Workplace Bullying, Leader Expert Challenges Employees To Take Action
Apr 03, 2017 03:34 PM EDT
With many failing to realize that bullying can result in legal implications, many organizations have the mistaken belief that workplace bullying can be legal as long as the person doing the bullying isn't discriminatory in their actions. The reality is that employees have other legal avenues that they could pursue other than Title VII claims, such as the state workplace tort laws.
With regard to workplace bullying, Natasha Bowman, an expert consultant and thought leader for organizations, delivered a presentation at Washington, D.C. on "Equal Opportunity Bullying." Following ABA Journal's brief conversation with Bowman, she explained the extent to which bullying can pose a major impact on workplace culture.
"Not only can it affect morale, reduce employee engagement, and increase turnover, it can also lead to extreme stress amongst employees," Bowman said. She said that many managers and organizational leaders are making the same mistakes that resulted in legal claims being filed against them over workplace bullying.
Apparently, most organizations are aware of basic federal labor and employment laws but often struggle with the interpretation and application of them. In fact, not many are aware that having a policy of being respectful at work could potentially violate the National Labor Relations Act, which brings gray areas to real-life labor scenarios especially involving workplace bullying.
"There are certain state laws that prohibit bullying in the workplace," and some state legislatures are considering passing legislation on workplace bullying, Jose Behar, a partner at Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym in Chicago, told Bloomberg BNA last month. "Just because you don't have a federal lawsuit doesn't mean you don't have a state or a municipal lawsuit."
Having said that, the expert definitely seems to challenge everyone to make the most of every opportunity that is presented to them, and to go out and seek them despite workplace issues. Bowman further encouraged employees to take up legal actions in case of mistreatment, resentment, and active disengagement involving workplace bullying.