The Workplace Psychological Safety Act is about granting our fundamental human right to dignity at work. Workplace abuse (or workplace bullying) often involves a person in power, such as a manager or supervisor, taking advantage of a less powerful employee.
Abuse of power is too often a symptom of implicit bias — a problem discrimination law stopped helping since the 1980s when courts moved from focusing on impact to intent. Intent is a high threshold that makes the law mostly ineffective at addressing bias and disrupting hierarchies at work that create haves and have-nots when those in power “other” people. More than 50 years after Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, white men still occupy the vast majority of power positions in the U.S. workforce.
Abuse may take the form of public ridicule, disrespect, overwork, and overcontrol, including put-downs, screaming, excessive criticism, destructive gossip, false accusations,...
Targets of second-time abuse (or more) more quickly recognize the signs of it, a benefit that can help them more quickly escape the toxic situation. Once they see what's happening, they can detach and put the wheels in motion to build a safety net and remove themselves from the toxic environment.
But the quick recognition can also often mean re-trauma, the triggering of going back to an emotionally painful place — sometimes more severe than the first. Initial abuse generally takes place with family (parents and siblings), at a previous job (likely bosses), or at school (likely classmates).
Issues around authoritarian parenting are common initial sources of abuse. Targets don't feel seen or heard or that their feelings matter, and these feelings crop up again with abuse at work.
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