15 Years Later: Harassment Laws Still Broken

March 8, 1998 the Washington Post published an Op-Ed in response to a Supreme Court decision, Oncale v. Sundowner. Sadly, the essence of this Op-Ed still resonates today: “Predicating harassment suits on discrimination is also something of a mismatch; what bothers people about abusive workplace conduct, after all, is not the fact that it may be discriminatory but that it is abusive in the first place… Congress should decouple Continue reading

Military Rape Victims Speak Out In Documentary

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has acknowledged the immediate need to combat sexual abuse and harassment in all branches of the military. This will require major overhauls in how the military approaches sexual misconduct amid allegations that one of the people running a prevention program was guilty of the same abuse. “We have a problem with respect for women that leads to many of the situations that result in sexual assault in our Air Force,” Gen. Mark Welsh told reporters in a lengthy interview in his Pentagon offices [Time Magazine ] The Invisible War, the 2012 chilling Academy Award nominated documentary features haunting testimony from rape victims in the military.

Pima County Puts Witnesses of Workplace Bullying On Notice

Seal of Pima County, Arizona

[12/6/13 Update] Last night the Tucson JCC screened my documentary, What Killed Kevin, followed by a panel discussion that included Mike Tully, one of the primary authors of the Pima County workplace bullying policy. He is genuinely committed to making this legislation work. His work will become an invaluable test case of how to address investigating and implementing a policy like this. It also emphasizes the difficulty of how to find a definition of workplace bullying. Faced with this dilemma, Tully chose a list of behaviors that could be pointed to as unacceptable and enforced.

[Original post from April 24, 2013] Last week Pima County, Arizona implemented policy D.23.1 Preventing, Identifying and Addressing Workplace Bullying for their County employees. [D23-1 ]  New rule: witnesses along with anyone who was made aware of behavior that may satisfy the definition of workplace bullying must now report the incident/s. Continue reading

Utah’s unique approach to workplace bullying legislation worth a second look

Utah State Capitol

Utah State Capitol

Utah’s HB 196, Abusive Workplace Policies Act, was defeated last spring but it had some unique and refreshing aspects.  Despite placing the ill-conceived hurdle of “malice” in the path of victim/targets — something even Healthy Workplace Bill (HWB) advocates are finally acknowledging needs to be retired — HB 196 would have required Utah’s state agencies to create policies and conduct management trainings to protect their public employees. Most experts agree that the key to stopping and preventing workplace bullying rests in the hands of the employer. And, in this case state agencies could have simply expanded harassment, discrimination, or workplace violence training already in place — similar to municipalities like Ventura County, California have done recently. [see our article on Ventura].  This bill was supported by the Utah Public Employees Association.   UPEA also supported HB 251: Utah Personnel Management Act Amendments saying, “as a result of a 2010 legislative audit noting that only 8% of state managers have any management training, UPEA asked Rep. Brad Daw to sponsor this bill, which requires DHRM to develop a manager and supervisor training.” Looks like those legislative audits come in handy after all.