AB2053 requires employers to provide workplace training that will give “practical examples aimed at instructing supervisors in the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation…”
This year a new anti-bullying law (AB2053) takes effect for the workplace, and it raises good questions for the home and school as well. Lisa Ford-Berry, founder of BRAVE Society, a Carmichael non-profit dedicated to bullying prevention and intervention strategies for the education culture children navigate with hostility hyped by cyber communications. AB2053 requires employers to provide workplace training that will give “practical examples aimed at instructing supervisors in the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation…”, and in this regard it stands to reason that that bullying at the workplace is ultimately the result of learned behavior at home and in our community.
Ford -Berry lost her teenage son Michael to suicide in 2008 which was his response to a bully culture at school; an all consuming hate-biased harassment experience over a rumor that he was gay convinced him there was no hope for his future. She learned after his death that the social environment our children navigate on campus is incredibly hostile and uncivil because relentless cyber-powered harassment, discrimination and retaliation are ignored and/or tolerated by the adults at school and at home. “This [AB2053] is standard, and the bottom line is if you work you are afforded this protection – meaning our educators are as well,” she said. “So when [educators] claim they don’t know what to do or how to do it; they should simply do for our children what they would do for themselves.”
Family culture and the bully mentality
A recent workplace webinar sponsored by HR Options in Walnut Creek featured Adam Fiss a representative of Littler Mendelson law firm, who addressed the implications for AB2053 from the standpoint of employers. His guidance is to “foster a culture of civility, communication and compliance” at the workplace. This is advice that would also make sense if your desire is to create a peaceful home and a harassment-free learning environment at school.
The idea of creating a culture that is civil at home and school requires thought leadership today, because the norms for civil society that were held up in the community at large are much less so in modern, hyper-connected world. “I think we give too many passes to our children [for uncivil conduct],” Ford-Berry said. “I think poor parenting has created more broken hearts; mine included.”
Signs that your home may not be a ‘bully-free’ zone
- Your child’s mobile phone is considered private; the parent does not check texting and social media posts to ensure there is a standard of civility
- Raised voices and foul language are becoming the norm
- Your children are allowed to make disparaging, hateful remarks about one another and others without correction
Negative talk and gossip are tolerated as acceptable conversation, and/ or are considered a “phase” when the kids are cruel
- Your children are spending a lot of time isolated from the family with their mobile devices.