Workplace Bullying: Where the Law Falls Short
This recent article from the Canberra Times from Canberra, Australia, provides an in-depth legal analysis of bullying and the law in Australia. Even though one of their provinces has one of the most progressive laws on bullying in the workplace, it is not throughout the whole country of Australia.
Legal experts spell out the problem with law and workplace bullying for places that haven’t adopted the progressive law. They rightfully point out that because there is no specific law prohibiting bullying, there are only certain legal claims a target of bullying may make. Prosecutors “have been forced to try to shoehorn bullying claims into some other cause of action.” This echoes what I have said in the past: Unless the bullying involves sexual harassment, physical violence, or ethnic or gender discrimination – it’s very hard to prosecute.
One other avenue is workplace policy. The article indicates that “If there is an anti-bullying policy in the workplace, perhaps it is implied in the contract of employment, and the employee could sue for breach of contract.” Unfortunately, most workplaces in the United States do not have an effective policy on workplace bullying, if they have one at all.
For more information on how to analyze workplace bullying in your workplace so that you can stop it NOW, contact me, Kathleen Bartle. I have years of experience tailoring workplace conflict solutions that will work specifically for your organization.
I’m Kathleen Bartle, a strategic consultant on workplace conflict to executives worldwide for more than 20 years. My work brings individualized solutions to your teams’ lost productivity, loss of key personnel, low morale, and the high costs resulting from bullying, abrasive behaviors and interpersonal workplace conflicts. You can contact me here.
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