SIGN PETITION: STOP WORKPLACE BULLYING!

Now you can do something about the epidemic of workplace bullying!

Please sign this petition to ask President Obama and the Secretary of Labor  to formulate uniform national legislation to protect American workers from this widely recognized form of workplace violence.

The petition drive is sponsored by this blog (When the Abuser Goes to Work) and other workplace anti-bully advocates.

Workplace bullying is devastating to the mental and physical health of targets and it costs employees, employers and taxpayers billions each year in lost productivity, absenteeism and health and social welfare costs.

America lags far behind other industrialized countries on this issue. Sweden adopted a workplace anti-bully law in 1993. The 32 countries of the European Union agreed in 2007 to require employers to prevent and protect workers from workplace bullying. Workers in Turkey and Estonia have protection from workplace bullying – why don’t we?

A 2011 survey by CareerBuilder found that 27 percent of American workers report having been bullied in the workplace. The short-term impact of this form of abuse is severe anxiety, depression, insomnia, etc. The long-term impact of high stress is chronic disease,  including cardiovascular disease.

The vast majority of targets have little or no legal recourse. For many, the only hope is to quit and face chronic unemployment.

U.S. Ranks Low in Access to Justice in Civil Courts

 

It is very difficult for workers to combat the epidemic of workplace bullying and abuse in the United States.

For one thing, unlike many industrialized countries, there is no law or regulatory scheme in the United States prohibiting workplace bullying.

With respect to the laws that do exist and which might offer workers some protection, the American civil justice system is simply out of reach for many Americans.  Most lack access to justice.

The World Justice Institute’s 2011 study of legal systems across the globe shows the United States ranks far behind other countries on providing an accessible legal system to the public.

The group’s report,  Rule of Law Index, analyzed nine different factors of legal systems around the world to gauge how well they function and serve each country’s residents.

In assuring access to the legal system, the U.S. ranked 21st out of the 66 countries included in the study. The U.S.’s lowest scores came from the “Access to Legal Counsel” and “Access and Affordability of Civil Courts.”

When the World Justice Institute’s study compared the U.S. to 23 other countries with similar average incomes, the U.S. ranked 20th, coming in ahead of only Croatia, Poland, and Italy. The “high income” countries (like the U.S.) with the most accessible civil justice systems are Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, New Zealand, Norway, Estonia, Austria and Japan, Belgium and the United Kingdom.  (So, Estonia beats us again!)

In the area of affordability of legal counsel, the U.S. ranked 52nd out of the 66 countries studied. “Legal assistance is expensive or unavailable, and the gap between rich and poor individuals in terms of both actual use of and satisfaction with the civil courts system remains significant,” the report’s authors said.

There also is a general perception in the U.S. that ethnic minorities and foreigners receive unequal treatment from the police and the courts.

The bottom line is that American workers have a much more difficult time than workers in other countries accessing the civil justice system to prevent employers from engaging in discrimination or workplace bullying.

The World Justice Project (WJP) is a multinational and multidisciplinary effort to strengthen the rule of law throughout the world. The WJP Rule of Law Index  is a quantitative assessment tool designed to offer a detailed and comprehensive picture of the extent to which countries adhere to the rule of law in practice. Data comes from a global poll of the general public and detailed questionnaires administered to local experts.