With all of the latest attention on stopping the rise of bullying in our schools, you’d think it only happens to kids. But bullying by adults — specifically bosses and co-workers — isn’t a new phenomenon. It’s been happening for years and goes on all of the time.
It may be surprising to learn that bullying is legal. It’s only against the law if it’s attached to some other form of discrimination related to age, sex harassment, race, marital status or the other protected classes.
Discrimination in the workplace, no matter what its form, provides the foundation for an abusive workplace. And an abusive workplace has a direct relationship to employees’ quality of work life. Nationally, it’s estimated that 37 percent of U.S. workers face bullying issues that can cause a variety of stress-related physical and emotional conditions, including:
- Auto-immune disorders
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
The United States is one of the few countries that doesn’t have a national anti-bullying law. Individual states and cities, however, are moving aggressively to stem the tide. New York City has taken action against bullying that contributes to employee harassment and abuse by adopting the Healthy Workplace Bill. It may not be the complete answer to eliminating abusive behavior, but it provides some protection against bullying. It also prohibits retaliation to employees who are courageous enough to defend themselves in a court action.
In a tight economy, keeping a job is paramount. But is it worth the price you pay just to survive in a workplace that offers no opportunity, and more importantly, no respect? If you find yourself in a toxic work situation and you want to learn how you might be able to change it, make a call at 800-807-2209 for help. The employment attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group offer a free consultation and charge no fee unless we recover for you.