By Deborah O’Rell
California has passed a law (AB 2053) in January 2015, to make prevention of abusive behavior training mandatory for all companies with over 50 employees. It incorporates training to curb sexual harassment as well.
To bring any legal action against your workplace it still must be based on a protected status, so it doesn’t provide an employee with a legal remedy.
What it does do, as many of the Healthy Workplace or Anti-Bullying Bills that have been proposed across the country, is to raise awareness of the behavior and make training mandatory.
Abusive behavior is described as conduct “reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests.” For example, abusive conduct “may include repeated infliction of verbal abuse, such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults, and epithets, verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating, or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance.”
The costs of workplace bullying are staggering. The employee’s health can suffer, causing missed work, higher healthcare costs and reduced productivity. Bullied employees cause higher turnover costs, as are those who witness bullying. And there’s the threat of lawsuits against the company, which is why there is an increasing number of states introducing laws, as well as companies introducing policies, to prevent the behavior
For more information on Workplace Bullying, go to Workplace Bullying Institute.
Or one of my favorite blogs on the topic is David Yamada’s Minding the Workplace.
Sadly, though, as long as our laws continually and overwhelmingly favor the employer rather than the employee, no one is really safe.