Excuse my language, but…could there finally be a law against having an asshole for a boss?09/21/2014
I remember working with a young CEO who was quite brilliant in his industry. This CEO had tremendous vision and insight into the industry and worked very hard to grow his business. One day when I was on site, I overheard him screaming at a member of his sales team in the middle of the call center “You’re a fu#%&ng idiot…why the f#%k can’t you do what you’re supposed to do.” This was horrifying and I quickly understood why the morale was abysmal at best. The following day I overheard him using the same type of language with a vendor CEO…this of course would later result in serious consequences. This continued for some time until I finally pulled him aside and told him that “Whether or not you are the CEO, the behavior isn’t acceptable, warranted, and personally, I’m surprised someone hasn’t knocked you ass out yet.” This was the culture in the company but in time, the CEO began to move away from his abusive practices. Unfortunately, this is not such an uncommon event in many companies.
For those out there who have experienced this type of juvenile behavior from their management, well…the tides may be changing in 2015 in California. Currently there is pending legislation known as AB 2053...think of it as a prelude to the Anti-Ass-For-A-Boss legislation.
AB 2053 was drafted as additional requirements under the 2004 AB 1825 which required employers with 50 or more employees to provide no less than 2 hours of sexual harassment training for supervisors in California.
AB 2053 would expand the training requirements to include the prevention of “abusive conduct” which is defined as conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests. Additionally, it includes repeated infliction of verbal abuse (derogatory remarks, insults, or other behavior that may be seen as threatening, humiliating or the gratuitous sabotage of an employee’s work performance).
So, for all of those out there wondering how plastic bag bans and protected leaves of absence for bone marrow donors can get passed while managers are allowed to verbally abuse and demean their employees…although not unlawful yet, AB 2053 is certainly setting the stage to finally prohibit having an “asshole for a boss”.
Dr. Carlyle Rogers is the President & CEO of the Business and People Strategy Consulting Group, LLC (www.bpscllc.com) and author of the human resources book, Dirty Little Secrets: Declassifying the Employment Game.