Workplace Abusive Conduct

On Tuesday, January 23, 2018, at the House Economic Development and Workforce Services Standing Committee, the Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) provided an update on workplace abusive conduct. DHRM Labor Relation’s Director, Rebecca Parr, informed the committee that since July 1, 2015, when HB 216 – Workplace Abusive Conduct Amendments to Promote a Healthy Workplace  became effective, the department has received a total of 67 complaints, 43 met the criteria of abusive conduct. Of those 43 investigations, DHRM found that a total of 7 employees violated DHRM Rule R477-16 and the agencies they worked for administered appropriate disciplinary action.

DHRM indicated that over the last year and a half, they have received an average of 2.2 abusive conduct complaints per month. Representative LaVar Christensen (R-Draper) stated, “the abusive conduct program is only training and reporting.” Committee Chair Rebecca Edwards (R-North Salt Lake) asked DHRM to, “clarify the difference between abusive conduct and traditional harassment/discrimination in the workplace.”

Parr noted that, “an employee does not have to be a member of a protective class to make an abusive conduct complaint.” Whereas, harassment/discrimination complaints are only substantiated based on the employee being retaliated against because of their race, religion, gender, etc.

Chair Edwards also asked DHRM, “how the legislature is supposed to judge the effectiveness of the new statute?” Parr responded that, “the statute has only been in place since July 1, 2015.” She emphasized the new process allows employees to make abusive conduct complaints outside of their chain of command and for those complaints to be investigated, which previously was not an option. She reiterated the fact that there have been 7 instances where abusive conduct was determined, and those employees were disciplined for violating the rule, thus sending a message to other employees that this type of conduct will not be tolerated.

Click here to learn more about what constitutes abusive conduct. If you have any questions about abusive conduct, please contact Bryan Embley at 801-538-3069 or your UPEA staff representative.


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