Newsletter Articles

The Damage Done by Workplace Jerks

March 22, 2012

Matthew D. Griffith, M.S., RCRSP
Georgia Institute of Technology

Chances are, if you are like most Americans, you have experienced or witnessed a bullying incident in your workplace. A 2010 study by the Workplace Bullying Institute and Zogby International confirmed the findings of their 2007 study that 50% of American workers have experienced bullying at work, 35% experienced it firsthand and another 15% witnessed workplace bullying. Of these 50%, 26% report being the victims of workplace bullying on an ongoing basis.

This is just a small sample of an extensive research base into the dark side of people in organizations. Scholarly research has been conducted under many different labels including workplace bullying, supervisor undermining, interpersonal aggression, abusive supervision, petty tyranny, and incivility in the workplace, among others. Regardless of the title given, these studies all focus around one common subject: workplace jerks. Most of these studies have focused on the destructive side of the jerk’s behavior and found it usually to be directed downward–by supervisors to their subordinates. Nearly all have similar conclusions: these mean-spirited people do a lot of damage to victims, witnesses, and organizational performance.

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It’s Not All Fun & Games!

March 22, 2012

Risk Management for Summer Day Camps

Jen Rose
Assistant Director, Sports and Youth & Family Programs
Southeast Missouri State University

Risk management is a hot topic in the world of campus recreation. Whether we are running sport programs, managing facilities, hosting special events or operating an aquatics center we deal with high-risk situations on a daily basis. It is our responsibility in this profession to be proactive in our risk management procedures and for most departments this is a regular topic of discussion. In the mix of everything we do in campus recreation there is one program area that poses some very serious risks, but is often not even thought about when discussing campus recreation risk management. Youth summer day camps is that often overlooked and systematically run program that holds some serious risks for programs. These camps are just a small part of what we do and are often put on the calendar to make revenue or get the community in the door, but are we protecting ourselves and the participants as much as we can or should?

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Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect

March 22, 2012

Jen Rose
Assistant Director, Sports and Youth & Family Programs
Southeast Missouri State University

Many people involved with the operation of camps and youth programs feel an obligation to protect and support the kids who become involved in their programs, but it is important to know that for most of us it is also a legal obligation.
“Approximately 48 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands designate professions whose members are mandated by law to report child maltreatment” as stated in the Child Welfare Information Gateway in 2010. If your camp falls into one of the above mentioned geographical areas the counselors are most likely required, by law, to report issues. The US Department of Health & Human Services points out that although laws vary from state to state, typically a report must be made when during the course of your job you suspect a child has been abused or neglected, or you observe or have knowledge of a situation in which conditions could result in harm to the child. Mandated reporters can be held legally responsible if they ignore this obligation.

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Education is the Best Offence!

March 22, 2012

Heather Reynolds
Climbing and Outdoor Rec Program Coordinator
Dalhousie University

It was an overcast early spring day in 1992. My partner and I were on a weekend road trip to White Horse slab and Cathedral Ledge in New Hampshire. We’d just completed two full days of climbing and would be soon loading up the car for the twelve hour drive back home. Despite being ardent sport climbers, focusing on routes no higher than fifty feet, we decided to do an easy long multi-pitch route. This means the route would be multiple rope lengths — in the hundreds of feet. I had some experience with this traditional style of climbing, but my partner had none. Off we went. When we had gone about 3 pitches, it started to rain. When it gets wet, a rock face becomes like a skating rink, particularly in climbing shoes. Eventually we decided going up was no longer a safe option, and rappelling down was the only way to go. Our problem was we only had one rope and each anchor point was almost a full rope length away. We could do it with one rope, but it would mean leaving some gear behind. In the end, that didn’t happen since we were not the only climbers in this predicament. We joined up with another group of climbers and used our ropes together to get all five of us off the wall – wet, but safe and sound.

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10 Steps to Spectator Safety

March 22, 2012

The Ball is In Your Court

Katharine M. Nohr, Esq.
Nohr Sports Risk Management, LLC

Hosts of indoor spectator sports have the challenge of providing safe viewing to attendees. In a recent case decided by the Court of Appeals in Oregon, Matson v. Oregon Arena Corp., 242 Or.App. 520, 256 P.3d 161 (2011), the court affirmed a $2,125,000 award of damages to an attendee who sustained damages when she fell 40 feet from a railing in the arena. A jury had found Oregon Arena Corporation (OAC) 50 percent at fault for the injuries that the Plaintiff sustained. The accident occurred when the Plaintiff fell from a railing that enclosed the 300-level smokers’ lounge during a Portland Trail Blazers basketball game at the Rose Garden. Plaintiff alleged that OAC did not post any warning signs regarding the risk of falling, did not have a barrier that would prevent customers from falling and did not implement adequate policies or procedures requiring its employees to warn customers of the danger of sitting on the bench-like platform from which Plaintiff fell. Plaintiff also alleged that the nighttime lighting was insufficient, the bench-like platform gave an impression that it was safe for seating, and that there should have been a video security surveillance system in order to protect customers from harm. The appellate court’s published decision primarily addressed issues regarding jury instructions and did not provide details of how OAC was negligent.
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