April 23, 2019
Legislators Use Carrots Not Sticks
On April 23, 2019 the Governor of Tennessee signed and enacted an expansion of the state’s anti-bullying law. The law now applies to private sector employers. I find this law unique from other states’ attempts at anti-bullying legislation because it is not a mandate. It is a safe harbor. If an employer adopts the model policy created by the Tennessee advisory commission on intergovernmental relations, then the employer is immune from suit for any employee’s abusive conduct that results in negligent or intentional infliction of mental anguish. Interestingly, it does not protect an employee who engages in such conduct from personal liability. I believe that’s called accountability.
Practical Application? Several states have or have had similar legislation. This creates an opportunity for advocacy. So, reach out to your state senators and delegates and share Tennessee’s examples. Encourage employers to promote workplace civility. Prevention just might be the cure – said the eternal optimist.