Fighting bullying in workplace

Are you working in a place where there’s discontent, a high rate of turnover, a lack of communication, an overbearing boss trying to exert his/her power, sexual harassment or a group of employees who regularly get together to mock a co-worker? More

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Focus: LAW

Fighting bullying in workplace

PBN PHOTO/BRIAN MCDONALD
BULLY PULPIT: Butler Associates Senior Professional Cynthia J. Butler, Pannone Lopes Deveraux & West partner William E. O'Gara, center, and Schmidt Labor Research Center associate professor Anthony R. Wheeler discuss workplace bullying.
Posted 11/28/11

Are you working in a place where there’s discontent, a high rate of turnover, a lack of communication, an overbearing boss trying to exert his/her power, sexual harassment or a group of employees who regularly get together to mock a co-worker?

If so, you may be working in an environment that fosters workplace bullying, say three Rhode Island experts who hope to educate business owners on recognizing bullying and knowing the consequences and infractions of what they call a growing epidemic, even though incidences often go unreported.

That’s why William E. O’Gara, a partner and chair of Providence’s Pannone Lopes Devereaux & West’s employment-litigation teams, Cindy Butler, a senior professional in human resources at Butler Associates, and Anthony Wheeler, senior professional in human resources and an associate professor of human-resource management at the University of Rhode Island, decided to host a free seminar on “Workplace Bullying & Employers: Challenges, Consequences and Costs.”

The idea for the Dec. 7 event at the Crowne Plaza Warwick-Providence, evolved after O’Gara read an article that Wheeler put together fleshing out the issue of workplace bullying, an issue generating increasing interest among employers, O’Gara said.

The purpose of the presentation is to provide human-resources practitioners, business owners, nonprofit executives and employment attorneys with information about workplace bullying, its causes and effects, and recommendations for addressing and mitigating the effects of workplace bullying.

It includes the differences between bullying and harassment, subtle underlying bias, the legal, financial and environmental challenges, case studies and recommended best practices and includes prevention strategies, training and policies.

“Over the last few years I have received more and more calls from clients who are dealing with issues related to bullying in the workplace and trying to navigate an appropriate response,” O’Gara said.

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