On Monday, I’ll be participating in a panel discussion titled “Emotions At Work: The Employment Relationship During an Age of Anxiety,” at the annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), being held this year in Washington, D.C. My presentation is titled “Is Workplace Bullying Entering the Mainstream of American Employment Law?”
The AALS annual meeting is the major U.S. conference for legal academicians, and thus it will be a good opportunity to talk about workplace bullying and the law with fellow employment law professors.
In essence, I’ll be briefly covering developments that long-time readers of this blog have been following for years, including:
- Introduction of the Healthy Workplace Bill in some 25 states over the past decade;
- California and Tennessee workplace bullying legislation enacted in 2014;
- Municipal and county anti-bullying policies covering public workers & proclamations supporting Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week ;
- County grand jury reports on workplace bullying in county agencies;
- Insurance companies starting to cover bullying-related lawsuits in Employment Practices Liability Insurance policies;
- Professional associations, such as the Joint Commission (a non-profit organization that accredits health care providers), addressing workplace bullying in their membership requirements; and,
- A growing amount of legal scholarship and coverage in the legal media about workplace bullying.
While these are all constructive developments, my main editorial point will be that workplace bullying has yet to enter the mainstream of U.S. employment law, especially in comparison to its presence in academic and professional fields such as organizational psychology and human resources. And obviously, we’re behind those countries that have enacted workplace bullying laws on a national or state/provincial levels.
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