Several States Set Sights on Workplace Anti-Bullying Legislation

03/27/2013 // Los Angeles , California , US // Keller Grover LLP // Eric Grover // (press release)

Are you tired of your boss picking on you or your co-worker by endlessly teasing you? If going to work each day has become unbearable because of constant bullying, lawmakers in several states are on your side, says Los Angeles employment lawyer Eric Grover.

More than a dozen states, including Massachusetts and New York, are considering enacting laws that would allow victims to seek compensation from employers and pressure them to stop bullying in the workplace. Bullying in the workplace can include behavior ranging from verbal abuse by a supervisor to cruel comments and teasing by a co-worker, CBS News reported.

While many lawmakers and taxpayers are supporting the measure to secure employees’ rights in the workplace, business groups like the US Chamber of Commerce have opposed attempts at other anti-bullying laws because they contend that the legislation would lead to a spate of frivolous lawsuits.

But according to a management association survey, 56 percent of companies already have some kind of anti-bullying policy mentioned in an employee handbook or code of conduct, reports CBS News. Violations of those policies can result in termination, suspension or even anger management training.

Employers also reported that most of the occurrences of bullying included verbal abuse like shouting, foul language and name-calling, along with spreading gossip, innuendo and falsehoods, including posting on social media sites.

In addition, 50 percent of employers in a 2011 survey reported incidents of bullying in their workplace, and about a fourth of human resource professionals themselves said they had been bullied, according to

“In an increasingly tense and angry society bullying seems to be more prevalent in schools and in the workplace,” says Los Angeles employment lawyer Eric Grover. “Unfortunately many employers fail to realize that aside from the liability caused by a hostile work environment, employees are less productive when under stress. In today’s job market people don’t have the luxury of switching jobs just because their peers or supervisors treat them poorly. In a better job market the turnover caused by bullying can be another major cost for a company. It’s unfortunate, but perhaps it’s necessary to provide the same type of legal protections in the workplace for bullying as there are for sexual harassment and discrimination,” continues Grover.


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