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Bill C-42 – Medical Discharges or “Mobbing”

May 12

As Chair of the Lower Mainland Member’s Support Group, I have noticed a disturbing trend from senior management of the RCMP and it’s Human Resources, Health Services sections in the treatment of members who have come forward with allegations of criminal, bullying, harassment, abuse of authority behaviour in addition to other unethical acts. The boast of tackling “dark hearted behaviour” and getting rid of “bad apples” has clearly fleshed itself out to in reality be an all out attack on members who have been harmed in the workplace and suffer the outcomes of “Psychological Violence” by those tasked with the prevention of, and responsibility to address it before, during and after it has occurred. The resultant harm caused,  seriously harms member’s and their families with in some cases having an individual take their own life. The following is a short description of this phenomenon which I believe many member’s will see the parallel.

“Mobbing”, is harassment of an individual who has been targeted by group of other members of an organization, to secure their departure from the organization. It is a coordinated and continuous humiliation, devaluation, discrediting, loss of professional reputation, self esteem and accomplishments to have the person leave or be terminated. The final outcome is a damaged person who suffers from the stigmatization and concomitant financial, career, health and psychological trauma from the experience. In particular Acute depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the following phases show the progressive destruction of the individual.

Phase 1: “Conflict Phase” An issue is created as a trigger to initiate the targeting

Phase 2: “Aggressive Psychological Assaults” The gathering and co-opting participation in  targeting the person.

Phase 3: “Minimizing” Management & Administration dismiss or ignore the attack on the person

Phase 4:”Alliance” Management & Administration ally with the group in targeting the individual.

Phase 5: Expulsion” The individual is terminated or resigns under the weight of torment and threat to their health and wellbeing”

Take Care of yourselves, reach out and speak up if you are being subjected to this type of unjust behaviour.

Stewart Robertson
Chair
Lower Mainland Member’s Support Group

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11 Comments
  1. Anonymous permalink

    Thanks for the information. It will come in handy.

  2. Calvin Lawrence permalink

    I post the below in Nov 05. It is more detailed.

    Calvin
    ——————————————————-
    VAC Pensions and The “Mobbing” Process
    Nov 05

    What some readers may or may not understand is that the payment of Veteran’s Affairs Canada (VAC) pensions plays a part in the “Mobbing” process. (Mobbing Process see below)
    The payment of a VAC pension requires no income tax paper work therefore the public or other government agencies have no idea of the monies or the number of RCMP members who are receiving VAC pension payments.
    Therefore there is no record.
    Once the member retires the pension is not paid from the RCMP budget.
    There have been court cases where the RCMP argued that a civil suit should not proceed because the member is receiving a VAC pension. Then the talk of Medical Discharges kicks into full gear. The process is as follows: Sick Leave, Medical Pension; Mission Accomplished. The RCMP member is out.
    Workplace harassment follows 5 stages
    As was researched and discovered by the late Dr. Heinz Leymann (The Mobbing Encyclopedia) there is a five stage process that occurs when mobbing begins. Once in full swing this process is very difficult if not impossible to stop.

    Stage 1
    This stage begins with an unresolved conflict or a critical incident. Usually the target is an above average employee with a vulnerability that can be exploited. This often stems from jealousy, the need to scapegoat or to deflect blame, or simply because it builds social cohesion in divisive and dysfunctional groups. This stage is very early in the mobbing process, and may not go any further in developing into mobbing.

    Stage 2
    This is where the assaults begin to take place. There are different tactics that are utilized and this is when the process begins to pick up steam. Here a ring leader and allies will not only add fuel to the fire, but sabotage any resolution of the conflict to ensure that the lynching will run its course. They will counter and dismiss all attempts at resolving the conflict and when the outrage seems to be quieting they will rejuvenate the topic by taking it in another direction.

    Stage 3
    This is the stage where management begins to play a role. This is the first step in the elimination process. Managers often misinterpret the situation, and blame falls onto the victim. Supervisors simply don’t want to believe that their employees are capable of this kind of behaviour. With the targets now discredited and stigmatized any defence they make is disregarded. With “reality” now distorted, the individual’s word will not be taken over a group. There truly is strength in numbers.

    Stage 4
    This is where the process meets a critical stage and the target is labeled mentally ill or antisocial. By this time the target has become frustrated, withdrawn and unhappy while coworkers maliciously interpret this as mental illness. The target is highly suspicious of others and often discredited by being labeled as paranoid. Counselling at this point is mostly ineffective, as it does little to relieve the toxicity of the work environment. Unfortunately, many psychologists are ignorant or untrained about mobbing and its devastating effects. They will often attribute this to permanent mental conditions and personality flaws that were “always there” Nobody sees that this is a “normal reaction to an abnormal situation”.

    If the target begins to fight back, he/she is labelled as an aggressor. When the target is excluded or withdraws and seeks solace then he/she is accused of being introverted. The mob will put the target in the compromised position, and will attack him/her for being there. As in any abusive situation, victim blaming is always the aggressors way of abdicating responsibility.

