NEW YORK – Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights (RFK Human Rights) will launch a national workplace dignity and inclusion initiative with the support of a grant from the Tramuto Foundation, an Ogunquit, Maine nonprofit organization founded by Donato Tramuto, a recipient of the 2014 RFK Human Rights Ripple of Hope award and a member of the board of RFK Human Rights and Chairman of its Leadership Council.

During the recent Ripple of Hope Gala in New York City, Tramuto pledged $1 million to support the development and implementation of a groundbreaking national initiative to institute and nurture workplace dignity and inclusion that will provide companies of all sizes with strategies and tactics to ensure employers are providing safe, inclusive and fair work environments.

Tramuto is a recognized innovator, healthcare activist and business leader with more than 35 years of healthcare industry experience, a deep commitment to global healthcare access, steadfast focus on patient outcomes and a keen understanding of digital solutions. He founded and led numerous healthcare companies and non-profit organizations and is currently Chief Executive Officer of Tivity Health, a leading provider of fitness and health improvement programs, including SilverSneakers®, the nation’s leading community fitness program for older adults. Tivity Health is a publicly traded company with approximately 500 colleagues.

Based on his decades of experience in the workplace, Tramuto identified an urgent need for a focused, research-driven effort to address workplace bullying and other issues that lead to hostile and unproductive workplace environments. Tramuto and the Foundation have committed to deploy the first pilot of the Workplace Dignity and Inclusion initiative at Tivity Health.

“Workplace bullying of all kinds is a serious issue – paramount to the health of today’s worker. Dignity is fundamental to well-being and to ensuring that employees and their organizations can thrive,” said Tramuto. “Wise business leaders understand that a strong culture is essential to a productive, fruitful and resilient business. Workplace bullying diminishes employee engagement and impacts a company’s ability to succeed. Promoting human dignity in the workplace is consistent with the mission of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and demands our attention in today’s workplace more than ever. Since its founding in 2001, this is the largest award the Tramuto Foundation has ever made. It is a strong statement by our board that it is committed to making the workplace a gentler, more compassionate environment.”

Highlights of The Workplace Dignity and Inclusion Initiative

The Workplace Dignity and Inclusion initiative will have the support of an advisory council. The advisory council will be comprised of ten of America’s most prominent corporate leaders as well as experts and influencers who will participate in ongoing development of the program, advocacy and communications campaigns.

The program will provide employers with a full range of resources tailored for that company, including the following core components:

• education and training in the workplace to prevent bullying – for employees and employers

• a national social media campaign to raise awareness

• online training

• audits and assessments, including deep evaluations of company practices

• advocacy training and workshops; and

• support for human resources managers, including an online toolkit

“The time is now to leverage the success of RFK Human Rights’ programs already deployed in schools around the nation that address bullying and enable students to ‘Speak Truth to Power.’ The workplace dignity program will empower those in the workplace to speak their own truth to power,” Tramuto explained. “This is an emerging crisis in our country, exemplified by the #MeToo movement and by a general decline in civility in society and in our workplaces. It now demands a response that is worthy of the very values exemplified by Senator Kennedy.”

According to the 2017 US Workplace Bullying Survey, conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute:

• 60 million U.S. workers are affected by some form of workplace harassment

• 2/3 of perpetrators are men, and 2/3 of the targets are women

• 60 percent of the time, culprits are bosses

• 40 percent of those harassed suffer from adverse health impacts

• 71 percent of cases go unreported

Low levels of emotional and physical well-being due to abuse in the workplace lead to low engagement levels, which hamper productivity and performance and impact business profitability and results. According to a Harvard Business Review poll of 800 managers and employees across 17 industries, employees who have reported an incidence of workplace abuse experienced the following impact on engagement:

• 47 percent decreased their time spent at work

• 80 percent lost work time worrying about the incident

• 66 percent said their performance declined

• 76 percent said their commitment to the organization declined

• 25 percent admitted to taking their frustration out on customers.