I was interested in an article in a recent post in theWall Street Journal on a new law proposed in New York allowing employees to sue a boss for bullying.

Sarah E. Needleman writes:“Earlier this month, the Empire State’s Senate passed a bipartisan measure that would allow workers who’ve been physically, psychologically or economically abused while on the job to file charges against their employers in civil court. The bill applies to organizations of all sizes, unlike other employee-friendly laws that exempt small businesses, such as the federal government’s Family and Medical Leave Act. It also holds employers responsible for the bullying of workers by colleagues and not just supervisors.

Needleman notes that bills of this nature are “politically popular” and 16 other states have introduced similar legislation. The full article can be found at http://tinyurl.com/2fvk2pl

In times of recession, employees may tolerate toxic bosses and coworkers, but as the economy turns around and companies begin hiring again, workers who feel harassed will leave and look for a work environment conducive to increased satisfaction and happiness on the job.

Here are some tips to teach your managers so you retain your valuable workers and eliminate the threatening, humiliating, or intimidating “bully” image:

1. Check the facts before criticizing an employee.
2. Keep conversations with the employee private.
3. Address disagreements or gaps in performance as they occur — don’t save the discussion for the annual performance review.
4. Create a conversational environment for the discussion of viewpoints.
5. Listen carefully to what the employee is saying.
6. Control personal feelings of frustration or anger to facilitate clear thinking.
7. Articulate both personal and employee viewpoints until both agree they have been heard and understood.
8. Make the employee a partner in solving the problem.

Help your managers follow these steps, and they’ll not be perceived as jerks and fair game for a “bully” law suit.

The Workplace Power Institute has exceptional programs to help managers work smoothly with employees while focusing workers on organizational goals and increasing performance. Visit www.workplacepowerinstitute.com for more information.


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