Inspiration in Amsterdam

Anne Frank House, Amsterdam

Anne Frank House, Amsterdam (photo: DY)

I just returned from the biennial Congress of the International Academy of Law and Mental Health in Amsterdam, Netherlands, where I found myself inspired and informed by a global assemblage of professors, lawyers, judges, mental health providers, graduate students, and others who are committed to using law and public policy to advance mental health.

I went to a lot of panels, as the conference was the focal point of trip. However, I did accompany one of my friends to the Anne Frank House, the one “must see” item on my list for this first-ever visit to Amsterdam.

The photo above doesn’t do the site justice. It is the interior, which has been recreated to show us how Anne and seven others lived in hiding for some two years, that is so compelling. I realize that I am among countless others to say it, but it was a very moving experience to stand in the same cramped spaces of the “Secret Annex” where they lived before they were discovered and arrested.

For me, the most chilling part of the tour was walking up the long, narrow stairwell to the Annex, located behind the moving bookcase that covered the entrance. It was the same walk their captors took to arrest them.

You can take your own virtual guided tour of the Annex here.

University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Law building

University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Law building (photo: DY)

As I’ve written before, my participation in this conference is tied to my affiliation with the therapeutic jurisprudence (TJ) movement, the school of legal thought that examines the therapeutic and anti-therapeutic properties of our laws and legal systems. The conference included an ongoing series of 20 or so panels expressly related to TJ, stretching across the week.

In addition, the opening session — held at the University of Amsterdam’s law building shown above — had a special TJ connection. It featured the presentation of the Bruce Winick Award to Michael Perlin, by David Wexler.

These three individuals have played a critically important role in the development of therapeutic jurisprudence: Bruce Winick, who passed away in late 2010, taught at the University of Miami law school and co-founded the TJ movement with David Wexler, now at the University of Puerto Rico law school after many years at the University of Arizona. Awardee Michael Perlin, who teaches at the New York Law School in Manhattan, is among the world’s leading authorities on mental disability law.

One of Amsterdam's beautiful canals, early evening

One of Amsterdam’s beautiful canals, early Sunday evening (photo: DY)

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t include at least one photo capturing the beauty of Amsterdam. I opted for a quieter Sunday evening view of one of the canals, a contrast to the younger, louder, anything goes atmosphere that pervades this part of the city. I’m not much of a party animal — I joked to my friends that the free wheeling recreational choices of Amsterdam were wasted on me! — but being in a historic, old world city does allow for some reflective moments. That certainly was the case here, buoyed by the ideas sparked at the conference.

***

Previous posts referencing this conference:

The ongoing disconnect: Employment law and worker well-being

The social responsibilities of intellectuals at a time of extraordinary human need

Inauthenticity at work and the fast track to a midlife crisis

As a law student, lawyer, and law professor, I’ve spent a lot of time around people whose career ambitions are largely defined by others. To some extent, I have internalized some of those messages myself.

But one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is to pick and choose wisely among these markers of achievement. If you fail to do so, you may find yourself living an inauthentic life (at least the part spent at work), and your psyche may struggle with the grudging realization that you’re pursuing someone else’s definition of success. It’s an easy recipe for a midlife crisis.

This month, as thousands of people line up to accept their degrees at college and university Commencement ceremonies around the country, these thoughts deserve extra consideration.

Regrets

In the popular Marc and Angel Hack Life blog, Angel Chernoff writes about the “10 Choices You Will Regret in 10 Years.” The first two screamed out at me:

  • “Wearing a mask to impress others”
  • “Letting someone else create your dreams for you”

In graduate and professional schools, I see this process occurring all the time. It’s all about pursuing a fast track to success, and that path and destination are defined by others who have a vested interest in keeping it that way.

Especially susceptible to this messaging are younger folks who have never been afforded the privilege of thinking for themselves. And the better their grades and test scores, they more likely they are to be pushed onto certain paths.

My summer of discontent

My first major lesson in career inauthenticity came as a law student. I entered law school intending to be a public interest lawyer, and I envisioned a career spent in social and political change work. However, I temporarily succumbed to the siren call of corporate law, and I accepted a “summer associate” position with a large commercial law firm in Chicago.

