Thursday, May 27, 2010

Employee bullying

Employee bullying has been handled with a wink and a nod for far too long. Individual states and possibly the federal government will step in to rectify what employers should have been doing all along. The financial consequences for a small business is extinction.

Sarah Needlemann writes about a law in New York state that will most certainly spread to many other jurisdictions.

A significant number of U.S. workers say they are— and soon those in New York may be able to sue their employers, including small businesses, for any suffering they experience at the hands of a toxic boss or other workplace bully.

Business owners should also consider the possibility that they might actually be bullies. One telltale sign: A high turnover rate, says Gary Namie, co-founder of the Workplace Bullying Institute, an employee-rights group in Bellingham, Wash. "You're creating a place that reasonable people don't want to stay in," he says. "You've probably focused on whatever it is you make or sell and don't have an incentive to get management skills."

Another indicator of a bully business owner is if he or she takes all the credit for their company's success, says Vicky Oliver, author of "Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots." "If everything is your idea," she says, "it's probably because you're bullying the people who work for you into submission.