Nevada was the first state to pass a law about workplace bullying, or abusive conduct, and is currently the only state prohibiting workplace bullying… if you work in the school system.

Like many states, Nevada revised its school-age bullying laws in response to all of the media attention on child and teen suicide and bullying. Nevada was the only state, however, to be smart enough to include adults in their laws prohibiting bullying.

Nevada defines bullying as follows:

“… a willful act which is written, verbal or physical, or a course of conduct on the part of one or more persons which is not authorized by law and which exposes a person repeatedly and over time to one or more negative actions which is highly offensive to a reasonable person and:

      1.  Is intended to cause or actually causes the person to suffer harm or serious emotional distress;

      2.  Exploits an imbalance in power between the person engaging in the act or conduct and the person who is the subject of the act or conduct;

      3.  Poses a threat of immediate harm or actually inflicts harm to another person or to the property of another person;

      4.  Places the person in reasonable fear of harm or serious emotional distress; or

      5.  Creates an environment which is hostile to a pupil by interfering with the education of the pupil.”

Does NRS 388 require all Nevada employers to end workplace bullying?

No, it does not. Nevada Revised Statute 388.121 – 388.145 is only related to the school system. It says:

“A member of the board of trustees of a school district, any employee of the board of trustees, including, without limitation, an administrator, principal, teacher or other staff member, a member of a club or organization which uses the facilities of any public school, regardless of whether the club or organization has any connection to the school, or any pupil shall not engage in bullying or cyber-bullying on the premises of any public school, at an activity sponsored by a public school or on any school bus.”

Oh good! My company is totally unrelated to the school system, so I don’t have to end workplace bullying. Phew!

You’re not really saying that to yourself, are you? If you are then you might want to read the thousands of books and millions of blog posts out there about how to motivate and engage your employees. I promise not one of them says a culture of fear is working in your favor.

NRS 388 might not prohibit workplace bullying unless you’re in the school system, but trust me when I say you have to end abusive conduct in your workplace. It costs your organization lots of money in turnover, absenteeism, presenteeism, poor quality work, ugly customer service, bad reputation, increased health insurance and workers’ comp costs due to stress, detachment from work, and more.

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