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Tennessee is the first state to legislate anti-bullying at work, and an employer accused of abusive conduct towards its employees may face a civil action. If you are a business owner, it may be in your best interests to become familiar with a recent change made to the Healthy Workplace Act, which now requires private employers to adopt and address policies to prevent bullying. The Act, which was first passed in 2014, initially only required public sector employers, such as local, state and county governments, to comply. The Law Office of Gregory D. Smith is committed to bringing satisfactory results to both private and public sector employer and employee workplace issues.

The provisions of the updated Healthy Workplace Act are designed to prevent abusive conduct within a more inclusive range of employers. Abusive workplace conduct may include sabotage, verbal or physical actions. Governor Bill Lee’s amendment requiring private companies to also adopt and implement anti-bullying workplace guidelines went into effect on April 23, 2019.

If you are an employee of a company in Tennessee, you may wish to request a copy of your employer’s policy document for promoting a healthy work environment. Some courses of action employers may take to recognize and resolve abusive workplace conduct might include:

  • Training employees and supervisors to recognize what constitutes respectful conduct versus that which is bullying or abusive
  • Rewarding employee behaviors that are positive while addressing those that are considered negative
  • Adopting anti-retaliation policies and providing a reliable process for employees to report complaints, improper behavior or abusive conduct

Employer-employee conflicts may often be resolved quickly through an effective communication channel. When an issue arises without a means for discussing the problem, however, it may fester and lead to negative performance or it may possibly result in a civil action. Visit my page on civil law to learn more about employee rights in the workplace.