Greg Sorozan, Ellen Cobb, Ivonne Moreno-Velazquez, Maureen Duffy, Jessi Eden Brown, David Yamada and Kathy Rospenda gathered at the Work, Stress and Health Conference 2015, May 6 to 9 in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference was convened by the American Psychological Association, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the Society for Occupational Health Psychology.
Work, Stress & Health Conference 2015
Last month, I attended the Work, Stress and Health Conference, a biennial conference sponsored by the American Psychological Association, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the Society for Occupational Health Psychology. I was there because I was serving on a panel with David Yamada and Maureen Duffy. David is a law professor, author of the Healthy Workplace Bill, and the founding director of the New Workplace Institute at Suffolk University Law School here in Boston. Maureen is a practicing family therapist, coauthor of Overcoming Mobbing, and a consultant to human resources managers and attorneys. All three of us are members of the Workplace Bullying academy. We came together to lead a panel discussion on the impact of new workplace bullying laws on employee relations stakeholders.
Lessons from the Panel Discussion
I spoke about the duty of care required by numerous international health and safety laws to keep a workplace safe not only from physical risks, but psychological risks. I reviewed the workplace bullying laws, recent studies and case law to provide context for our discussion. We looked at the Northern European countries, where the oldest and strongest workplace bullying laws exist. We then explored recent developments in Australia, Canada, Japan and Turkey. David detailed the small but significant steps that have occurred with anti-workplace bullying legislation in Fulton County, Georgia, California and Utah. A lot of the discussion focused on the fact that the United States has a lot of work to do both in terms of writing anti-bullying legislation and developing a culture of dignity at the work as well as the high costs of workplace bullying to both the targets and the organization.
Lessons from the Conference
One of my favorite parts of the conference was meeting so many of my colleagues. David Yamada talks about Conferences as Community Builders. And that concept was particularly true of this conference, where I had the opportunity to speak with academics, researchers, practitioners and colleagues from across the globe. In Europe, many of these research projects are funded by the government. And workplace bullying is looked at from a much broader perspective that goes beyond physical health and safety and explores emotional abuse. We also learned about a number of studies on mental health in the workplace and how different nations are dealing with responding to concerns about mental health.
Organizational health psychology is a growing field. Speaking with my colleagues, I gained a deeper appreciation for the perspectives, knowledge and stories we bring to our work. We won’t be able to solve this complex problem in a vacuum. Only when we work together will we be able to effectively address workplace bullying and create a culture of dignity at work.
Presentation Notes: Workplace Bullying Around the World. An overview of the bullying legislation and case law in Northern European countries, where the oldest and strongest laws exist, as well as recent developments in Australia, Canada, Japan and Turkey.