Sunday, October 26, 2014

Workplace Bullying Laws Should Be Enacted & Enforced, Whether or Not Damages are Recoverable

Historically and/or rhetorically speaking, there have been no laws to specifically address workplace bullying or harassment that is not based upon any protected category listed in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964… 

All employees—including federal and state employees—should be protected from workplace harassment and bullying, for any established motive, however, whether or not it is expressly articulated in Title VII, and whether or not damages would be recoverable in every case.

Agencies like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Department of Labor (DOL), and the courts should never turn a blind eye and deaf ear to any clearly valid claim(s) of harassment brought by any employees. Whenever they do they’re sending a message to companies that bully or allow their managers and/or other employees to do so that their behavior is acceptable, when bullying and harassment should never be acceptable. 

Failure of said agencies and the courts to properly or wholly address workplace harassment is the precise reason that incidents and reports of incidents of harassment have significantly increased over the years and are steadily on the rise.

EEOC, DOL, and the courts should properly consider any and all evidence submitted by employees who bring harassment claims against their employers, and should take additional steps under precarious circumstances, including deployment of ombudsmen to work sites where employers, or their managers and/or other employees have committed overt acts against employees, and the lawful restraint of overt harassers…

Ombudsmen Deployment

Whenever particularly gruesome claims are brought against an employer that said agencies have cause to believe may be true based upon submitted evidence and/or other factors, said agencies and/or acting representatives of the courts should conduct investigations of those companies. The prescribed investigations should entail deployment of undercover ombudsmen who would enter those companies as employees and/or by any other lawful means, with an objective or unbiased eye, and for any specified length of time, commencing from one week up to ten years, to assure the safety of the reporting employee, if they are still employed for the relevant company, and others. 

Ombudsmen would endeavor as much as is reasonably possible to work with named subjects or culprits of harassment, to determine if and to what extent any other employees or clients of the company, agency, etc. may be affected by their behavior, and to determine likelihood of validity of the claims of the filing employee(s).

Said ombudsmen should be awarded full legal authority to conduct the prescribed investigations, and to employ use of concealed cameras and other recording devices, noting that the acquired footage would only be utilized by the relevant agency to determine the existence of harassment and any improprieties of the claimants, for the purpose of objectively and appropriately addressing all discovered issues. The footage would not be published to the public, unless there are lawfully compelling reasons that it should be.

The Saul and David Clause

The Saul and David Clause* would restrain an employer or previous employer or managing agents of said employers or previous employers or others acting on their behalf from committing overt or extreme criminal acts against a targeted employee or former employee and/or members of their families or circle of friends or associates, etc.                                                                                                         
The clause would require either or all of the following:
  1. A mental health evaluation of the culprit, where it is deemed appropriate.
  2. Either temporary or permanent removal of a culprit from any and all positions of authority in which they’d be empowered to potentially harm employees in any capacity.
  3. Criminal prosecution of a culprit, where merited.  
(*Biblical Saul was a king who’d become enraged with jealousy of, obsessed with, and at one point even chased, David, his servant, out into the wilderness to murder him before insisting that he return to his household. David was a skillful, and yet kind and innocent young man who’d been chosen by the Creator to replace Saul as the leader of Israel.)  

In Summation

There are claims like intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation of character, stalking, invasion of privacy, attempted murder, etc., for which damages may currently be recovered from harassing employers. There should, nonetheless, be laws to specifically address general acts of workplace harassment or corporate bullying to best discourage those acts.

 No one should be made to feel that they are on a battle ground in their place of employment, where they strive and must to earn a living for survival and for the care of their families. Protecting workers is moreover in the best interest of business and government, both of which are deprived of revenues when employees develop health issues, call off work, and/or are driven from the workforce by bullies. 

Bully-related poverty, which has led to homelessness and other forms of deprivation and discrimination, health issues, and even deaths are way too serious to ignore. While it may not be practical to legislate “politeness,” professionalism should be a universal law...

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