Published: “Emerging American Legal Responses to Workplace Bullying”

The Temple Political & Civil Rights Law Review has just published my article, “Emerging American Legal Responses to Workplace Bullying,” that emerged from the February 2013 symposium on bullying across the lifespan at Temple University’s law school.

The piece provides a short update of legal and policy developments concerning workplace bullying and includes the current template version of the Healthy Workplace Bill. I had posted a draft last year; this is the final published version.

Although the complete collection of articles from the symposium is not yet available online, you can access Prof. Nancy Knauer’s (Temple U.) overview of the symposium issue here. And for my write-up of the Temple conference, go here.

Previous scholarly articles on workplace bullying and related topics

For readers who would like more in-depth explorations of the legal issues concerning workplace bullying and related topics in the U.S., here are links to, and brief summaries of, relevant journal articles I’ve written over the years. Each may be accessed without charge from my Social Science Research Network page. While these articles are published in academic journals, they nevertheless have attracted many readers who are not lawyers or law professors.

Workplace bullying and the law

The Phenomenon of “Workplace Bullying” and the Need for Status-Blind Hostile Work Environment ProtectionGeorgetown Law Journal, 2000 — This is the first in-depth examination of the American legal and policy implications of workplace bullying. Considered a groundbreaking piece.

Crafting a Legislative Response to Workplace Bullying — Employee Rights and Employment Policy Journal, 2004 — This contains and explains the first version of the Healthy Workplace Bill, as well as brief discussions of early legislative and regulatory responses to workplace bullying in other nations.

Workplace Bullying and American Employment Law: A Ten-Year Progress Report and Assessment — Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal, 2010 — This piece is part of a collection of articles looking at enacted and proposed legal responses to workplace bullying on an international scale. It contains an updated version of the Healthy Workplace Bill.

Workplace bullying generally

Workplace Bullying and Ethical Leadership — Journal of Values-Based Leadership, 2008 — This article provides a general overview of workplace bullying and its implications for organizational leadership.

Employee dignity generally

Human Dignity and American Employment Law — University of Richmond Law Review, 2009 — I pulled in a lot of historical and theoretical sources in an attempt to construct a case for making human dignity the primary framework for evaluating and shaping U.S. employment law.

Employment Law as If People Mattered: Bringing Therapeutic Jurisprudence into the WorkplaceFlorida Coastal Law Review, 2010 — This article places employment law issues (including workplace bullying) in the context of therapeutic jurisprudence, the school of legal thought that examines the therapeutic and anti-therapeutic properties of our laws and legal systems.

3 responses

  1. I have a few questions, perhaps if Dr. Yamada sees my blog and has time, he can give his opinion too. I filed with the EEOC about 3 years ago. I am protected class. I was harassed, bullied, lied to, and retaliated against. They ended up terminating me, using the excuse that I would not go along with their “made up” accommodations, which were totally unreasonable. I had no input, plus did not need or ask for these accommodations. The accommodations would have made me more anxious and stressed out. The “Team” at work, who I had no clue included, threatened that if I did not go along with the accommodations, I would be terminated. The EEOC complaint included harassment, retaliation, treating me different from other employees, discrimination, plus unhealthy work environment. I was not the only one “picked” on. There are up to 50 employees now; not just our department. The whole EEOC process was eating away at me every day and taking so, so long; I said I wanted to end it. I said if there were monitory compensation, I did not care – God would provide. I forgave those involved, and hoped they would ask for forgiveness on their own. There was so much lying involved and manipulation. I never lied about anything. I had a lawyer, but ran out of money. They company fought my unemployment, which I still ending up getting after 2 trials, due to company lies about me. The Emergency Unemployment has now ended. I never received unemployment in my life. I worked for this company 23 years. I was recently sent papers from the EEOC Officer to sign off the case, which say, “Ending case because of too much stress”. It was taking so long. The company lawyer said he did not want mediation, which I felt would have been easier and quicker. I was never given a clue of how the EEOC Officer’s investigation was going (which maybe I was not supposed to know). I am afraid to sign these papers, because I am worried that the company or EEOC could be go against me for the money they spent on this case. Is there a way to find out these rules before signing these papers? I had so much evidence and witnesses. The company lawyer threatened a court case, which of course scared me. Am I allowed to find out anything about how the case was coming along or talk to another person at the EEOC like the AJ (Appellant Judge). I feel so lost. I have been pushing the Healthy Workplace Bill during this time in many ways, but haven’t made much progress. My counselor told me that I have I developed PTSD because of all of this; my life has completely changed. I wanted to make it right and stop this behavior. I know it is not healthy for me, but I still feel incomplete. Does anyone have any suggestions? Has anyone been through this process? I thought it would take less time and be less strenuous, but there is so much paperwork and I was basically doing everything myself. I think I overwhelmed my first lawyer with all of the proof I gave him; taking up too much of his time. I am hoping the Healthy Workplace Bill will be passed to eliminate the torment employees go through. Many ex-employees I run into cry. Like me, it took them a while to figure out what was going on in the workplace. I was told that it is a corporate ploy to cut costs, but the meanest way to do this. I worked for a large Non-Profit Corporation with more than 3,000 employees. It is so upsetting because I am only one person against so many. I know God is with me. I guess I feel the unfairness of losing everything I worked for and I was a good worker. I cashed in my 401K, we are trying to refinance our home through the HARP Loan Program. We are selling things. I now have no income. We were eligible for heat assistance, and could probably get food stamps. Everything is so hard to get because of all of the paperwork and taxes that they need. It is almost not worth the time and like having another job. I still need to continue to look for 4 jobs weekly even though my unemployment ran out. If only more people knew how this affects a person’s life unnecessarily. I a job transfer and was qualified for many other jobs; human resources intervened and interrupted my attempts. One HR Rep (who I was not working with) purposely transferred to another department because she knew what was happening to me. She did not know me at the time but she attends our church. When she found out it was me, she gave me a big hug and said she loved me. She said she had to transfer because she could not stand watching what was going on. I was the only person who filed with the EEOC, which ended up stirring up many in upper management. They did anything possible to stop me, not caring what they were doing to me, and the others who “quit” for the same reasons. I was also the only one who never “quit” and was terminated. Please forgive me for repeating much of this in my other blogs. I am focusing now on the questions I have asked if anyone has answers to above. If anyone has any information or ideas to help me, I would truly appreciate it. Thank you.

  2. Hello Gem.I don’t have any answers, but I am sad that all this happened to you. All I can say is take care of your health first. If you can take time off from working, that may help (I did, and I ran through a huge chunk of retirement money, but I don’t regret it). The further you get from the situation (mentally and physically), the better it will be. Hang in there!

  3. Our stories are so heart wrenching. It is shocking for me to acknowledge that we live in the United States-the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    There is so much pain and agony that people endure on a daily basis, simply to ensure that there is food on the table, roof over one’s head, etc.

    I do not have any answers, either, Gem, sorry for that. I am filing a claim on behalf of myself. Not sure what twists and turns in the road will ensue. I am hoping someone will represent me, although I do not have anyone as yet.

    The complaint is due to be delivered to my previous employer within the next week or two. I am sure this will be a learning experience.

    No matter what we do to advocate on our behalf, if we are seeking justice, it tends to be a treacherous and lonely road we embark upon.

    Sympathies to you, Gem!

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