Do laws apply to workplace bullying?

It’s important to dispel myths about workplace bullying.  One of these myths is that you have NO recourse here in the U.S.  The truth is that there are some protections in place that might come into play but they are often hodge podge and extremely difficult to win.  Which brings home the need to ignore the self-interest of well-meaning advocates and instead rely on individualized advice from an actual employment attorney  to see what recourse, if any, applies to your situation.  The EEOC has noted that the majority of cases that fall under harassment protections – or outside as they do in many workplace bullying situations – are often won on retaliation claims.  Here’s a Connecticut case that is making it’s way through the courts and represents a variety of today’s labor issues; forming a union, whistleblowing, retaliation and bullying.  It also shows the difference in how individual states interpret Federal law such as, in this case, free speech.   It’s frightening to think of the number of government regulations meant to protect our lands that are ignored because an employee would be fired for speaking up about their managers actions to their superiors.   That’s the claim in Ozols vs. Town of Madison — read it for yourself below. Continue reading

University Workers Complain Workplace Bullying Policies Fall Short

When Policies Don’t Work

I would give anything to have the U.S. replicate the broad national investigation of abuse in our work cultures that Australia is currently undergoing.  [sign our petition] At least we can watch from halfway around the world and learn from information being presented.  Because, one of the issues being discussed is that policies in the workplace need certain components if they are going to be effective.   Unfortunately, here in America the most popular template for legislation, the Healthy Workplace Bill, doesn’t even require employers to put policies in place much less dictate that the point person for employees to complain to should be separate from HR.  Hopefully that will change and the bill will be amended by some smart legislator before it passes. Continue reading

Unions join fight to stop bully bosses…

Have city workers in Norfolk, Virginia find a solution to clean up toxic workplaces.  Is this something you can replicate?  Maybe, with a little help from your union…

[ABC WVEC.com David Ham full article and video]  NORFOLK  — A new workplace bullying policy is being developed for nearly 4,000 city employees.

The new policy would include workplace bullying in its harassment policy.

City workers say bullying has been an increasing problem throughout all departments.

“In some cases, supervisors may just have it in for somebody and then they tend to try to find every little thing they can write them up for,” said Jane Bethel, president of NAGE Local 200.

Assistant city manager Melanie Purcell says she’s drafting the new policy to let all employees know what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable.

“Bullying is characterized by intimidation- both physical and mental intimidation actions that would make someone uncomfortable, and it’s persistent,” said Purcell.

While she’s drafting the new policy, Purcell has suspended all disciplinary actions until each case can be reviewed again.

The new policy is expected to be formally announced to all employees in June.