I am pleased to announce that this blog is a founding member of the National Workplace Bullying Coalition (NWBC), the first organization dedicated to seeking a national solution to the problem of workplace bullying in the United States.
The NWBC proposes a convention, similar to a constitutional convention, to detail the nature of workplace bullying, the negative consequences to both employers and employees, how today’s business leaders address the issue and what remains to be accomplished. The NWBC supports state and local efforts to address workplace bullying but the goal ultimately is to achieve a national law or regulations that provides employers with incentive to insure a safe, healthy and bully-free workplace for all employees.
Many developed countries around the world already have legislation in place to address workplace bullying. However, in the vast majority of workers in America workers have no protection unless they can shoehorn their claim under an existing law, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects individuals on the basis of race, sex, religion & national origin.
The Workplace Bullying Institute has backed state legislation, the proposed Healthy Workplace Bill (HWB), since 2002. Versions of the HWB have been proposed in more than 20 states but none of the bills have passed, raising questions about the viability of this approach. Also, it is highly unlikely that so-called “pro business” states will willingly adopt workplace anti-bullying legislation, leaving employees with no recourse.
Nevada State Senator Richard Segerblom of Las Vegas, NV, has proposed a different solution to the problem of workplace bullying that some consider to be more promising than the HWB approach. Segerblom has proposed amending Nevada’s employment discrimination law so that anyone who is a victim of a hostile workplace environment has a legal remedy whether or not they can show illegal discrimination. In other words, he has proposed making the hostile workplace remedy “status blind.”
Many national surveys show that workplace bullying is epidemic in the United States. CareerBuilder in 2011 found that one in four workers in the United States experience workplace bullying, which has potentially severe mental and physical health impacts. Most targets of workplace bullying are expelled from the workplace – fired or forced to quit – and many suffer the symptoms of post traumatic stress syndrome for years afterward.
The NWBC is an outgrowth of New Jersey workplace anti-bullying efforts and a loose-knit coalition called Protect U.S. Workers, created by this blog and documentary filmmaker Beverly Peterson of Our Bully Pulpit. The NWBC supports the on-going petition drive by Protect U.S. Workers’ calling upon the Obama administration and the Secretary of Labor to adopt a national approach to workplace bullying.
Membership in the new coalition includes The Honorable Sue Pai Yang, who retired in 2012 after serving as the first Asian American appointed to the Workers’ Compensation Court in New Jersey; Jerry Carbo, Esq. an Associate Professor of Management at the Grove College of Business at Shippensburg University, Pennsylvania, who has researched and written about workplace bullying.; Catherine Mattice. who runs the consulting business, Civility Partners, LLC, which specializes in helping organizations realize positive workplace cultures; and The Honorable Stephen Tuber is a retired Judge of the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation – 1981 – 2009).