June 06, 2012

Healthy Workplace bill addresses bullying

Source: NYSUT Communications

Much deserved attention has been given to student bullying in schools. What about workplace bullying? It's a significant problem that can cause or contribute to depression, hypertension and other stress-related illnesses.

At the NYSUT Representative Assembly, 99 members completed a survey about workplace bullying: 50 percent said they were victims of work-related bullying; more than 82 percent said they'd witnessed co-workers being bullied. Asked how employers deal with the issue, 60 percent said that either no policies existed to deal with workplace bullying or existing policies were not enforced.

The NY Healthy Workplace Act (S 4289 / A 4258) would fill this void in the law by allowing employees a civil cause of action if they have been harmed psychologically, physically or economically by workplace bullying. We need a strong incentive for employers to act when bullying is reported, and to be proactive in discouraging abusive behavior at work. Employers that intervene to prevent or correct abusive conditions when they are reported would be protected from liability under the proposed law.

Contact your state legislator and let them know this is something you want passed. Go to http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/menuf.cgi; or, to find your lawmaker go to www.assembly.state.ny.us; or www.nysenate.gov.