California provides protections against workplace bullying

In recent years, elementary and secondary schools across the U.S. have taken steps to stop bullying. However, bullying behaviors like taunting, teasing, threatening and name calling aren't just a problem in schools. Statistics from the Workplace Bullying Institute indicate that more than one-quarter of U.S. employees admit to being victims of bullying at work.

Until recently, problems related to bullying in the workplace were largely ignored. Last year, California became one of the four states to pass anti-workplace bullying legislation. The bill, which is known as AB 2053, requires employers with 50 or more employees that already conduct anti-sexual harassment trainings to also provide training for members of their management team on how to prevent "abusive conduct."

Workplace bullying can take many forms and be subtle to overt in nature. In an estimated 77 percent of cases, the bully and victim are the same gender and nearly 50 percent of the time the bully is a superior. In cases where victims report the abusive behaviors, 72 percent of employers deny, discount, rationalize or somehow encourage the continuance of the bullying behaviors.

In California, the passage of AB 2053 establishes that workplace bullying is a very real and serious problem. Employees who are victims of bullying frequently suffer emotionally, mentally and even physically. Many develop mental health conditions like anxiety and depression and are forced to file for disability, transfer to a different department or location or find another job.

Los Angeles area residents who believe they are or have been the victim of workplace bullying may benefit from seeking the advice and assistance of an attorney who handles employment law matters. An attorney can assess an individual's case and pursue legal action to hold employers accountable for their actions and to recover damages related to the mental, emotional and financial injuries suffered as a result of the bullying behaviors.

Source: OC Register, "Bullied at work? It happens more often than many people realize, and management often does not help," Michelle Rafter, July 26, 2015

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