Employees should have a right to dignity at work.

An employee without dignity
What do they feel like if they don’t have dignity? Professor David Yamada tackles this issue in his blog post “On the nature of dignitary harm – and its revolutionary potential.”

Yamada quotes Dr. Donna Hicks, author of the book Dignity: The Essential Role It Plays in Resolving Conflict, to capture what a violation of dignity does to someone:

We feel injuries to our dignity at the core of our being. They are a threat to the very existence of who we are. Worse, the perpetrators get away with harming us. And the injuries usually go unattended.

There is no 911 call for when we feel that we have been humiliated, excluded, dismissed, treated unfairly, or belittled. Neuroscientists have found that a psychological injury such as being excluded stimulates the same part of the brain as a physical wound. . . .

. . . What exactly gets injured? Our dignity. The painful effects of the wounds to our dignity are not imaginary. They linger, often accumulating, one on top of the other, until one day we erupt in a rage or sink into depression, or we quit our job, get a divorce, or foment a revolution.

An employee with dignity
The opposite of a person without dignity is one who feels empowered, part of a team, listened to, and treated fairly. We’re talking about happier, healthier, and more productive workforces simply from treating employees with dignity. Sounds like a more profitable organization, doesn’t it?

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About the Author Deb Falzoi

Debra Falzoi is the marketing director for the Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Bill. The Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Bill creates a legal claim for bullying targets who can establish that they were subjected to malicious, health-harming behavior. It also provides defenses for employers who act preventively and responsively with regard to bullying and includes provisions to discourage frivolous claims. http://www.mahealthyworkplace.com

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