Can We Penalize Rudeness?


Last month, our friends Stacey Turnure and Linda Leekley of Embracing Civility were our guests on RN.FM Radio, discussing how to increase civility in the healthcare workplace.

On their blog, a new post suggests that perhaps we would treat one another differently if there were actually penalties for being rude. While this may seem like a stretch, the article details ways in which rudeness, bullying and incivility–in and out of the workplace–is being seriously considered in various countries and settings.

– In Australia, one Union is pushing for mandatory jail time for workplace bullies.

– A bill in the Philippines, known as the “Anti Cyber Bullying Act of 2012? seeks to penalize violators with a fine of 50,000 to 100,000 Philippine Pesos (that’s $1,100 to $2,300 USD) and imprisonment for six months to six years.

– Forty nine states in the US now have laws against bullying that allow victims to sue their employer for failing to prevent or punish workplace abusers.

Embracing Civility is using a full court press to get their message out, and we are 100% supportive of their efforts.

If you’re experiencing bullying, rudeness or incivility in your workplace, you can utilize the existing mechanisms in your facility to address the situation. Your workplace may not have penalties for behaviors such as bullying or incivility, but there is movement towards instituting such rules in many workplaces, and even in the broader society, as evidenced by the proposed regulations outlined by the blog post quoted above.

If you’re not satisfied with the outcome of a particular situation in your workplace, you can seek support from union leaders, administrators, as well as professionals who specialize in such issues. Feel free to contact the good folks at Embracing Civility for more information, and please keep us informed of your progress.