Borough of Ridgefield, New Jersey, adopts anti-bullying ordinance that covers workers

The Borough of Ridgefield, New Jersey, has adopted a broad anti-bullying ordinance that covers employees of the borough.

Monsy Alvarado reports for The Record (link here):

On Monday, the Borough Council approved an ordinance that will prohibit bullying in municipal facilities, borough recreation programs and by employees. The measure — the first one of its kind adopted by a municipality in the state — calls for the formation of a committee which will receive bullying complaints and will be tasked to investigate them and recommend remedial action.

It appears that a lot of the details have yet to be worked out. And notably, it remains to be seen how workplace bullying situations will be handled, as the primary motivation behind the ordinance appears to be school bullying. That said, this is a big step forward, signaling the increasing receptivity to protecting workers from psychological abuse at work.

Piggybacking onto statewide school bullying law?

The ordinance may have been inspired by the state’s school anti-bullying law, which became effective last September. Alvarado further reports:

New Jersey’s Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act was implemented in schools statewide in September and expanded the responsibilities of schools in reference to bullying. The law requires that districts intercede during bullying incidents that happen outside of school, or on the Internet, if they disrupt or interfere with the operation of the school or the rights of students.

Local workplace anti-bullying initiatives

The Ridgefield ordinance also joins a growing number of workplace anti-bullying initiatives at the local government level. For example, as previously reported on this blog:

  • Ventura County (CA) grand jury report — In 2011, a Ventura County, California grand jury issued a report finding that workplace bullying is a serious problem in county government and recommending that the county Board of Supervisors adopt an anti-bullying policy and collect information on bullying in county government offices.
  • Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week proclamations — Last October, over two dozen U.S. cities, towns, and counties issued proclamations supporting Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week. The proclamations were the result of outreach by grassroots activists from Healthy Workplace Advocates groups across the country.

***

Hat tip to Tom Witt, New York Healthy Workplace Advocates.

4 responses

  1. This is an important and great step in the right directon. The word is getting out and people are taking hold. David your hard work is paying off. I hope this continues to escalate into bigger things.
    Mel

  2. Mel, thanks for the kind words, though I need to emphasize that I didn’t have any direct connection to this development in New Jersey. Obviously I’m very pleased about it!

  3. They will serve as an example for the rest of the country. I am very happy to see someone step up and take action. Of course they will need time to work out the policies, but their efforts are appreciated by everyone who has been harmed by workplace bullying. In other words they are help more people than those in their immediate areas.

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