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Not just college: workplace hazing is a real issue

If you think you left bullying and hazing behind in high school and college, think again. Many people never grow out of that bullying mentality. At the Law Offices of Levi Williams, P.A., we understand that bullying in the workplace not only affects the productivity and morale of employees, it can also present legal problems for Florida business owners.

For these reasons, many businesses have enacted anti-hazing policies. Many people associate hazing as the kind of thing that happens when college students join fraternities or sports teams. However, it can also happen at your company, especially when someone is a new hire. As LinkedIn explains, corporate hazing can involve a range of behaviors that make the targets feel embarrassed, harassed or threatened. These may include emotional, sexual and physical harassment, as well as coercion and even blackmailing.

For example, staff members at your company who have been at the job longer might tell a new hire it’s a tradition for the newcomer to do the jobs the others find tedious or unpleasant. They might even trick the new employee into performing a demeaning task for their amusement, claiming it’s only a joke. The person might be told it’s a condition to be accepted into their group to do what they say or participate in activities that the newcomer might feel uncomfortable with or doesn’t want to do, such as getting drunk at the bar after work when he or she would rather go home.

As you might imagine, members of your staff who treat others like this could pave the way for a hazing or harassment lawsuit against your company. You might protect your interests by including an anti-hazing clause in your employment contract. Our page explains more about employment and business contracts.

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