I honestly don't know that the Bully Boss laws are necessary. Why? Well, because there is such a thing as "Hostile Workplace Environment" which a lot of people overlook. Usually it's included in the definition of proving racial or gender bias, but I'm pretty sure I remember reading about a few people who have successfully sued on proving this single point alone.
A Hostile Workplace is simply one in which your co-workers or supervisor or someone makes it impossible for you to work because of "X" behavior. It doesn't have to be just harrassment. Here's a close definition I found on the web:
"Hostile Work Environment refers to harassment by supervisors, managers, coworkers, agents of the company/organization and outside vendors. Hostile Work Environment consists of a condition where employee cannot do their job without feeling harassed or threatened. (1)
According to most legal definitions, Hostile Work Environment refers to harassment or discrimination that is a violation of a person's civil rights - based on gender, sexual orientation, race, color, nationality, ancestry, ethnic origin, religion, physical handicap/disability, medical condition, physical appearance, marital status, veteran status, education.
Webster's definition of Hostile (2):
of or relating to an enemy
marked especially by overt antagonism: UNFRIENDLY
Webster's definition of Hostility:
a hostile state, hostile action or overt acts of warfare
Conflict, opposition, or resistance in thought or principle.
Recent news reports quote research that people who witness harassment have stress symptoms almost as severe as those who are the target of harassment.
Consensual Behavior consists of voluntary, mutually welcome relationships between coworkers at any level. Consensual behavior is not regulated by laws nor do laws try to interfere in the personal private lives of coworkers. However, be aware, other employees may feel discriminated against, harassed or work in a hostile environment if denied equal opportunity due to a consensual relationship of coworkers. (1) "
Note that the quoted text says "most" legal definitions. As I said, there have been a few cases when people have sued where there is no specifically protected civil rights being violated but the Hostile Workplace definition still ensues. Though, proving HWE all by itself, outside of the civil rights violations is such a pain that I'm not surprised that people don't general consider suing on that point alone.
BTW, I found my definition reference at: http://www.itstime.com/apr97.htm
Lookup the site and see what they have to say about their definition of HWE (which is a little broader than the above legalese).
Also, lest we forget, acts of workplace violence are up in recent years. How much of this, I wonder, is caused by HWEs or by Bully Bosses? Doesn't HR have a responsibility to protect employees at all levels even if the workplace violence is only verbal in nature BEFORE the responses to it get physical?
Brandie Tarvin, MCITP Database AdministratorLiveJournal Blog: http://brandietarvin.livejournal.com/[/url]On LinkedIn!, Google+, and Twitter.Freelance Writer: ShadowrunLatchkeys: Nevermore, Latchkeys: The Bootleg War, and Latchkeys: Roscoes in the Night are now available on Nook and Kindle.