Like many others, I recently read the NFL commissioned bullying investigation report which found that harassment of Jonathan Martin resembled “a classic case of bullying, where persons who are in a position of power harass the less powerful.”
I don’t understand. A person is treated repeatedly, harshly, unacceptably, in violation of a policy, just abused, in his workplace. But it is ok apparently. There is no law against workplace bullying in the United States.
The US is behind. Other countries have laws against repeated, severe, and pervasive mistreatment at work, including Finland, Sweden, France, Serbia, and Canada. Starting January 1 of this year, a worker in Australia who believes he/she has been bullied at work may apply to a Commission and, if an investigation determines that workplace bullying has occurred, have a remedy. So far, no flood gates have opened.
Workplace bullying is like sexual harassment. Of course it cannot be measured. But with a law, it can be determined and lessened. Public perception can change.
For those who argue it was only Martin’s problem. Maybe not. A study has found that bullying, an internal occurrence undertaken by manager and/or co-workers, leads to more workers leaving their job than violence, which is typically inflicted by sources external to a company. Other costs to a company beyond loss of skill and experience when a worker leaves due to being bullied: increased staff turnover and loss of morale, absenteeism, potential workers’ compensation claims, increases in health care and disability, early retirement and counseling program costs. Litigation. Harm to a company’s reputation. Disruptive all around.
This is the part where I mention I have been a target of bullying. I haven’t. I have not been bullied in the workplace or at school. But I have seen it and its disruptive effects on others in the workplace, and I don’t understand why there is not a law against it, not here, not in 2014.