Second of Five Freedoms for Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week

#2: Freedom to enjoy Dignity at Work
FreedomWeek-13-2In the American workplace, all rights are owned by employers as a matter of both law and tradition. The rare exceptions are when bargaining agreements proscribe how each side must act. The foundation for treating others with dignity (often called their “due dignity”) is respect. Respectful, non-abusive, treatment acknowledges the quality of the other person being worthy and honorable. The origins of the word Dignity derive from the Old French dignete, and from Latin dignitas, from dignus “worthy.” According to Wikipedia, philosopher Immanuel Kant related human dignity to “free will,” the ability of humans to choose their own actions. Being human alone is considered by Protestantism, Catholicism and Judaism to imbue that person with dignity in that he or she was created in the image of God. Islam and Buddhism speak of dignity as intertwined with seeking self perfection. From the Enlightenment era (also the time of the birth of the USA) comes the notion that personal worth, a proper sense of pride and self-respect are inherent and inalienable human rights. The inherent property directly contradicts some modern notions that dignity must be “earned.”
Inherent dignity at work should not be infringed by employers. but it is routinely done. They should have no right to invade employees’ privacy, their sense of personal integrity or well-being. Canadian and EU laws prohibiting bullying and mobbing often refer to the sanctity of one’s psychological integrity or self-worth or self-esteem.
These declarations would be an unimaginable inclusion in our anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill in the U.S. We Americans choose to delude ourselves about our “toughness” while denying the reality of the science of stress-related diseases. Bullying assaults generate distress, which, in turn, causes health-harming stress-related diseases. There is no such thing as a biology unique to American bodies. All humans, as a species, share the human stress response. Perpetrators who act with contempt toward the targeted individuals they bully refuse to acknowledge the humanity of their prey. This level of disrespect tramples targets’ sense of self-worth. Common to all forms of abuse is this outside interference with victims’ sense of worth. Abuse victims are made to feel worthless. Bullied targets feel worthless and incompetent over time, too. Their dignity is shattered. Unfettered Dignity at Work should be routine, not the exception. Workers should not have to be grateful when an inherent right is granted. It makes beggars of us all. So, during Freedom Week especially, stand proud and insist on your right to Dignity.
Pass on the empowerment. Finally, please never stand idly by when you witness another person’s Dignity being crushed. (via Workplace Bullying Institute)

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