The Legal And Moral Implications Of Workplace Bullying
While this week’s #TChat Topic: The Legal and Moral Implications Of Workplace Bullying, generated a great discussion, it’s a topic that not enough can be said about. Workplace bullying (my opinion is we really should include cyberbullying in here as well) is a serious topic. Whether you have openly known or were unaware that you were being bullied at work or online in social media channels, One recent study suggests that 96% of Americans have experienced workplace bullying. It’s a controversial topic that this week’s guest: Jonathan Segal, an employment lawyer and partner with the international law firm Duane Morris LLP, as well as an active TalentCulture #TChat community member, knows all too well. Jonathan shares on a recent blog post of his, that since 2003, every anti-bullying bill that has been submitted has failed to pass. And sadly, there are no laws in the U.S. that prohibit workplace bullying.
Many argue that bullying is difficult to define, which makes it hard to set the legal boundaries of what bullying is. Still, #TChat-ters did not hold back in our Community discussion to crowdsource what they feel workplace bullying is:
A1 Exerting power or influence to humiliate taunt or marginalize others is bullying Not easy to define but we know it when we see it #TChat
— Danyel Rupert, SPHR (@thetalentpoolhr) July 30, 2014
There’s a silent truth to what Danyel has said about workplace bullying. It’s not easy to define, but we do know what it is when we see it and experience it. Unfortunately, workplace bullying is:
#tchat A1-it’s someone projecting their weaknesses and insecurity on another to make them feel less weak and insecure. ie: a coward. Harsh?
— Scott Brown (@SB_Recruitment) July 30, 2014
Scott is right. A bully is someone who is a coward, and someone that projects their weakness onto others. And bullies, if allowed will get away with workplace and cyberbullying. If a workplace bully has a leadership role then it’s difficult to challenge this individual, and fear is also what gives bullies power to impose their will. But this doesn’t have to be the case. People can choose to do something about it and understand that:
A2: Most company policies tell you to report it to HR. Do not confront or try to fix, just report it. Not doing so helps no one. #TChat
— Kevin W. Grossman (@KevinWGrossman) July 30, 2014
The truth is, when workplace and cyberbullying takes place then you need to report it. It sounds easy, but for those afraid to speak out in fear of the repercussions it can be a daunting task. One of the issues with workplace bullying is that it goes undocumented. It may not solve the problem or stop the bullier from bullying, but by documenting the bullier then we start to build a trail that creates awareness of office bullying. If this doesn’t work, then:
A3. Sometime we need to terminate the bully….respectfully. Not b/c they earned it; but b/c U always want to be your best #TChat
— Jonathan A. Segal (@Jonathan_HR_Law) July 30, 2014
Employees deserve to work in a culture that unleashes their creativity and passion, not fear and horror. Workplace and cyberbullying puts employees wellness in harms way. Sometimes, doctors have to advise people to quit their jobs to improve their overall well-being. Workplace bullying is a serious issue. It requires attention, and courage to speak out against. Organizations need to focus on creating measures that hold workplace bullying accountable, and develop support systems enable that employees to speak out against their bullying without fear.
Want To See The #TChat Replay?
Closing Notes & What’s Ahead
Thanks again to our guest: Jonathan Segal, an employment lawyer and partner with the international law firm Duane Morris LLP, as well as an active TalentCulture #TChat community member Click here to see the preview and related reading.
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