Working Notes: Atlanta Journal-Constitution on workplace bullying; previewing a handbook for bullying targets in MA

Here are a couple of items for your perusal, sent on a cool November day in Boston:

1. Atlanta Journal-Constitution on workplace bullying — As a followup to the Fulton County (GA) Commission’s adoption of a workplace bullying policy covering all county workers (blog post here), AJC editorial page writer Rick Badie pulled together a package of op-ed pieces on workplace bullying by Gary Namie (Workplace Bullying Institute), Sameer Hinduja (Florida Atlantic University), and yours truly. Here’s his lede:

Last week, Fulton County banned bullying in the workplace, making it a firable offense. The director of a workplace institute praises Commissioner Bill Edwards, who proposed the rules for addressing the harm bullying inflicts on victims and the work environment. While a criminal justice professor applauds anti-bullying policies intent, he says they aren’t an instant answer. And another professor suggests that Georgia adopt legislation geared to deter bullying.

2. Coming attraction: NWI handbook for MA workplace bullying targets — Early next year, the New Workplace Institute will release a short handbook for workplace bullying targets in Massachusetts, containing basic information on employee benefit programs and obtaining legal advice. Kimberly Webster, a Northeastern University law student who is interning with the Institute, is the lead researcher and author, with editing and drafting assistance from me.

The handbook will provide information on workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, Family and Medical Leave, Social Security disability, health care coverage, and legal options, as well as guidance on sorting through these possibilities. As the numerous disclaimers will make clear, the handbook will not substitute for obtaining legal advice, but it may lead people in the right direction for accessing available assistance. Also, because much of the relevant information is state-specific, the handbook will be of limited use to people in other states.

The employee benefits and legal situation for bullying targets is far from ideal. However, we hope that this short handbook, which will be available for a nominal fee, will illuminate the options. We also hope that it will serve as an example for those in other states who wish to develop a similar project.

4 responses

  1. Hard work and determination finally paid off,i pray for those who have been subjected to such humiliation,i speak from experience,Unfortunatly,my bullies saw to it that i be terminated form my Job,i am now struggling to make ends meet for me and my Family,all because i decieded to speakup about being treated unfair,the bullying was subliminal in the beginning and became an almost daily norm for most employees,that did not fit in

    The State of MA Law MGL15 requires any workplace violation be addressed(Charges Filed) within 300 Days,failure to do so may result in the case being dismissed in a Court of Law.

  2. Thank you Mr. Yamada for posting this wonderful news. It brings hope to those who have, are, or will be bullied in the future. The bullies have no idea how much pain and scars they leave on a person. Yet, they continue this behavior showing no empathy and actually find it amusing and powerful. We have had 6 people quit in our department due to our “bully boss”. The sad thing is that an employee has no outlet because “upper management” sticks with the bully, covering them up with lies and turning the blame onto the employee. I have been fighting our “bully” boss since 2011. I finally had to contact the EEOC and get a lawyer. I even tried to help the president of our company by telling him to prepare for the law. I handed out bully information to the VP, Director of HR, and VP of HR. Everyone ignores me. They stick together – many lie just terribly. I am continuing with this battle to prevent others from enduring this torture and to stand up for the previous employees who quit. I hope the Healthy Workplace Bill is passed soon into law. I think it is just terrible that many in upper management do not even know about this and how it can affect employees, the companies profits, plus their reputation. Our state, WI, also allows to file within 300 days, but it should be known that if the bully has continually done this in a pattern before 300 days, it is admissable. Thank you again for continuing to fight. If more people could open their eyes and face this epidemic, it can only cause a positive and safer environment. The Healthy Workplace Bill can only protect, retain good employees, remove the bullies, thus making everyone feel at ease to actually enjoy work.

  3. What do you do when you discover that a co-worker has been calling the company’s anonymous ethics reporting line in order to bring pressure to bear on other co-workers and managers? In other words, he/she is calling the ethics hotline with internal office politics issues that have nothing to do with actual whistleblowing issues. And you discover that this co-worker is encouraging, and insisting, that fellow employees also call the hotline to ramp up pressure on certain individuals? Obviously, the anonymity of the hotline is compromised, and employees are feeling pressured to call, or be alienated in the workplace. Confronting this type of bully doesn’t seem to be an option, and the company currrently doesn’t have a clear policy on which types of hotline reports are seriously investigated. Any thoughts, recommendations, or articles I can reference? This really is a great blog, and I’ve shared quite a few of your articles with our managers over the past year or so.

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