This Week on Lawcall™ – Bullies and the Law

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LawCall™ is a weekly, thirty minute call-in show about legal topics of interest. Each week, we discuss personal injury, auto accidents, truck accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death, slip and fall, DUI accidents and birth injuries, as well as bankruptcy, family law, divorce, landlord and tenant law, dangerous and defective products, legislative matters, and current issues in the legal world. We take your calls LIVE every Sunday at 11:35pm. Call us at 1-877-525-LAWS (5297) during the show.

This Week On LawCall™ — Bullies and the Law

Are you being bullied? If so, you need to tune in to LawCall™ this Sunday, when Tallahassee personal injury attorney Dana Brooks will be talking about what you can do to protect yourself.

In today’s digital world, bullies have taken to cell phones and social media to spread their hatred. Can the law protect against bullying and cyber-bullying? Can the parents of bullies be held responsible? The answer to both questions is YES. Bullies and their parents may face legal and financial consequences.

And, insurance companies are taking note – adding “bullying coverage” to homeowners’ policies. An experienced attorney can also protect your kids, your business or your reputation from defamation and harassment. If you have questions about how the law is making bullies pay, Tallahassee personal injury attorney Dana Brooks will be answering your questions this Sunday on LawCall™.

What is bullying?

Bullying includes not only physical aggression towards another person, but also verbal (teasing and taunting) and emotional (social exclusion, humiliation, spreading lies and rumors) abuse. Traditionally, bullying was thought of as a “rite of passage” in adolescence, but now we understand that bullying is a very real, very damaging, form of abuse that causes long term emotional damage in both the victim and the bully.

While most of us are familiar with the acts of playground bullies, there is a new form of bullying that is having tragic consequences for both children and adults: cyber bullying. Cyber bullying is a new form of bullying that has arisen from the expansion and ease of use of the internet and mobile devices. As cyber bullying has become more widespread, it is important for all of us to understand what it is, and what your rights and legal options are if you are being bullied.

Cyber bullying can come in many forms, including:

  • Sending unwelcome messages or threats to a person’s email or cell phone
  • Posting false, shaming, or threatening messages on social media (like Facebook)
  • Taking unflattering pictures of a person and maliciously sharing them through social media or text messages
  • Sexting, or sharing sexually suggestive pictures or comments about a person
  • Pretending to be someone else online, solely for the purpose of hurting another person

What You Can Do To Prevent Cyber Bullying: Children

The best thing any parent can do to prevent cyber bullying is to talk to their children about it– and keep talking. Parents also need to offer advice on how to handle conflict, and make sure their children know that it’s okay to tell an adult when they are being bullied. In addition, a parent can take steps to minimize the risk of cyber bullying by:.

  • Explain cyber bullying with your children, and how it is harmful to others
  • Ask your children if they have ever been cyber bullied, or have seen someone else cyber bullied.
  • Reassure your children that they are not to blame if they have been, or are being, cyber bullied. Emphasize that you are on their side.
  • Make knowing screen names and passwords a condition for internet use, and make sure you know all your children’s email and social media accounts.
  • Regularly review your children’s online profiles. Have them delete any personal information they may have put on it, and talk to them about why they shouldn’t share private information online.
  • Regularly review your children’s online friends list. Ask your children how they know each person on the list.
  • Keep current with social media trends.

What You Can Do To Prevent Cyber Bullying: Adults

Bullying isn’t limited to childhood and adolescence. Sadly, adults can be bullies, too. Workplace and cyber bullying in adults can make life quite miserable and difficult. Adult bullies can create a hostile work environment, hurting morale and productivity. The law has taken notice of this, and workplace bullying can place a company in danger of legal action.

If you are being bullied at work, you should:

  • Report the abuse to your supervisor
  • Work within the confines of the law
  • Comply with all company regulations
  • Document every incident of bullying

Bullying is a serious problem and may require legal action. If the bullying does not stop, there are legal and civil remedies for bullying.

LawCall™ features Tallahassee personal injury attorneys, Vinse Barrett, Jimmy Fasig, Dana Brooks, and Mark Nonni, plus guest attorneys from across North Florida who answer your questions on a different legal topic every Sunday. Long-time newscaster Frank Ranicky anchors the program.