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December 01, 2021 Lawyer Wellness

6 ways to fight workplace bullying in legal spaces

By David Yamada
Lawyers can play a role in eliminating bullying in the workplace.

Lawyers can play a role in eliminating bullying in the workplace.

Stock photo.

Editor’s note: David Yamada was featured in our Members Who Inspire column in the Dec. 2021/Jan. 2022 issue of the ABA Journal, which detailed his long history studying workplace bullying. These are tips he shared with us.

  1. Understand that lawyers have not necessarily been trained to work well with others. Some may not grasp the distinctions between assertive, aggressive and abusive behaviors.

  2. Learn about workplace bullying and its destructive impacts on organizations and people. The Workplace Bullying Institute and the American Psychological Association’s Center for Organizational Excellence offer excellent resources.

  3. Start with onboarding and orientation programs that message to new hires that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect.

  4. Include a section on bullying in employee handbooks, and cover the topic in employee training programs.

  5. Use surveys and give feedback to help identify problems concerning bullying and related behaviors. Don’t sweep bad reports under the rug.

  6. Consider coaching, counseling and—if necessary—termination for abusive individuals, even if they are your best litigators or key rainmakers.