While no one wants to be forced into a costly court battle, too many have no choice and passage of the bipartisan Civil Rights Tax Relief Act could make it easier for everyone involved in employment discrimination cases. [companion version] Continue reading
I believe that if we’re honest with ourselves we can learn some hard lessons from Freedom From Workplace Bullies Week – an event that has been around for at least 4 years. This year I decided to join in the effort and sponsor Take Action Screenings and offered free DVDs as part of our new initiative to use film to create change. I’m delighted that the videos were used by advocates in a dozen states – and Australia – in a wide variety of venues. But, I also recognize that this is a drop in the bucket for what needs to happen on a broader level. Freedom From Workplace Bullies Week has been in place nearly half a decade. And, while we applaud the efforts of others scattered around the country who worked hard to garner signed proclamations in 38 cities and one county, it’s important for us to heed this as a wake-up call. As near as I can tell there are some 30,000+ cities in the US. That’s not to denigrate any of the work others are doing – it’s merely meant to raise the bar. Ironically, workplace bullying was more prominently covered by the media in the months leading up to the event. So, the real question is: why hasn’t this effort really resonated beyond a small cadre of people into a true coalition? Is it time for a new approach? Here’s an article from WhenTheAbuserGoesToWork.com that asks just that. Patricia Barnes asks that we start to look in new directions. In keeping with our mission to foster open and frank discussion, you don’t have to agree with her or me but you do owe it to yourself to become part of the discussion. READ ON:
Labor Secretary Sleeping on the Job?
The Canadian province of Quebec amended its Labour Standards Act in 2002 to ban non-discriminatory workplace harassment and bullying. The law, which went into effect on June 1, 2004, also imposes a duty on employers to prevent and stop bullying.
According to one observer, the law was the result of a sustained campaign by Quebec unions, as well as by a non-profit advocacy and resource group for non-unionized workers, “Au bas l’echelle” (in English, “Rank and File”).
This effort resulted in the establishment in 1999 by then Minister of Labor, Diane Lemieux, of an Interdepartmental Committee on Psychological Harassment at Work. The committee in 2001 recommended the government take legislative steps to prohibit psychological harassment.
It is time for unions and workplace anti-bully advocates to call upon U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis to empanel a commission to study the problem of workplace bulling in the United States and recommend new legislation to Congress.
There is overwhelming research that the problem of workplace bullying is epidemic in the United States, affecting at least one in four workers, and that workplace bullying destroys lives and costs American employers billions every year.
Efforts began in the United States almost a decade ago to pass a so-called Healthy Workplace Bill on a state-by-state basis. Thus far, no state has adopted the bill, which is much weaker than Quebec’s legislation.
Meanwhile, the worsening economy has left more and more workers vulnerable to bullying. Not only are there fewer jobs, but the nature of the workforce is changing. More workers today are categorized as “independent contractors” who receive no benefits and low pay. These include home-workers, tele-workers, piece-workers.
Even if one state does step up and adopt a workplace anti-bully bill, it will take decades, if ever, before all of the states do.
*** See Debra L. Parkes, “Targeting Workplace Harassment in Quebec: On Exporting a New Legislative Agenda” (2004) 8 Empl. Rts. & Employ. Pol’y J. 423.
Ever since the landmark workplace bullying case was upheld by Indiana’s Supreme Court, the Joint Commissions has required that Hospitals address civility issues as a requirement in their accreditation process. Many states require lawyers adhere to civility codes for conduct in the courtroom. Now, according to NewHampshireSentinel.com, Rep. Susan Emerson, R-Rindge, is proposing a bill to stop bullying among legislators in her state capitol. Continue reading
It’s important to know your rights…in many cases bullying IS already illegal
[Press Release from EEOC]
EEOC Explores Plight Of Older Workers In Current Economic Climate
Commission Hears Poignant Testimony of Employee Discharged After 31 Years, Panelists Discuss Scope of Age Discrimination
WASHINGTON— At a meeting held today, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission heard testimony that age discrimination is causing the nation’s older workers to have a difficult time maintaining and finding new employment, a problem exacerbated by the downturn in the economy. The number and percentage of age discrimination charges filed with the EEOC have grown, rising from 16,548 charges — 21.8 percent of all charges — filed in fiscal year 2006, to 22,778 —24.4 percent — in fiscal year 2009. Continue reading
I became a co-founder of the fledgling cyber-group called the International Educational Coalition on Workplace Bullying. I’m excited that the Coalition allows me to join so many others in freely promoting critical discussion, context and analysis of all the research taking place and how it impacts the overall understanding and prevention of hostile work environments. Everyone visiting our Facebook Page is encouraged to add their own opinion and approach. Do I personally agree with everyone who posts on the site? No, and I’m proud to say that even the three of us who originally founded the IECWB don’t agree on all aspects of the issue and encourage everyone visiting the site to have that same healthy discourse. Our International focus has allowed different perspectives, coupled with personal experiences, to come together on one page. It’s been eye opening to see how even countries with Workplace Bullying legislation in place are still struggling to define the best resolutions.
We bring together psychologists, lawyers, researchers, business & Human Resource representatives, advocates and victims to create a forum for all our voices. And, there are so many things to discuss, below is just a sampling:
Support of strong Workplace Violence legislation that includes Workplace Bullying (Type 3 Workplace Violence) and making the link to Type 4 which includes Domestic Violence in the workplace as well as specific issue Workplace Bullying bills
Strengthening OSHA health harming protections
Strengthening Workers Compensation and how it can help targets currently suffering
Exploring Arbitration, ADR & Mediation as a way for targets to find relief
Putting aside the demonization of HR and Business owners and creating a true dialogue with those that want to support us
Discussing the types of policies and approaches that are actually effective and encourage a healthy workplace that discourages bullying behavior.
Staying current with evolving research in PTSD, Stress, Anxiety Disorders
Please take a moment to visit the IECWB site to find information, share information, and join the global discussion.
Several major publications have recently posted articles on the topic…hopefully this means victims will start getting the attention they deserve and a better law. As someone whose life was turned upside down by an abusive boss all I can say is — it’s about TIME. I’ve been making documentaries for 20 years that have been well received at major film festivals and on TV (HBO, PBS etc). Last year I launched an online documentary about the struggle to pass legislation to stop abusive bosses. This is probably the hardest of all the topics I’ve taken on. The stigma attached to victims makes it difficult for people to take seriously. And the mainstream press rarely goes beyond the “go to” sites to do some real in depth reporting…it’s much more complicated than the ‘branding’ that’s out there.