    Stage 5
    This stage is the expulsion process. By this time the target is mentally and physically drained, and has difficulty mustering the resources to provide an adequate defence. Often times there is little due process in the removal of a target and he/she has little chance of succeeding. Management being human as well will take the course of least resistance, they are more concerned about making the problem go away than getting to the root of the problem that is the bullying/mobbing behaviour. It is easier to remove one target than it is to deal with a gang of bullies.

    After the expulsion, the target is emotionally devastated and can often show signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. With their professional reputation destroyed, nobody else wants to hire them. Their lives are all but ruined.

    What does bullying do to your health? Bullying causes injury to health and makes you ill.
    How many of these symptoms do you have?

    constant high levels of stress and anxiety
    frequent illness such as viral infections especially flu and glandular fever, colds, coughs, chest, ear, nose and throat infections (stress plays havoc with your immune system)
    aches and pains in the joints and muscles with no obvious cause; also back pain with no obvious cause and which won’t go away or respond to treatment
    headaches and migraines
    tiredness, exhaustion, constant fatigue
    sleeplessness, nightmares, waking early, waking up more tired than when you went to bed
    flashbacks and replays, obsessiveness, can’t get the bullying out of your mind
    irritable bowel syndrome
    skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, athlete’s foot, ulcers, shingles, urticaria
    poor concentration, can’t concentrate on anything for long
    bad or intermittently-functioning memory, forgetfulness, especially with trivial day-to-day things
    sweating, trembling, shaking, palpitations, panic attacks
    tearfulness, bursting into tears regularly and over trivial things
    uncharacteristic irritability and angry outbursts
    hyper vigilance (feels like but is not paranoia), being constantly on edge
    hypersensitivity, fragility, isolation, withdrawal
    reactive depression, a feeling of woebegoneness, lethargy, hopelessness, anger, futility and more
    shattered self-confidence, low self-worth, low self-esteem, loss of self-love, etc
    Calvin Lawrence (RCMP Retired)
    cglconsulting@yahoo.ca

    • The Old NCO permalink

      Calvin, I am fairly new to this site, and of the various comments I have read I have to say that this article best describes a process I am quite familiar with. I say this because I have experienced a number of these occurrences and symptoms in my last year or so in the force and since. I felt that I was being forced out not by a mob but a Junior Commissioned Officer that I reported to. For some reason he targeted me and also had a reputation for doing the same to other senior NCO’s before myself. I was approaching a full 35 years of service when this was occurring and had planned to extend another eight months as I didn’t want to retire going into a long prairie winter. It was a constant fight with him over that last year or so. He went well out of his way to disrupt my plans and make life as miserable as possible. We even got into a shouting match one day with another Junior Officer present at which time I told him I would resign the following spring. This other Officer was showing signs of discomfort having witness this confrontation, and at a later date even approached me with words of encouragement. To this day I don’t know why he acted the way he did, but I do know I wasn’t the only one that cross paths with him. In at least three cases he did the same thing to senior NCO’s all on the eve of retirement. I had a long and good career and was well respected by most of the members I worked for, with and supervised. The same can be said for the other two NCO’s I know had the displeasure of reporting to this Officer. Not long after my departure from the force I learned that this person had been promoted to supt. I often wonder if he was tasked with getting rid of the old NCO’s to make room for others and as a result was rewarded with the promotion. The sad part of it is that I left after 35 years with a bad taste in my mouth that I haven’t been able to remove. I still experience some of the symptoms you speak of and other then my closes RCMP buddies have nothing to do with my former organization.

  3. DJ Motorcop permalink

    If only they tackled the criminal element with such cunning and zeal. Eight years after Mayerthorpe and they are just now rolling out the carbine training for patrol members. Weapons that would have resolved the incident in St. Paul, quickly and with less risk to members, that are now standard issue in major and smaller forces in North America. Yet eight years after the promises they sit in storage. Yet they had the resources and time to study, develop and implement bill C-42. Imagine a police service using Parliment to gain a death grip on the throats of their employee’s while criminal organizations continue on un fettered and un checked. Imagine a force that claims to be the gold standard in policing failing to equip it’s members so that they are continuously out gunned by goal orientated armed persons. What a waste of government resources! What a preventable tragedy, but when a force turns it’s scope inward then it loses the respect and confidence of its membership as well as, the public to whom all efforts to protect should be directed.