Summer jobs at big law firms are a mix of tryout camp and wine-and-dining. Over roughly a 10-week period, the work of a summer associate is evaluated closely for the purpose of considering that individual for a full-time associate attorney position after graduation. In return, the law firm pays the summer associate handsomely (typically, a pro-rated equivalent of a first-year attorney’s salary) and hosts a variety of social events to sell the firm as a desirable place to work.

This Chicago law firm treated me with genuine respect and gave me a variety of challenging assignments. But within a few weeks of starting my summer gig, I knew the corporate law sector was not for me. Despite good colleagues and intellectually demanding work, throughout the summer I felt like I was giving an acting performance. It just didn’t feel right.

Although I was invited to return to the firm as an associate attorney after graduation, I declined the offer. Instead, I embraced my original aspirations and, during my final year of law school, accepted a job offer from the New York City Legal Aid Society. No regrets, not even when the student loan bills started to match my monthly rent!

Trade-offs

Of course, having and making choices doesn’t necessarily mean that we can have it all. As I suggested two years ago in a post about work-life balance, even the best of lives usually involve trade-offs. Electing to do something often forecloses doing another, at least for the time being.

That said, Big Life regrets tend to emanate more from inaction than actions, unless the latter are reckless or foolish. In her “10 Choices” blog post, Angel Chernoff warns against “(e)ndlessly waiting until tomorrow”:

The trouble is, you always think you have more time than you do.  But one day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to work on the things you’ve always wanted to do.

Not always a choice

I understand that all of the above presumes a degree of choice in the matter.

However, sometimes that isn’t the case: Jobs that pay the bills and support families are in short supply these days, and pursuing an occupation that delivers a psychological reward beyond a decent paycheck may not be an immediate option.

If you have choices that create mere possibilities for matching passions with income, consider yourself very privileged. Countless millions of people in this world do not.

Avocations

The challenges of matching dreams with paychecks are among the reasons why I’ve devoted a number of blog posts to the concept of avocation. As I wrote last year:

An avocation falls somewhere between a job and a hobby. It’s an activity that may produce some modest income, and perhaps show promise of turning into a full-time job, but which ultimately we are drawn to because it is very satisfying on a personal level. Avocations may be among the keys to individual fulfillment during tough times when jobs that deliver both a decent income and psychic rewards are in short supply.

Avocations are highly underrated as potential door openers and as satisfying ends in themselves.

If you have the gift of choices…

…make them, don’t let others make them for you. Learn from the experiences and insights of others, and then incorporate those lessons into your own world view.

It’s an ongoing process. And except for a blessed few, it involves some stumbling and bumbling along, hopefully forward more often than backward.

Should lawyers who enable abusive employees be terminated?

The fallout continues from the situation involving former Rutgers men’s head basketball coach Mike Rice, who was fired last week after videotape of his repeated abusive treatment of his players went public. The media reported that Rutgers general counsel John Wolf lost his job in the immediate aftermath of that firing. Wolf apparently had played a key role in advising Rutgers late last year that it could retain Rice by imposing a short suspension and a fine.

Demoted, not terminated

It turns out that Rutgers pulled a bit of a fast one. Wolf was not terminated from employment; rather, he was demoted to a lower position. The ongoing outcry to that decision and the seeming public deception on the part of Rutgers have led to his resignation. As reported by the Associated Press (via Yahoo! Sports):

A Rutgers University lawyer resigned Thursday amid growing anger that he was still employed by the school after approving a decision in December to suspend rather than fire basketball coach Mike Rice after becoming aware of a video showing the coach hitting, kicking and taunting players.

The university last week announced that John Wolf, who had been serving in an interim basis as the university’s top in-house lawyer, had resigned from his leadership position. School officials at first would not clarify what that meant, but then this week acknowledged that he was remaining at Rutgers as a lower-level lawyer.

A closer look

Was Wolf’s ouster merited? I have written before about how the worst employers seem to have the most thuggish lawyers representing them. It’s not clear to me that either characterization fits here, although Rutgers’s attempt to hide the true nature of Wolf’s employment status indicates that they still don’t get it.

I also wrote in my earlier post that had Rutgers been my client, they would’ve known clearly and unequivocally of my belief that termination was the most appropriate response to Rice’s abusive treatment of his players. It does not appear that lawyers advising Rutgers took such a firm stance.

Assuming that Wolf served at the pleasure of Rutgers (i.e., in a more or less at-will capacity), it would’ve been completely within the university’s discretion to demote or terminate him for providing less-than-wonderful legal advice.

