Sobering Story of a Suicide Offers Glimpse Into Work of Ombuds

Last month, an editor of the renowned Virginia Quarterly Review took his own life after complaints of workplace bullying. An investigation by the Chronicle of Higher Education reveals that the situation was known to administrators at the University of Virginia and that the victim had sought assistance from the campus Ombudsperson. In a follow-up story by ABC News, the victim's sister shared phone records showing calls to the UVA Ombuds office less than two weeks prior the suicide. The article offers a glimpse into the kind of case that Organizational Ombuds will find very familiar and an outcome all Ombuds fear. (Chronicle of Higher Education; ABC News.)

Previously posted on The Ombuds Blog.

Related posts: Restructuring at University of Virginia Divests Ombuds of Mediation...; The Story of a Suicide -- An Ombuds' Worst Case Scenario; Ombuds to Lead ADRhub Webinar on Bullying.

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Comment by John C. Turley on August 20, 2010 at 10:55pm
A co worker of mine at Siemens in Michigan took his own life several months ago. The company decided to reduce staff in the state with the highest level of unemployment in the country because of poor sales figures. He found a lesser paying job;however, he could not meet his expenses and support his family. His suicide note stated that he could no longer take the pressure and the uncertainty during these troubled economic times. I learned of his suicide many months after the fact from another colleague who was also terminated thanks to the company's RIF. I was speechless when I heard the tragic news. How could a bright, talented and successful person end his life because of circumstances beyond his control? Bullying takes many forms in our society particularly at the corporate level.


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