Washington State Community College president accused of being a bully

Charlotte Hatfield

Two former employees at Washington State Community College said that the college’s president, Charlotte Hatfield, has bullied employees in an “intimidating” and “demeaning” manner in the seven years that she has worked at the school.

Susan Bayles, the college’s former HR director, said that her reasons for quitting in April 2008 were “routine contempt,” “berating,” and harm to her “emotional and spiritual health” that resulted from Hatfield’s workplace bullying.  Bayles also said that the community college “would qualify as a hostile work environment.”

While at WSCC, Bayles said that she would receive complaints from employees about Hatfield’s abusive behavior on a daily basis.  “There was a real fear there. Folks would leave her office in tears and come to me as the human resources director – and these were not overly sensitive people.”

The former dean of enrollment management, Ann Hontz, said that she suffered mental and emotional abuse from Hatfield.  Though Hontz left the college last summer after working there for 21 years, she said that she still hears from current employees who complain about Hatfield’s toxic behavior.

Despite all of the evidence pointing to the hostile work environment at Washintgon State Community College, the college’s Board of Trustees voted to renew Hatfield’s employment contract through 2011.

In a prepared response to the workplace bullying accusations, Charlotte Hatfield said, “Washington State is known in the community as an excellent place to work.”

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2 responses to “Washington State Community College president accused of being a bully

  1. Sheri Fleegle

    This saga continues. An investigation by the Ohio Board of Regents is little more than a whitewash, pointing out that while she has a bad management style, she has done nothing illegal. Executives and staff employees all over this country have been terminated for less! And is it not illegal to terminate for no reason an employee age 40+ and deliberately replace that individual with a younger person at a higher salary? It is said of workplace bullying that people have no idea what it’s like if they have not experienced it. This is so very true. It is not simply a personality conflict or disliking your boss. This woman lacks any form of leadership skills and has quickly ruined an otherwise fine institution. It is sad that Ohio is one of the states that does not acknowledge the illegality of this type of bullying.

  2. I’ve known Charlotte for about 15 years and worked with her for about 5 years – she’s no bully – her expectations are high for her employees as well as herself and the challenge given to her by the board was to modernize the college and staff and accomplish certain goals…something greatly resisted by many staff members who prefer status quo. There’s always two sides to a story and I’m sad to see these sorts of things said about Charlotte.

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