Miami-Dade County Commissioner Dennis C. Moss urges the Florida Legislature to enact workplace anti-bullying Legislation
On November 3, 2011, Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution sponsored by Commissioner Dennis C. Moss urging the Florida Legislature to enact workplace anti-bullying legislation. As a result of the ongoing focus placed on bullying at schools, Commissioner Moss recognized that the same harmful impacts associated with bullying exist in the workplace.
According to a Zogby International survey commissioned by the Workplace Bullying Institute, 35 percent of U.S. workers or an estimated 53 million Americans, have experienced bullying firsthand, while 13 percent of U.S. workers reported that they are currently being bullied in the workplace.
The Zogby survey also reported that nearly half of all U.S. workers report that they have been affected by workplace bullying, either being a target themselves or having witnessed abusive behavior against a co-worker. Studies have documented that bullying in the workplace can have serious effects on targeted employees, including feelings of shame and humiliation, stress, loss of sleep, severe anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, reduced immunity to infection and hypertension.
Commissioner Moss shared that other studies have documented that abusive work environments can have serious consequences for employers, such as reduced employee productivity and morale, higher turnover and absenteeism rates, and significant increases in medical and workers' compensation claims.
Legislation has been filed in 21 states that would make it unlawful to subject an employee to an abusive work environment. Such legislation would specify that an employer would be liable for workplace bullying committed by its employees.
Commissioner Moss stated, "Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, 'Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.' Unless we speak up and become a part of the solution, we are guilty of being a silent partner to the problem of bullying."