The U.S. continues to trail the rest of the developed world by ignoring the serious problem of psychological violence in the workplace.
The U.S. is now being surpassed by both of its neighbors, Mexico and Canada.
This despite a spate of workplace shootings that should at least raise questions about the problem of psychological violence in the workplace.
Mexico’s Ministry of Labor and Social Security last year published in its official gazette a set of regulations addressing risks posed by psychological violence in the workplace called Federal Regulation of Health and Safety at Work. These regulations require employers to identify, analyze and prevent work-related psychological risks. They will go into effect on Oct. 23, 2019.
The regulations also require large Mexican employers to adopt measures to prevent and control psychological risks, address acts of violence, and promote a healthy workplace environment.
The regulations defines psychological harassment as:
“Those acts that damage the psychological stability, personality, dignity or integrity of the worker. It consists in actions of systematic and persistent intimidation, such as: discredit, insults, humiliation, devaluation, marginalization, indifference, destructive comparisons, rejection, restriction to self-determination and threats, which lead the worker to depression, isolation, loss of self-esteem.”
The regulations specifically prohibit harassment and ill-treatment of workers.
Harassment is considered the “exercise of power in a relationship of real subordination of the victim to the aggressor in the workplace, expressed in verbal, physical or both” and ill-treatment consists of “insults, ridicule, humiliation and / or ridicule of the worker, carried out continuously and persistently (more than once and / or on different occasions).”
The regulations point to the following risk factors that can cause anxiety disorders, disrupt sleep and severe stress:
- Workloads that exceed the worker’s capacity;
- Lack of control over the work;
- Working days in excess of those provided for in the Federal Labor Law;
- Rotation of shifts that include a night shift and night shift without periods of recovery and rest;
- interference in the work-family relationship; and
- Negative leadership and negative relationships at work.
Employers must keep a record of compliance and will be subject to inspections .
Why does American lag behind Mexico and Canada?
One obstacle is a wrong-headed and monumentally unsuccessful campaign launched by the Workplace Bullying Institute in 2002 to achieve a state by state solution to the problem through the passage of an ineffectual bill called The Healthy Workplace Bill. Moreover, the Institute’s leaders have been unable or unwilling to cooperate with other advocates and advocacy organizations.
But ultimately this a problem that the U.S. Congress should have addressed years ago. What are they waiting for? How long will Congress bury its head in the sand and allow multinational employers to chew up American workers and spit them out at the first sign of a gray hair?