Does Your Workplace Have a Bullying Problem?
Do you have a workplace bully? The recent media attention surrounding the alleged bullying of Miami Dolphins guard Jonathan Martin by tackle Rickie Incognito, has focused greater attention on the issue of workplace bullying. Perhaps most significantly, the NFL bullying scandal demonstrates that speaking up about bullying, or any form of harassment for that matter, takes a great amount of courage.
Although there is no current state or federal law in the United States which specifically prohibits workplace bullying, eleven states are currently considering legislation that would make workplace bullying illegal. Of course, even without workplace anti-bullying legislation, employers would be wise to adopt policies addressing this issue. Studies have shown that bullying destroys productivity, may result in increased absences to cope with the resulting stress, and may lead to higher turnover. In addition, if left unchecked, employees could assert claims resulting from bullying by using existing laws (such as sexual harassment or retaliation claims under Title VII) or assert state-law causes of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress or other torts.
The alleged NFL bullying scandal should serve as an eye-opener for all business owners. Has your company adopted policies to address and prevent workplace bullying? If you would like assistance creating or reviewing a workplace bullying policy, please reply to this email or contact your Elarbee Thompson attorney for further discussion.