We need to be able to work together, period.  I think that much of the wording on the proposal that came out at the meeting will be useful to further our work, and I look forward to discussing it later at the next meeting.

Take care