How we can stop workplace bullying

Work hurts for more than 1 in 3 Americans. Why?

Workers are legally allowed to abuse other workers on the job. We’re not talking about a bad day at the office. We’re talking about verbal abuse and intentional sabotage. We’re talking about an epidemic, like domestic violence, in which targets get beaten down, day after day.

This abuse can lead to severe anxiety, clinical depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-like symptoms, and harm on personal relationships. When workers report the problem, 6 in 10 employers ignore it.

It’s called workplace bullying. And it doesn’t just hurt workers. It hurts businesses, too. Workplace bullying reduces productivity, lowers morale, and creates more absenteeism and turnover. Businesses can end up spending more than double a salary when they push a trained employee out of her job.

Most targets of severe workplace abuse have little or no recourse under law. And employers most often take the easy way out by ignoring the complaints or siding with the aggressors.

So what do we do? Meet the Healthy Workplace Bill. It fills a big gap in the law. It gives targets of malicious and harmful abuse a legal right to seek damages and protects all employees from abusive treatment regardless of gender, race, or age, while encouraging employers to prevent bullying. If we pass the bill, employers can respond to abuse situations to minimize their liability. And as a result, have a healthier, more loyal, more productive workforce.

Sounds fair, right? Legislators in other countries think so. Australia, the UK, France, and Sweden all have laws about workplace abuse.

The Healthy Workplace Bill affirms human dignity. It gives workers a right to do their jobs without disabling interference. It supports public health by reducing mistreatment that harms workers and adds costs to our health care system.

How do we prevent employers from derailing careers through bullying and change our workplace cultures — just like sexual harassment law did?

It’s simple. We let our legislators know we want change. You’ll join the national movement to pass the Healthy Workplace Bill to help an estimated 53 million Americans who still suffer from workplace bullying.


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