We have a fundamental right to dignity at work

The Dignity At Work 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. 

What workplace abuse is

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:

  • Interpersonal abuse like public ridicule, disrespect, overwork, and overcontrol, including put-downs, screaming, excessive criticism, destructive gossip, false...

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An advocate asks: where’s the professional and community understanding of workplace bullying?

My workplace bullying started in May of 2010 when my then husband was on his second deployment to Afghanistan. I worked as an Executive Administrator for seven years coordinating sales training schools.

In September of 2010, my position became full time. After signing the paperwork, the sabotage increased. Management orchestrated it and recruited sales training managers, salespeople in the field, and possibly even a vendor. I just found out the term for this is “mobbing.”

  • Things on my documents changed (limo pickup times, rooming lists, etc.)
  • Laptop crashed, suspicious issues with computer
  • Important papers were taken off my desk
  • Excluded from meetings
  • Blamed for mistakes that others made
  • Workload increased
  • Last minute requests increased
  • Emails deleted

This was the first time ever in my life that my work was sabotaged. I was in complete shock that people actually behaved this way. I could not imagine doing this to anyone. I had always received positive reviews, and each...

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Lisa's workplace bullying story: sabotage in a clinical setting

It all started when a new program manager was promoted to the position from an overnight staff position. I had worked at the residential program that housed DYS teenage boys for about three years as the clinical director of the program.

A vendor agency ran the program, but we got our referrals and directives from DYS. I enjoyed the job and was good at it. I had the respect of the other clinical staff in my DYS group meetings and the caseworkers who came to the program regularly.

As clinical director, I was responsible for one other clinical staff and for all therapy that occurred in the program: family, individual, and group. I did some staff training as well as supporting staff at times of crisis.

How it began
Things started changing when the new director started. He began to make connections with the staff. It quickly became clear that I was not someone he clicked with.

It started slow at first... inside jokes, undermining my decisions, and making fun of me in meetings. The staff...

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