Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Poor Employer Reactions to Abusive Workplace Bullying Trigger 93% Public Support for Healthy Workplace Bill
Poor Employer Reactions to Abusive Workplace Bullying Trigger 93% Public Support for New Law
Results of scientific 2014 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey shows epidemic prevalence. Despite this, employers fail to protect targeted employees, resulting in nearly unanimous support for creating a new law.
NEW BRITAIN, CT— Feb. 25 — The Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) defined workplace bullying as “abusive conduct that is threatening, intimidating, humiliating, work sabotage or verbal abuse” in its 2014 national survey. Key results: 27% of all adult Americans have directly experienced it, 21% have witnessed it, 56% of perpetrators are bosses.
Since WBI introduced workplace bullying to the country in 1997 public awareness has risen to 72% according to the new survey. Despite this awareness, employers do little to stop workplace bullying.
The majority (72%) of employers reacted to complaints in inappropriate ways: 25% did not investigate, 31% either discounted it as not serious or considered it routine, 11% defended bullies, and 5% actively encouraged the abuse.
“Unfortunately the victims of this serious health-harming abuse are the ones asked to stop it,” says WBI director Dr. Gary Namie, “If there were a law as in Canada and other industrialized nations, employers would have to protect workers.”
According to the survey an overwhelming majority of Americans (93%) supported enactment of a new law that would protect all workers from repeated abusive mistreatment at work. Only 1% strongly opposed such a measure.
“Because of the strong public support and the stories from Connecticut citizens we are seeking sponsors in the legislature now” says Katherine Hermes, State Co-Coordinator to enact the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill and Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University. (Other coordinators are Lynne Appell-Munday of Newtown, a nurse, and Mary Beth Nelsen, a business consultant, of Oxford.) “This year could be a breakthrough year for us.” A new petition with 165 signatures is still active, and in the past petitions with nearly 300 signatures have been presented to the legislature’s Labor and Public Employees Committee.
WBI commissioned Zogby Analytics to conduct the survey of a national representative sample of all adult Americans (MOE ± 3.2%).
The Healthy Workplace Campaign is a national initiative to enact state laws to address abusive conduct in the American workplace. State Coordinators form a network of volunteer advocates. To date, 26 states have introduced a version of the model legislation, the Healthy Workplace Bill. Connecticut was the 12th state to introduce the Healthy Workplace Bill, but the last time was in 2008, when now-retired Sen. Edith Prague introduced and held a public hearing for her bill SB 60 co-sponsored by Reps. Kevin Ryan and Roberta Willis. The bill was withdrawn. Since then other public hearings have been held, but no bill has been put forward. “We hope new members of the Labor and Public Employees Committee are on board,” said Mary Beth Nelsen of Oxford, CT, State Co-Coordinator with Hermes, “as year after year workers have made it clear in the state that they want this law.”
On Thursday, February 27, 2014, Dr. Katherine Hermes will discuss the work of Connecticut Healthy Workplace Advocates, as well as the current initiative to enact anti-bullying legislation in our state, on the New London Greens' public access TV show "Thinking Green." The show airs live on on MetroCast channel 25 from 7:00-7:55pm; call-ins are welcome. Recordings of the show will be available on additional public access stations at a later date. The New London Greens have produced the show, which is recorded live from the MetroCast studio in Waterford, CT, since 2004.