We often think that bullies can only be found in the schoolyard- remember the bigger kid who had a physical advantage over other children and used it to torment them? The reality is that bullying can linger well beyond childhood and often will rear its ugly head in the workplace.
When we were kids, our option for dealing with bullies was pretty limited by our age, our inability to understand what was going on, and the options we had for doing something about it. As adults in the workplace, though, the landscape is different. We can establish personal boundaries, respond to bullying, (as a victim or as a witness to bullying), and also report bullying to our employer, in accordance with our organization’s established policy and procedure. As employees, we are responsible for our own behavior in the workplace and also the behavior of others. When we witness bullying, it’s our responsibility to “say something”.
At present, no federal law directly addresses bullying, however in some cases, bullying overlaps with discriminatory harassment, which is covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Harassment is a form of employment discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA). Harassment is unwelcome and unlawful conduct that is based on one’s protected statuswhich includes: race, gender, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. An example of harassment is offensive or derogatory remarks about a person’s national origin, accent or ethnicity.
Workplace Bullying is verbal, physical, social, or psychological abuse by your employer, another person, or group of people at work that hurts, harms, or humiliates another person physically or emotionally. If the bullying behavior directed at the person is also based on a protected class it is a violation of Title VII.
Our Local Government University Online Training “Course of the Month” for May is “Workplace Bullying”. This is a great training for every employee in your organization. If you have not yet signed up your organization to use this valuable training resource, please contact Michele Faulkner, firstname.lastname@example.org, (239) 222-8278 to get started today!
Michele Faulkner, Sr. Loss Prevention Consultant, PRM