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Bullying in the workplace

While bullying is often thought of in the context of grade schools or middle schools in Indiana and across the nation, the Workplace Bullying Institute reported that the problem affects people at their jobs with more than 25 percent of workers admitting they have been victims of bullying. In light of this, states are now reviewing laws to protect workers in these situations.

In one case, a New Hampshire employee complained about poor financial practices at the nursing home for veterans where she worked. Her supervisor targeted her although she was regularly complemented on her job performance by others. Problems included exclusion, limited access to important information and denial of credit for her work. Fellow workers did not help the situation. The woman eventually lost sleep and weight. After four years, she was the victim of a wrongful termination. While the director of the home won't comment on the case, state legislators in New Hapmshire and elsewhere are considering strengthening laws for employees who find themselves in abusive work situations.

While at least two bullying cases within the past year have made the national news, there are no anti-bullying laws in place. The only time someone is protected is if they are a whistleblower or member of a protected class and can claim that disability, sex, age or race led to the harassing behaviors. One of the challenges is that it is hard to describe what constitutes bullying, which means it's hard to control. However, employers are working to address the issue, raise awareness among workers and combat the problem.

If someone is unjustly fired, they might go through a myriad of emotions, including shame and wondering how they will support their family. An employment attorney might be able to help a client fight wrongful termination.

Source: WBOI, "States Consider Bills To Crack Down On Workplace Bullies", Yuki Noguchi, June 02, 2014

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