Bullying: the next battleground in employment law? – The Washington Post features a story on how workplace bullying is getting a higher profile as a movement grows to limit worker abuse. The article discusses the growing number of states that are contemplating legislation which would enable workers to sue for harassment that causes physical or emotional harm. In a 2011 SHRM survey on workplace bullying, half of all surveyed employers reported incidents of bullying.

“The management association survey found that 56 percent of companies have some kind of anti-bullying policy, usually contained in an employee handbook or code of conduct. Most said their response to bullying allegations depends on the circumstances but could include suspension, termination, reassignment or mandatory anger management training.

Employers say the vast majority of bullying incidents are verbal abuse, such as shouting, swearing and name-calling, along with malicious gossip, rumors and lies. Bullying through technology, such as Facebook or other social media, accounted for about 1 in 5 incidents, the survey found.”

Related: Employment law attorney Michael W. Fox writes about this in his blog Jottings by an Employer’s Lawyer The March Toward a Bullying Cause of Action Continues
Work Like a Spy – When you think of working at the CIA, you might think of stress and danger – but the federal organization has a low turnover rate. At Fast Company, former counterterrorism agent J.C. Carleson explores how the CIA keeps employees happy. In a related article, Work Like A Spy: An Ex-CIA Officer’s Tips For Business Success, Danielle Sacks interviews Carleson about the parallels between being in corporate America and being in the CIA.
Attitudes about the Mentally Ill – a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that Americans have a contradictory view of mental illness. “While most Americans believe people with such ailments are the victims of prejudice and discrimination, a substantial portion of the public say they have qualms about working in the same place or having their children attend a school where someone with a “serious” mental illness is employed.”
Domestic Violence – We’ve talked about how domestic violence can carry over into the workplace and we’ve offered webinars and suggestions for what employers can do to help protect a victim of abuse. To add to the arsenal of tools, we’ve found a report on state laws about Removing Guns from Domestic Violence Offenders (PDF). The report is an analysis of state level policies aimed at preventing future or continued abuse that was issued by the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.
Harlem Shake craze results in firings – The Internet births some crazy memes that spread like wildfire. For the last few months, it was Gangnam Style dancing, but that has been supplanted by a series of 30-second clips set to 2012 song called the Harlem Shake. Each video follows a pattern: One person – often wearing a helmet or some other crazy headgear begins moving to the music while a few seemingly oblivious people in the background go about their business. At one point, the beat changes and the scene does as well – suddenly, a large crowd in bizarre costumes are dancing in a wild and crazy fashion. About 4,000 variations of the Harlem Shuffle are posted to YouTube each day, and it’s a global phenomena, cropping up in such diverse groups as the Swiss Army to the English National Ballet. But when 15 Australian miners tried to join in the craze, they were fired for violating safety rules. Fair or too harsh? Is your workplace prepared for any outbreaks of the Harlem Shake? Besides safety issues, there may be another HR -related issue: not everyone finds it amusing – there have been charges of cultural appropriation , with some saying they feel mocked by the dance.
News Briefs

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