End the Code of Silence

Too often managers use the excuse of “maintaining good order and discipline” to mob an employee out of government for other reasons completely. Overusing or misusing the disciplinary process is rampant, with “mobbing” or gang harassment on the rise.

The real reason for this is usually “retaliation”. Retaliation against a whistleblower, retaliation against an employee who complained about discrimination, retaliation against a Union or other administrative grievance.

In the military, retaliation has been reported in 62% of the cases of reported sexual assault. New legislation will make this a crime. It is this betrayal of trust, this betrayal of justice, that leads to so much of the financial and emotional wreckage for soldiers and employees reporting malfeasance in government.

The leadership of the U.S. military at every level has proven they lack the moral courage to solve the sexual abuse crisis. Commanders discourage reporting because it is the reporting of the crimes, far more than the crimes themselves, that interfere with good order and discipline.

Unreported sexual assaults harm the victims. Reported sexual assaults harm the entire unit. Good order and discipline is therefore easier to maintain in a culture that enforces a code of silence. This will never change unless the culture changes. The culture will never change unless Congress imposes fundamental structural changes from the outside.

The approximately 90 percent of the assaults that go unreported most likely disproportionately involve members of the victims’ chain of command. This is because it is absurd to expect victims to come forward to report a crime when it is the criminals or their cohorts themselves to whom the victims will reporting. And the criminals or cohorts will also be responsible for doing the prosecuting. How can this make sense?

Maintaining the readiness of our military force does not require silencing 90 percent of the victims of military sexual assault. Senior leaders in the Pentagon are using the excuse of maintaining good order and discipline to hide their failure as leaders. There is an epidemic of failed leadership across government, not only in the military.

The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) is an important management tool that allows leaders and managers to receive feedback from their employees and to take actions to increase satisfaction and engagement with the ultimate goal of improving services to the American public.

This year, agencies will receive even more granular survey results at manager levels that will allow them to identify challenges and to take specific actions. Let’s drill down into the problem organizations. Let’s remove the poorly rated managers. Let’s prosecute the perpetrators of crimes and civil torts. Let’s end the code of silence in government.

More here: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/opinion/2013/11/26/web-essay-gillibrand-sex-assault-bill-deserves-support/3708289/

and here: http://www.fedview.opm.gov/2013/

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I have shared my comments about the Preview Report for the 2nd US National Action Plan for OpenGov with the WH OpenGov team, OpenTheGovernment.org, Open Government Partnership, OpenGov Hub, and @foundopengov. Given the breadth of the scandals involving the federal departments and agencies, with the US Military taking the prize for the sexual assault cover-ups, I would like to see government accountability front and center. How about you? More here: http://www.whohub.com/meganesque/log
Earl Rice

There is one large Agency, that 80% of their EEO complaints end up in retaliation. And worse, the Agency has had this track records for years. And worse than that, they never do anything about it. Somebody files a complaint, then the retaliations begins, and continues until they run the employee off, one way or another. If it looks like the employee will win, they settle out of court by throwing money at the person to shut them up. And, that counts as a case closed favorably for the Agency.


This seems like another good measure for whether or not bullying is happening in a work unit, or conversely, whether managers with “black marks” are being hired to do the dirty work. Report: TSA employee misconduct up 26 percent over the past three years http://t.co/tGTUZjlxis