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Thursday, March 12, 2020

A thank you and a mission statement


Tomorrow, I was to receive my award from the Cleveland-area chapter of the National Association of Social Workers as its Public Citizen of the Year. Sadly, but understandably, coronavirus caused the event to be postponed. Since I will not have the opportunity to deliver my remarks (and I’m not sure when I will), I’m sharing them here.

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Thank so you much. When I initially received the email letting me know that this chapter has chosen to recognize a management-side employment lawyer as its “public citizen of the year,” I thought that they must have the wrong Jon Hyman … unless the recognition is for business development based on the number of litigating employees I’ve caused throughout my career to retain social-worker services.

Then I read the actual description of the recognition and understood. “His blog provides advocacy that is highly consistent with social work values and couched in ways that impact major decision-makers in corporations, reaching many of the people social workers may not.” The only word I can use to describe this award is “humbling.” Never could I have imagined when I started the Ohio Employer Law Blog almost 13 years ago that I could and would impact people in this way. So thank you Region 3 of the Ohio Chapter of the NASW.

Given the times in which we live, I believe this recognition is especially important.

I fear that our society is reaching the end of civility. Behavior models start at the top, and we all have a terrible role model currently inhabiting 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

My same fear holds true for the workplace. If an organization is run by intimidation, scare tactics, harassment, and discrimination, then it should come as no surprise when managers and supervisors think they need to motivate their teams by yelling, harassing, sniping, and snubbing. It should also come as no surprise when employees respond by treating each other similarly. We can all do better; we all should do better; and we all must do better.

Thus, I am honored to be recognized for the small role I have played and will continue to play in helping to make our workplaces more inclusive, more civil, and more kind.

Thank you to all who have played a role in the formation and continuation of the Ohio Employer Law Blog.

To all of the employers who have provided textbook examples of workplace behavior not to emulate.

To all of my readers and subscribers, and to anyone who has ever shared, tweeted about, linked to, or commented on anything I’ve written. My content is only as valuable as the people it serves and inspires.

To my Meyers Roman partners, who have provided immeasurable support to keep my blog a going concern.

To my kids, who inspire me to want to make the world a kinder place.

And last, but certainly and never least, to my wife, who often comes downstairs at 6 am to find me typing away, and asks, “What are you working on so early?” My answer, “My blog for today.”

Thank you.

* Photo by Courtney Hedger on Unsplash