Contact Patricia G. Barnes at  barnespatg (at) gmail.com.

I.  Real Diversity Includes Age

Elephant The elephant in the workplace is age discrimination. I have written two books on age discrimination, Overcoming Age Discrimination in Employment: An Essential Guide for Workers, Advocates & Employers (2016) and the  ground-breaking Betrayed: The Legalization of Age Discrimination in the Workplace (2014).  Older workers are subject to systemic inequality under federal law that effectively encourages bullying and discrimination against older workers.  Yet, age discrimination, like race and sex discrimination, is based upon false stereotypes, irrational fear and animus toward aging .  Older workers are a tremendous asset for any company. They provide institutional knowledge, experience and a strong work ethic. Due to demographic shifts, many employers will find it advantageous to retain older workers in the future. It is self-defeating to expose older workers to  debilitating and inaccurate stereotypes at work. For many older workers, the workplace is an unfriendly and difficult environment. What is needed is a new model of diversity that acknowledges ageist stereotypes and results in improved inter-generational work relationships. It’s not just a one-way street. Many older workers can benefit from examining the changing dynamics of the workplace.  I am a recognized in the area of age discrimination  and workplace abuse. In addition to my book, I have a blog called Age Discrimination in Employment where I write about the topic. I am also the author of the best-selling legal guide on workplace bullying, Surviving Bullies, Queen Bees & Psychopaths in the Workplace (2012).

II.  Creating a Healthy Workplace


Why do employers subsidize workplace bullies?  Bullying causes unnecessary turnover, poor morale that results in lower productivity, higher health care costs, risky litigation, etc. Bullying is at the heart of many if not most employment discrimination lawsuits. Even if an employee loses a lawsuit, the employer will pay tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees.  That’s good money after bad.  All research shows that bullies act for their own reasons, which have nothing to do with the well-being of the company. It is vitally important  today for employers to actively work to prevent  the occurrence of workplace bullying and abuse and, when it happens, to respond promptly and effectively. The core of this talk is an explanation of the general legal environment with respect to workplace bullying – what is  bullying versus illegal harassment, what steps is a reasonable employer  expected to take to take to avoid bullying and harassment; and effective ways for employers to respond to bullying complaints. The specificity of the talk depends upon the nature of the audience (i.e., attorneys, managers or employees). I am the author of Surviving Bullies, Queen Bees & Psychopaths in the Workplace, which provides a legal overview of the problem of abuse and bullying in the American workplace. I also write extensively about abuse, bullying and discrimination in my syndicated  employment law blog,  When the Abuser Goes to Work.   

III.  Transcend Stress in the Workplace

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My book, Transcend Your Boss: Zen and the Difficult Workplace, is entertaining and informative but it also addresses the serious problem of stress in the workplace. Many high achieving workers suffer from stress and anxiety that  can cause potentially severe mental and physical damage. This kind of stress leads to burnout, needless turnover, lost productivity, higher health costs, etc.  Many if not most employment discrimination lawsuits  stem from some form of bullying.  This is the first book on using meditation techniques to deal with workplace stress.

IV. The Changing Face of Book Dedications

In Tender, Tawdry & Timeless Book Dedications, I explore the changing face of book dedications over time, from lovely poetic verses of the Elizabethan era to the sometimes tawdry dedications written by today’s authors. This talk features entertaining examples of book dedications at various points in history, and the interesting stories behind them.