The role of legal counsel

Putting on my lawyer hat, I recognize that attorneys are not university presidents or CEOs in terms of having ultimate decision making authority. We can only advise our clients; we cannot force them to do what we believe is the right thing.

That said, when lawyers serve as handmaidens for wrongful behaviors by a client and its managers, they may pay a price in the all-too-unlikely event the organization is required to account for its actions. As the Rutgers saga continues to unfold, perhaps we’ll learn more lessons about the roles their attorneys played in these very unfortunate events.

Ethical failure at Rutgers: Abusive coach, bad management, questionable lawyering

Last week, Rutgers University men’s head basketball coach Mike Rice was fired after videotape of his ongoing verbal and physical abuse toward his players went viral. The video is a compilation of Rice at practice sessions, repeatedly yelling at his players (including loud profanities and homophobic slurs), aggressively grabbing and pushing them, and firing basketballs at them.

Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti reportedly knew of the behaviors as early as last summer.  He saw the videotape late last fall, and — after obtaining legal advice and consulting with Rutgers president Robert Barchi — gave Rice a slap on the wrist by suspending him for three games and imposing a fine.

However, the story resurfaced last week when the videotape went public. Suddenly, Rutgers found itself under a barrage of media attention, leading to a quick domino effect: At a Friday press conference, President Barchi said that he saw the video for the first time when the story was breaking and ordered Pernetti to fire Rice. Following Rice’s termination, Pernetti resigned amidst cries for his departure. Rutgers general counsel John Wolf also was shown the door. (Barchi, the guy at the top, still retains his job as of this writing.)

Ethical systems failure

The details continue to surface, so it’s likely that more information will flesh out the story of how this abusive coach managed to avoid termination until Rutgers had no other choice. But even with what we know, it’s clear that that Rutgers mishandled the situation at every level.

Bullying coach

After watching the video several times and reading a lot of the news coverage, it’s obvious to me that Mike Rice is much more than your stereotypical over-the-top coach. He’s got a hair-trigger temper, he’s verbally abusive, and he sees nothing wrong with physically assaulting his players. (For portions of the videotape, click the embedded link above or Google “Mike Rice Rutgers video” and get plenty of choices.)

Guys like this should not be coaching.

John Baldoni, writing for Forbes, quickly put Rice’s behavior in the context of workplace bullying — even citing studies by the Workplace Bullying Institute — and urged employers to watch the Rice video:

Every senior executive needs to watch the video of former Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice verbally and physically abusing his players during practice.

…Fear of the boss, coupled with the belief that management will not listen, cows employees into silence and so it is up to executives who want to do the right thing to initiate anti-bullying policies that ensure the protection of employees and the banishment of bullying.

Bad management

Departed athletic director Pernetti, the point person in the university’s handling of the situation, is a Rutgers graduate and a true believer in his alma mater‘s sports program. It’s likely that he was too invested in that devotion to render a sensible decision when Rice’s behavior and the videotape were brought to his attention.

However, there’s plenty of responsibility to go around, as Tim Eder reports for the New York Times:

But Mr. Pernetti is hardly the only person who watched the edited video and still approved of keeping Mr. Rice on staff until last week. The athletic department’s human resources and chief financial officer saw the video, as did the university’s outside legal counsel. At least one member of the board of governors saw it. Robert L. Barchi, the university president, has said he did not see it before last week, although at least one of his senior directors asked him to watch it.

Questionable lawyering

At the lengthy Friday press conference, Rutgers senior officials explained that in the fall, they consulted their legal counsel about how to handle the Rice situation. While perhaps engaging in some buck-passing, it is obvious that they felt they received bad advice. After speaking with their lawyers, the officials believed that Rice could be retained with the mild discipline imposed. (No doubt this informed their decision to relieve their general counsel of his duties when the story went viral.)

We don’t know the exact conversations between Rutgers officials and their lawyers last fall, but had Rutgers been my client, and even had I believed they could technically defend a decision not to fire Rice, I would’ve told them to consider the big downside risks of the light discipline they ultimately imposed (brief suspension, fine). Those risks would include future legal ramifications and creating a public perception (in this case, an accurate one) that they were sweeping abusive behaviors by their basketball coach under the rug.

