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If you have not heard of workplace bullying, you are probably not alone. This phrase, however, has quietly gained entrance to the legal lexicon. On Oct. 23, 2006, the New Jersey Legislature became the 10th state legislature to consider whether to enact an antibullying statute (A-3590), known as the “Healthy Workplace Act.”

The Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute (Institute), the leading advocate for this type of legislation, defines workplace bullying as “the repeated, health-endangering mistreatment of a person (the target) by a cruel perpetrator (the bully)” and “is best understood through the bully’s behaviors — acts of commission (hostile verbal, nonverbal communication and interfering actions) and omission (the withholding of resources such as time, information, training, support or equipment that guarantee failure) — which are all driven by the bully’s need to control other people.” The bill declares that according to surveys and studies “16 to 21 percent of employees nationwide have directly experienced health-endangering workplace bullying, abuse, and harassment” and that this behavior is “four times more prevalent than sexual harassment.”

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