Apr 5, 2022 - Politics

Lightfoot suit spotlights workplace bullying

Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (C) speaks during a news conference in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Chicago Park District wants to seal a lawsuit alleging that Mayor Lori Lightfoot berated staff over their handling of the Columbus statue matter, per the Chicago Tribune.

Why it matters: The suit alleges that Lightfoot bullied and belittled staff lawyers in a profanity-laced tirade, asking "did you even go to law school?"

  • And while Lightfoot is not the first Chicago mayor accused of rough language, she may be the first in an era of widespread "no bullying" workplace policies.

What they're saying: We asked an HR professional to comment on this kind of hypothetical behavior from an executive in 2022.

  • "If the CEO is a bully, there's a big chance others on the team are also. They probably think it's OK to model the CEO's behavior," Amy Zimmerman, chief people officer at software company Relay Payments, tells Axios.
  • "You can be wildly successful and respected for being assertive. There's no room in any workplace for harassers and bullies."

As far as advice for CEOs in this new workplace environment, Zimmerman says, "Even when a team member isn't working out, you can have a constructive conversation compassionately."


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