In no way would that client have left the conversation without knowing my clear belief that terminating the coach was the better decision, planted on the ethical high ground.

It’s not just Rutgers

Rutgers couldn’t respond decisively and ethically to mistreatment that easily justified termination. Unfortunately, this institution is far from being alone. It simply got caught in a massively public way.

In organizations big and small, prominent and anonymous, abusive behaviors occur all the time — routinely protected, ratified, and even encouraged by a management structure that somehow doesn’t understand the human and institutional costs.

The sooner we understand that Rutgers represents a significant minority of organizations that have difficulty doing the right thing, the better we’ll comprehend the nature and impact of bullying and related behaviors at work.

Restorative justice and workplace bullying

Law professor Susan Duncan (Louisville) provides some thought-provoking ideas about the use of restorative justice practices in workplace bullying prevention and response in a 2011 law review article published in the Industrial Law Journal.

Restorative justice practices, states Duncan, attempt to bring together victims and offenders to discuss the harms done and “to work to identify ways to make amends and repair the relationships.” They are being tested and applied especially in criminal justice, domestic relations, and educational settings.

Duncan proposes that they be applied to the workplace, especially to addressing bullying.  For employers, she sets out a multifaceted agenda that includes conducting workplace audits to assess “violence vulnerability,” developing “creative methods to build community and help prevent bullying,” implementing written policies concerning bullying and respect, training employees “on restorative principles and practices,” and conducting empirical studies to evaluate the effectiveness of restorative justice practices at work.

A way forward?

Many of Professor Duncan’s recommendations are consistent with ideas advanced in this blog; indeed, she wrote the piece partially in response to an invitation I issued to legal scholars in a 2010 law review article to incorporate therapeutic jurisprudence approaches to the development and practice of employment law.

Unfortunately, the core notion of restorative justice – genuine dialogue over harms done and repairing frayed work relationships — remains foreign to many employers, their HR staff, and employment lawyers representing both management and workers. Adopting these ideas would require a considerable rethinking of how employment conflicts and disputes are resolved.

The possible use of restorative justice practices to address workplace bullying is undercut by the absence of legal protections, giving employers scant incentive to apply them to abusive behaviors that often are completely legal. In the U.S., enactment of the Healthy Workplace Bill could make restorative justice approaches more attractive to employers.

***

Professor Duncan’s article, “Workplace Bullying and the Role Restorative Practices Can Play in Preventing and Addressing the Problem,” Industrial Law Journal (2011) may be downloaded without charge here.

Part II: What should lawyers know about psychology?

In my last post I gave some examples of how insights from psychology can help lawyers to serve their clients and society more effectively, and I promised a short book list of helpful titles. The list turned out to be longer than I anticipated, and I added some other suggestions as well!

But that’s all good news. It means there are many ways to dive into these topics. I won’t claim to have read everything below cover-to-cover, but I’ve spent enough time with each to make a positive recommendation. Here goes:

FOR LAWYERS AND LAW STUDENTS

For lawyers and law students who are interested in how legal practice can integrate insights from psychology and counseling, the following make for a useful core collection of works. There’s some overlap among these books in terms of subject matter and chapter authors, but I wouldn’t consider that a problem.

Susan L. Brooks and Robert G. Madden, eds., Relationship-Centered Lawyering: Social Science Theory for Transforming Legal Practice (2010).

Susan Swaim Daicoff, Comprehensive Law Practice: Law as a Healing Profession (2011).

Marjorie A. Silver, ed., The Affective Assistance of Counsel: Practicing Law as a Healing Profession (2007).

Dennis P. Stolle, David B. Wexler, and Bruce J. Winick, eds., Practicing Therapeutic Jurisprudence: Law as a Helping Profession (2000).

J. Kim Wright, Lawyers as Peacemakers: Practicing Holistic, Problem-Solving Law (2010).

Related websites

The International Network on Therapeutic Jurisprudence includes a continually updated bibliographical database of relevant law review articles and publications.

Cutting Edge Law offers a wealth of information on alternative, holistic approaches to legal practice.

The American Psychology-Law Society is a division of the American Psychological Association.

Continuing legal education

The new Integrative Law Institute offers courses, workshops, and programs on law as a healing profession.

For those who want to dig deeply into mental disability law, New York Law School offers online graduate and certificate programs.

