According to management attorney Harold Kurman, anti-bullying legislation will be coming to a workplace near you in the not so distant future. As it stands today, it is perfectly legal for employers, supervisors, and coworkers to engage in bullying, so long as the bullying is not based on a protected category such as age, race, gender, or disability. However, that may change as society collectively decides that bullying in the workplace is no longer acceptable.
Mr. Kurman points out several things that employers can do to be proactive about preventing bullying, including 1) developing a comprehensive anti-bullying policy, 2) instituting severe disciplinary consequences for provable bullying behavior, 3) creating an effective complaint process for victims of bullying, and 4) implementing anti-bullying training practices. Many companies have already instituted some or all of these practices. Ultimately, it makes good economic sense to attempt to eliminate bullying from the workplace, as a happier workforce will be more productive and more loyal.