Should We Be Creating a New Anti-Bullying Cause of Action
I know, opposing a law that seeks to prevent workplace bullying is like criticizing mom and apple pie. Still. More workplace litigation??? And why isn't the existing cause of action for the intentional infliction of emotional distress a perfectly good alternative for anyone who's truly "severely" damaged by "outrageous" conduct that goes beyond the bounds of human civility?
One of the great benefits of posting on this topic over at Forbes.com is the number of comments it generates. Not because it insures "hits" but because it engages a far larger community in a constructive multilogue on an issue of genuine and important public interest. Here's an excerpt:
According to a post in the Wall Street Journal Law Blog yesterday -- For Businesses, Bully Lawsuits May Pose New Threat -- New York's state Senate has passed a surprisingly bipartisan workplace anti-bullying law.
According to the Journal, the law would "allow workers who've been physically, psychologically or economically abused while on the job to file charges against their employers in civil court."
Economically abused????? The mind boggles.
The bill defines "bullying" broadly as the "repeated use of derogatory remarks, insults and epithets" that the (mythical and chronically overly sensitive) "reasonable person" would "find threatening, intimidating or humiliating."
Let's give this proposal a second thought, particularly in the context of legal practice. We lawyers do endeavor to "keep calm and carry on." We have been known, however, to push ourselves and to be pushed past our tempers' limits. We're human. We're under a lot of pressure. And we're fallible.
Read more here.