LawyersandSettlements.com recently published our top 10 lawyer interviews for the month of May, 2012—based on your clicks. What was interesting was that the interview Jane Mundy had done with California employee attorney Donna M. Ballman, P.A. on workplace bullying and harassment on the job was the number one interview for the month.
Just as bullying in the schoolyard—and all forms of bullying such as that which we learned about in the national media after Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi took his own life—have become the focal point for new legislation and tougher penalties, bullying at work has become a hot legal issue.
The Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI)—you know an issue has hit a groundswell when there’s an organization dedicated to it—states that 35% of US workers have reported that they’ve been bullied at work. Of note, WBI informs that that’s about the equivalent of the combined populations of Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah.
The organization also defines bullying on the job as the following:
“Workplace Bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators that takes one or more of the following forms: verbal abuse; offensive conduct/behaviors (including nonverbal) which are threatening, humiliating, or intimidating; and work interference—sabotage—which prevents work from getting done.”
While a definition of workplace bullying provides a guide of bullying tactics, for employees and managers, being aware of signs that might indicate an escalating situation—including workplace violence—is just as important. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (opm.gov) shares the following as signs of workplace violence to be on the lookout for—the signs were identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, Profiling and Behavioral Assessment Unit: