Saturday, March 6, 2010

America, it is time to make workplace harassment illegal

What will it take before elected representatives in the United States pass laws to protect employees from workplace harassment? How many innocent lives will need to be lost before representatives wake up and realize that workplace harassment is just as important as racial or sexual harassment? When will they pass laws to protect the American employees? How disappointing it is to see that the most progress country in the world continues to allow employees to be terrorized and harassed by workplace bullies.

Perhaps the states should look to their neighbor to the north and begin to follow their example of making workplace harassment illegal. A few forward-thinking provinces have adopted workplace harassment laws. The province of Ontario recently passed legislation that addresses both workplace violence and harassment. The law which is an amendment to the Ontario Health & Safety Act goes into effect on June 15, 2010. Elected representatives understand the importance of ensuring that all employees are protected in the workplace. They were not afraid to do something about the problem. So, what is stopping American elected representatives from coming to this same realization? Should not American employees have the right to work in an environment that is harassment-free?

I am concerned that many lives will be lost or forever damaged if steps are not taken to address the issue of workplace harassment. American employees who are being harassed in the workplace are frustrated because they do not have laws to protect them from their harassers. They must silently suffer. The bullied employees' health, well-being and careers have been jeopardized, yet employers and elected representatives continue to look the other way and pretend that the problem doesn't exist. They have buried their heads in the sand and are hoping that the problem goes away. Unfortunately, employers think the best way to address the problem is to get rid of the harassed person. They would rather terminate an innocent person, rather than confront the harasser about his/her actions.

How long will we continue to ignore workplace harassment? When will workplace harassment become illegal in the most progressive country in the world?

I encourage you to contact your elected representatives and find out what they are doing about workplace harassment. Change will only come when we collectively address the issue of workplace harassment.

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