Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Making the Workplace Uncomfortable

We've all seen it at one point or another: a bully in the workplace. This person can be a boss, an owner, someone in power or someone just on a power trip. They can work in any department and they come in many shapes and sizes. But Human Resources needs to be aware of these people and take care of them before they dominate and intimidate the workplace. Like a school bully, it can be intimidating to stand up to these workplace bullies, but someone needs to do it. And that someone needs to be from either management or human resources.

A few articles on the subject:

Bloomberg Businessweek starts us out with ten signs of a fear-based workplace so you know what to look out for (H/T Wendy). Some of them are more obvious than others but #10 seems to sum it up: "When senior leaders make virtually all decisions in secret, dole out information in unhelpful drips, and base hiring on sheeplike compliance rather than energy and talent, and the PA system all but blares "Be glad to have a job, stop whining, and get back to work," your company's fear problem is off the charts."

TIME via Yahoo! News is next with an article saying that New York just passed a bill which may make workplace bullying explicitly illegal: "If New York's Healthy Workplace Bill becomes law, workers who can show that they were subjected to hostile conduct - including verbal abuse, threats or work sabotage - could be awarded lost wages, medical expenses, compensation for emotional distress and punitive damages"

This would seem to be good news for the group of workers who have filed a class action lawsuit against New York chain Pio Pio according to Grub Street New York.

Lastly, the Employment Law Blog cautions against terminating in haste and says that you need to have a total command of the facts before you decide to let someone go, even for what seems like a misdeed.

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