  4. Anonymous permalink

    I read the above by Mr. Robertson and the following submission by Mr. Lawrence and they both hit me smack in the head like a hammer. That is exactly, to a rehearsed tee, what has happened to myself, a 19yr member.
    What is really sad is the fevor by which the current senior management is going after members who’s only fault in many cases is standing up to management. Or like you’ve written, the employee is considered some sort of ‘threat’ to management. Then the bullying, ostracizing, inattention, and targeting begins until the member, like myself, is so worn down that they just give want to give up.
    So, how does a member deal with this and what can they do? In my case using ‘internal mechanisms’ such as grievances is a complete and utter waste of time. Heck I’m still waiting on the outcome of a grievance filed three years ago! Nowhere in private industry would that kind of delay be tolerated. I ended up retaining civil lawyers, have filed one lawsuit to date against the RCMP, and another will be forthcoming.
    From my own experience the only time I have ever made any headway is sadly through the services of external civil lawyers. I pass this along to perhaps save some time for members going through the same frustrating experiences. Don’t waste your time attempting to go through internal ‘channels’, or dialing up the internal ‘support’ services. None of them care, they are all controlled by the senior management in the RCMP, and to date, after five years of trying, I have never gotten anywhere internally.
    The Div Reps? In my experience they have tried to help where they can, but again unfortunately there is no ‘teeth’ to their program, and the program exists under rules created and controlled by senior management. My opinion, we desparately need an external association of some kind, maybe staffed initially by the div reps, but an association that stands completely separate and apart from the management of the RCMP. Until that happens I believe firmly that members have little to no hope.
    Anyways, that’s been my experience to share, and no, I haven’t given up fighting and hope that I can continue to keep it up. If nothing else maybe one day my civil court experiences may help other members across the country.

  5. Buck permalink

    An awesome topic, particularly in light of three members committing suicide in the past three years in the lower mainland (Ken Hind, Pierre Lemaitre, Neil Ogurian), the Force is very hush hush on these things, you know looks bad on the image.

    Unfortunately the unaddressed Grievance scheme (process) is useless and is meant to stall and deny any PROCESS, easy to coverup misconduct and abuse when you can keep it buried in house. Processes work, schemes don’t.

    Only thing a member can do is ensure good documentation, join MPPAC.

    MEAP, RWP, Workplace Relations Units and SRR are all intelligence gathering units to build the “MOB” which will defend upon the member targeted.

    Fun Fact: SRR’s get their annual assessments from the SRR NEC, which is forwarded to the COMMISSIONER who approves their 2 year promotion cycle. Conflict of Interest!!!!!!

    I am amazed how willing (afraid) members are to take this massive type of abuse.

  6. The Old NCO permalink

    Anonymous, I too went through the RCMP grievance system and eventually won after five years of torture. They had to back date a promotion five years with full monetary reimbursement plus benefits, pension etc. The only reason they eventually gave in was because I too was in the process of proceeding with a civil action and I guess they figured I was willing to go all the way. I have to say I was pretty close to just walking away from it. I can’t really say that I won because the toll it took on my health and well being just wasn’t worth it in the end. I continued in the force another four years after the grievance was won but it didn’t end there. If you read my previous comment to Calvin Lawrence’s article you will see that Senior Management made my life miserable to the very end. It is difficult to actually assess what is wrong with the RCMP. I suspect it is a large number of things. There are many good people that served and continue to serve in the organization but a climate of cowardice greed and deceit has always been present with a group of those that choose personal gains and glory over service to the public and being proud of doing a good job. If anyone ever wishes to locate, identify or weed how that group you would be best to start at the top and work your way down.

    • Anonymous permalink

      My experience is similar to Old NCOs.

      Winning a battle only motivates them to go to war with you. You pay a higher price if you don’t roll over in the first place.

      I guess it depends on how much you value your self respect, because that’s all you’ll get from making a stand.

      • The Old NCO permalink

        Yes anonymous you are certainly right. The longer and harder I pursued the grievance things become uglier and I was truly in a fierce battle. I only wanted to receive what I had earned and what was rightfully mine. During the grievance process the mistakes,errors and spiteful actions of upper management were exposed and they didn’t like that one bit. In the end I was about to bring it all out into the open in a civil process and the fact that their actions would no longer be hidden was far to much of an embarrassment for these individuals and the force. The sad reality is that I was left to feel I was fighting with the force, the very organization I held in such high esteem and devoted over 35 years of my life to. Somehow this great big part of my life that was everything to me had just abandon and kicked me to the curb side. Like most members when they joined, I had trusted the organization and figured it would always be there for me. What I didn’t understand or know was the selfish ambitions of some of the people that unfortunately were excepted into the force. The Commission Officer category does not serve the organization well. It has become nothing more than a elite number of poitical appointments that have little to do with the true function of a police force. Much like the scandals we hear of the Canadian Senate and the system that rewards these few, so are the similaries with the Commission Officers of the RCMP. Maybe in the end we expected far too much from the RCMP and made it this prestigious organization it truly is not. The end of the day, it is suppose to be a police force, meant to serve the citizens of our land. We put it up on too high a pedestal and in the process lost concept of what it is we should be doing.

    • Anonymous permalink

      Perfect! Well said Old NCO. That is it in a nutshell. Personal gain over serving the public and doing a good job. To me that is at the core of what is wrong. Working hard and making a difference doesn’t get a member anywhere but burnt out, frustrated and sick…then whatever the fallout of that is. It’s never a good ending for those dedicated, reliable members though.

  7. Anonymous permalink

    After filing a harassment complaint, (long story short), the RCMP are now seeking to medically discharge me. Because mine is recent, I am curious as to whether anyone has actually been discharged under the new bill C-42? I have scoured the net and can’t see that the Commissioner has actually used his newly-given powers of unquestionable discharges- even the news re Galliford shows she was given her Notice of Intent to Discharge but I can’t find anything showing they actually discharged her? Anyone know? Thanks

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