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Green Dot: An Answer to the Call to Action?


Employers need to change the way they train employees about behavior in the workplace. They need to focus on behaviors that are precursors to harassment, like disrespect and bullying. If we focus on those things and shut them down before they escalate, then we'll be in a much better position. Elizabeth Bille, former SHRM general counsel [Source: Kate Tornone, “Why SHRM's general counsel left to focus on harassment prevention,” HRDIVE, October 31, 2018, https://www.hrdive.com/]


Most employers tend to ignore, discount or rationalize bullying behavior, making it worse. Enter Green Dot, a program championed and taught by Virginia-based nonprofit Alteristic that aims to promote positive societal change by teaching people how to counteract bullying or harassing behavior when they witness it. The program is a type of bystander training that asks its participants to envision a map with red dots in every location where an act of aggression is taking place, be it bullying, stalking, harassment or domestic violence . The green dot, in the imagery, is the bystander who intervenes in the red dot location, shutting down the aggressive behavior.


Bangor Savings Bank is putting all of its 900 employees through Green Dot training. And while bystander training is not new (gaining popularity with high schools, colleges, and community groups) it appears that Bangor Savings is the first private company to commit to training every single employee. [Source: J.Craig Anderson, "Bangor Savings takes novel approach to stamping out workplace aggression," November 26, 2018 https://www.centralmaine.com]


The Green Dot approach may be one of the answers to the call to action made by former SHRM general counsel Elizabeth Bille. More employers provided meaningful and all encompassing training - all employees with ability to call out bullying or harassment irrespective of "chains of command- would have tremendous positive impact on the work force. Food for thought.

#employmentlaw #shrm #antibullying