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Ventura County Uses Workplace Violence Policies to Stop Bullying

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Last May  the Ventura County Grand Jury (CA) submitted their “Final Report on Bullying in the Workplace.”  Free of divisive and accusatory rhetoric it neatly outlines the need and procedures necessary to start correcting the situation.  Included in the report is a link to an online Sample Workplace Bullying Policy.   The report includes discussion of overlaps with existing discrimination and workplace bullying policies:

“FI-02. Processes in place to report workplace behavior problems are  not trusted by employees because  the  agency with the alleged  bullying issue is allowed to investigate complaints using personnel within its own organization. This system risks the exposure of a complainant’s identity  and reinforces employee perception that  the investigation would not be conducted fairly. (FA-05, FA-06, FA-12).”

“The Grand Jury recommends that the Ventura County Board of Supervisors (BOS) issue a policy against bullying and collect data to identify the existence and extent of bullying in branches of County government.  The CEO-HR should establish an independent process to report cases of bullying. This process should include a separate bullying hotline staffed by non-County personnel for documenting complaints. Investigations into bullying complaints should be coordinated by the CEO-HR. This should include direct oversight of all investigators and enforcement  of restrictions that preclude investigators from handling complaints within their own departments”

Board Response and Changes

Equally fascinating is the Boards response [September 2011].  NB: While some have said there’s no “bite” in the Grand Jury’s ability to implement changes, this approach should mesh well with the goal of many advocates for anti-bullying legislation who claim they are against large settlements and are really fighting to put policies and procedures in place.  The actions of the Board shows how quickly and cost effectively many of our workplaces can comply with needed changes.  SEIU did a survey that found widespread bullying.  Although it should be noted that their definition very broad.  Here are some “highlights:”

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