Public awareness of workplace bullying has never been higher, thanks to high-profile cases such as the one involving Miami Dolphins teammates Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin. Affecting 37% of adult Americans, bullying can trigger a range of stress-related health complications—including hypertension, auto-immune disorders, depression, anxiety, and PTSD—and put a person’s career in danger.
The Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) defines workplace bullying as “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators that takes one or more of the following forms: Verbal abuse, offensive conduct/behaviors (including nonverbal) which are threatening, humiliating or intimidating, work interference—sabotage—which prevents work from getting done.”
Still not sure what constitutes workplace bullying? The American Psychological Association’s Center for Organizational Excellence created a brief animated film about workplace bullying that depicts bullying incidents among coworkers and ways to address them:
What’s Being Done?
WBI is developing the Healthy Workplace Bill, defining employer responsibilities and employee rights with regard to workplace bullying.
This following video from The Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Advocates outlines the need for legislation and presents the substance of this bill:
Law Professor David Yamada, who helped author the bill, has this to say, “The Healthy Workplace Bill (HWB) is model legislation I authored that provides severely bullied employees with a legal claim for damages, creates legal incentives for employers to act preventively and responsively with regard to bullying behaviors, and protects those who have made complaints or filed suit about workplace bullying from retaliation. Variations of the HWB have been introduced in 26 state legislatures since 2003. Thanks to the work of advocates across the country, we are getting closer and closer to making this bill a law.”
Learn more about The Healthy Workplace Bill and how you can become a sponsor here.