INFORMAL COUNSELING

Eugene Kennedy and Sara C. Charles, On Becoming a Counselor: A Basic Guide for Nonprofessional Counselors and Other Helpers (3rd ed. 2001) is a very helpful introduction to mental health issues commonly encountered by those in helping professions.

TEXTBOOKS

Textbooks get a bad rap from educators and students alike, but good textbooks can lay out a topic with breadth and depth. I’m happy to recommend any recent editions of the following:

Barbara R. Bjorklund, The Journey of Adulthood.

Frank J. Landy and Jeffrey M. Conte, Work in the 21st Century: An Introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

David G. Myers, Psychology.

David G. Myers, Social Psychology.

Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, (Ab)normal Psychology.

GENERAL CONTINUING EDUCATION

Coursera offers free online courses taught by professors at schools around the world. A number of psychology offerings are part of their current catalog.

The Great Courses a/k/a The Teaching Company sells digitally recorded courses on various topics featuring leading professors, including psychology and related subjects.

GENERAL PERIODICALS

Scientific American Mind gets top marks for high quality, readable articles.

Psychology Today has become a tabloid version of Scientific American Mind, but it hosts an excellent array of blogs.

Part I: What should lawyers know about psychology?

Back in the day, one year of law school was sufficient to teach me that the law and our legal systems struggle mightily with issues of psychology: Too messy, too “subjective,” too touchy-feely. As a callow young man with a lot of growing up to do, I pretty much bought into that mindset.

But let’s fast-forward a bit: Over the past dozen years or so, I have come to regard psychology as one of the most important disciplines for understanding how our laws, legal systems, and the legal profession should operate. I have eagerly aligned myself with the therapeutic jurisprudence (“TJ”) movement, which encourages us to seek psychologically healthy outcomes in legal matters. As political writer and lawyer Mark Satin put it in a piece praising TJ, it’s “time for the U.S. justice system to become less mechanistic and more compassionate.”

Specifics?

Beyond that general embrace, however, what should lawyers know about psychology? I don’t think it’s necessary for lawyers to head back to school to pick up a psychology or counseling degree. But I do think some concentrated study, either independently or through some type of continuing education, would be helpful. Here are three specific examples:

Criminal law — As all too many recent tragedies have confirmed, our criminal justice system often must address mental health issues of defendants. The field of psychopathology — mental disorders and injuries — can lend valuable insights to prosecutors, defense counsel, and judges.

Employment law — The best employment lawyers combine legal expertise with a sound understanding of the dynamics of the workplace. The basics of organizational psychology can help employment lawyers provide legal counseling and advice grounded in the modern realities of employee relations.

Family law and trusts & estates law — Family lawyers and trusts & estates lawyers render assistance to clients during critical junctures of their lives. Understanding the psychology of lifespan development can make these attorneys more sensitive to their clients’ needs.

Client counseling, too

And there’s client counseling in general. These skills are much more likely to be emphasized in a social work program than in a law school, but after hearing endless stories from clients about lawyers’ poor “deskside manner,” I think that at least a dose of counseling psychology would benefit attorneys as well. The bulk of law school is spent on memorizing legal rules and principles and applying them to static sets of facts, and the human side of legal practice often is badly neglected.

Next up

In Part II, I’ll offer a short list of books that may prove helpful to lawyers and law students who want to incorporate psychological insights into their work.

***

Of possible interest

I’ve written two law review articles expressly built around ideas of therapeutic jurisprudence. They can be freely accessed here:

Therapeutic Jurisprudence and the Practice of Legal Scholarship (University of Memphis Law Review, 2010).

Employment Law as if People Mattered: Bringing Therapeutic Jurisprudence into the Workplace (Florida Coastal Law Review, 2010).

***

Follow-up post

For Part II of “What should lawyers know about psychology?,” a list of helpful books and other resources, go here.

Employment lawyers and workplace bullying

How has the emerging American legal response to workplace bullying started to impact the legal profession? Here is a collection of posts examining the relevance to employment lawyers representing workers and employers alike:

1. Corporate Counsel: Taking workplace bullying legislation seriously (2012) — The possible enactment of the Healthy Workplace Bill has gone from pipe dream to reality.

2. When bad employers retain thuggish employment lawyers (2011) — The worst employers seem to be magnets for the most obnoxious employment lawyers.

3. Workplace bullying legislative movement prompts changes to employer liability insurance practices (2011) — When insurers get into the game, you know there’s an impact.

4. Workplace bullying laws are “just a matter of time,” says New York Law Journal (2011) — Reporting on a piece in the influential daily newspaper of the legal profession in New York.

5. Workers, their lawyers, and workplace bullying (2009) — How lawyers for workers can help their clients, even within the current limitations of the law.

6. Employers, their lawyers, and workplace bullying policies (2009) — How lawyers for employers can counsel their clients toward productive and healthy workplaces.

eBossWatch’s 2012 list of top employment lawyers

eBossWatch, the popular and feisty online site that allows workers to evaluate their bosses and workplaces, has announced its 2012 list of the top employment lawyers:

These top workplace harassment and discrimination attorneys have successfully represented and obtained significant financial awards for their clients, employees who alleged that they were subjected to a hostile work environment, discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation in the workplace.

You can access the full list here. The individual listings link to news stories about the successful claims that led to their inclusion on the top 100 list.

Great, but also…

I’m delighted that eBossWatch is highlighting the work of plaintiffs’ employment lawyers who are getting successful results for their clients. In addition, while the list identifies attorneys who certainly are worthy of inclusion, we should take these points under consideration:

1. Many of the best settlements of employment lawsuits (from the worker’s perspective) are not made public. Therefore, attorneys who truly delivered for their clients without going to trial (thus sparing them what can be a highly stressful experience) may not be in a position to appear on this list.

2. Readers who are contemplating legal action against a current or former employer should not read into the award amounts detailed on eBossWatch any assumption that if they can just get the right lawyer, then a big verdict or settlement awaits them. In actuality, employment claims are hard to win, and many filed cases linger for years before they are finally resolved, and not necessarily with great results for the aggrieved worker.

3. I’m guessing that the differences between the “100 best” employment lawyers as listed by eBossWatch and next, say, 500, are minimal in terms of competency and effectiveness. There are a lot of excellent plaintiffs’ employment lawyers out there.

For help in finding an employment lawyer

Here are resources worth checking out:

Nationally

Those seeking to retain an employment lawyer will find online referral assistance from website of the National Employment Lawyers Association, a bar association of attorneys who specialize in representing workers.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts residents also may “window shop” the attorney directory of NELA’s Massachusetts chapter.

Corporate Counsel: Take workplace bullying legislation seriously

Shannon Green, in a piece for Corporate Counsel (link here), explains how the possible enactment of the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill is having an impact on lawyers representing employers. In essence, these lawyers are seeing more bullying-related claims from employees, and they’re training their clients to develop workplace bullying policies and other measures in anticipation of the Healthy Workplace Bill becoming law.

Here’s a sampling from the article:

No state has yet to pass legislation defining a cause of action, but according to experts, claims of workplace abuse are nonetheless on the rise. Their advice to employers: the time to train your workforce is now.

Legislation is currently pending in New Jersey, and 21 states have proposed laws on workplace bullying since 2003. The Workplace Bullying Institute advocates state passage of the Healthy Workplace Bill . . ., drafted by Suffolk University Law School professor David Yamada.

Practitioners are using the proposed legislation to create workplace training based on what their state laws would look like if passed.

***

In her management-side employment practice, Sharon Parella says she is seeing more and more claims of workplace bullying every month. The Morrison & Foerster partner says the allegations are significant, and they involve claims against all levels of employees.

“We’ve received claims where an employee is laughed at, teased, poked at incessantly by other employees in the group, excluded from social interactions,” she says. She often sees “an employee who is being really sabotaged at work, not being given help with assignments that he or she needs to be successful, or worse, being undermined so that his or her assignments are done poorly.”

What this signifies

In assessing whether conditions are ripe for the law to change, we look for indicators of greater receptivity to that change among key stakeholders.

The fact that management-side employment lawyers are working with their clients in anticipation of the eventual enactment of the Healthy Workplace Bill is an important sign. It’s also encouraging that these attorneys are acknowledging the wrongfulness of bullying behaviors and the harm caused by such mistreatment, even if they don’t necessarily agree with the proposed legislation.

Folks, we’re getting there. Workplace bullying legislation alone won’t end these destructive behaviors, but it will give employees a chance to recover damages and oblige employers to act preventively and responsively toward bullying at work.

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