Archive for the ‘Workplace Bullying Laws’ Category
Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
And suppose you were a member of Congress.
But I repeat myself.”
I’m starting to sound like my father and can’t believe I question nearly every day “what is this world coming to?” Near the top of my “it’s all going to hell” list is America’s turning its back on science — unabashedly, proudly, defiantly — through legislation.
In the UK, the BBC has banned from their airwaves crackpot guests preaching that climate change is not real. The change is to bolster scientific integrity. Staff will receive training in science and scientific conferences will be attended by staff to stay abreast of developments.
Deniers get equivalence here in the US. One denier with one believer (proxy by Bill Nye, the “Science Guy”). Viewers ignorant of the facts could conclude that climate change is not really something to be concerned about. The fallacy of this false equivalence was never more clear than this demonstration by comedian John Oliver on his HBO show This Week Tonight.
And recently the British government extended its public school ban on teaching pseudoscience, creationism, to cover “academies” and “free schools,” the equivalent of charter schools in the States. The government recognizes the religious bases of the founders of such schools. Thus creationism promotes religion and has no business in the teaching of science.
America is headed in the other direction, driving headfirst into ignorance. Creationists and advocates for “intelligent design” in the US seem to be gaining clout. The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) 2014 legislative scorecard identified states that are attempting to make their children science illiterates.
Tags: Healthy Workplace Bill, state legislators, state legislatures
Posted in Commentary by G. Namie, Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), The New America, WBI Surveys & Studies | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Tuesday, July 15th, 2014
WBI friend Lewis Maltby wrote convincingly in his book, Can They Do That?, that American workers have very few rights. Without a union bargained contract, all rights are owned by management unless state or federal laws provide specific protections. Among the industrialized nations (members of the OECD), US workers have the fewest rights.
Robert Fuller, another WBI friend, speaks and writes eloquently about somebodies and nobodys, the hierarchy in our lives. For him, the issue is rankism. It makes good sense in our nation of ever-expanding income inequality.
From the work of stress guru, Robert Sapolsky, Stanford University professor and researcher, we learn that simply organizing social groups in hiearchical ways with rank playing a role in how all resources are unevenly divided is stressful. Those dominated by others are doomed to lives of ongoing stress. Social subordination generates distress, that in turn, triggers major life-threatening diseases through disruption of the adrenocortical, cardiovascular, reproductive, immunological, and neurobiological systems (Sapolsky, 2005).
Workers bullied by higher ranking bosses (56% of all targets) will find it nearly impossible to avoid contact. That toxic contact is the exposure to stress that causes health harm.
I say all this to put into context the June 30, 2014 decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS). By majority votes of the conservative-dominated court, the rights of company owners were expanded. The (chief justice) Roberts Court has never ruled against corporate interests.
The two cases decided upon were Sylvia Burwell, Secretary of HHS v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (13-354) and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation v. Sylvia Burwell, Secretary of HHS (13-356) — jointly dubbed the Hobby Lobby decision.
Tags: California Healthy Workplace Advocates, distress, Hobby Lobby, Lewis Maltby, Robert Fuller, Robert Sapolsky, SCOTUS, stress, US Supreme Court
Posted in Bullying-Related Research, Rulings by Courts, Social/Mgmt/Epid Sciences | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Monday, July 14th, 2014
The Healthy Workplace Campaign is WBI’s effort to enact anti-bullying legislation for the American workplace state by state. The model bill is called the Healthy Workplace Bill (HWB).
Features of the HWB
• Suffolk University Law Professor David C. Yamada, text author, used federal Title VII Civil Rights laws as basis
• Defines severe abusive conduct — does not use term workplace bullying
• Provides legal redress for anyone subjected to abusive conduct, whether or not the person is a member of a protected status group
• Requires that abusive conduct result in either demonstrable health or economic harm to plaintiff
• Plaintiffs who file lawsuits make public formerly hidden, confidential employer processes that hide and deny bullying
• Prohibits retaliation against any participant in procedures involved in dealing with the abusive conduct complaint
• Requires plaintiffs to hire private attorneys, no fiscal impact on state government
• Provides incentives (affirmative defenses) for employers who implement genuine corrective procedures
• Preserves managerial prerogative to discipline and terminate employees
• Does not interfere with state workers’ compensation laws or union CBAs
We named the HWB in 2002. All other uses of the name HWB are unauthorized by us. California first introduced the HWB in 2003. It has been carried in over half of states and two territories since. The Workplace Bullying Institute trains and provides support to a national network of volunteer Sate Coordinators who lobby their respective state legislators to sponsor the HWB. You can track its status at the HWB website.
Botched Amendments & Unanticipated Consequences
As authors of the HWB, we naturally want the full and original version of the bill enacted into law. And we realize compromises will be made during the process. It is “sausage making,” after all. We just wish all bill sponsors would refuse to allow major revisions that change the spirit of the bill from protecting abused workers to something else. Since the HWB was first introduced, different amendments have been proposed or made.
Often the well-intended sponsor, a pro-worker advocate, agrees to compromise adopting the belief that the law can be built in steps. Let’s get this version passed now and it will be revisited in the coming years and supplemented with the other desired provisions.
Tags: amendments, business lobby, Chamber of Commerce, David Yamada, Gary Namie, Healthy Workplace Bill, Unions, vicarious liability, workplace bullying, Workplace Bullying Institute
Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Tutorials About Bullying, Unions, WBI Education, Workplace Bullying Laws | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Monday, July 14th, 2014
SUPPORT FOR A LAW in 2014
Question: Do you support or oppose enactment of a new law that would protect all workers from repeated abusive mistreatment in addition to protections against illegal discrimination and harassment?
The respondents who answered this question were individuals who were directly bullied, those who had witnessed it, the few who were perpetrators, and those with no personal experience but who believed it happened and those who believed it was exaggerated. Those groups taken together constituted the American public who were “aware” of abusive conduct at work, the 72% (See National Prevalence).
It is clear that those respondents, the American public aware of abusive conduct, want to see worker protections extended beyond the anti-discrimination statutes – 93% support specific anti-bullying legislation.
Furthermore, 50% of Survey respondents self-defined as Conservatives strongly support the Healthy Workplace Bill. With such little opposition from
those expected to oppose the bill, it is a certain conclusion that now is the time for passage of this new law.
Tags: 2014 U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey, bullying statistics, Daniel Christensen, Dave Phillips, Gary Namie, Healthy Workplace Bill
Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), WBI Surveys & Studies | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Thursday, July 10th, 2014
By David Shadovitz | Human Resource Executive, July 10, 2014
Anti-bullying legislation continues to gain momentum in state legislatures, with Tennessee becoming the first state to pass anti-bullying legislation.
On June 17, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law the Healthy Workplace Act, a law that affects the practices of state and local government agencies. Private employers are not affected.
The law defines “harassment, intimidation or bullying” as any act that “substantially interferes with a person’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment,” and instructs the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernment Relations to create a model policy by next March. Employers have the option to adopt the TACIR policy or not. Those deciding to enact it would be immune from claims arriving from bullying behavior.
Proponents of anti-bullying legislation and experts believe other states could soon follow in the Volunteer State’s footsteps, with some pointing to New York and Massachusetts as the most likely to pass anti-bullying laws that would also include private-sector employers.
So far, 28 states have introduced anti-bullying legislation this year, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute in Bellingham, Wash.
In June, Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla vetoed legislation that would have held both public- and private-sector employers in that territory accountable for workplace bullying. In doing so, Padilla pointed to the Department of Justice’s view that the definition of “workplace harassment” is too vague and the fact that victims of workplace bullying can still seek protection under the territory’s Constitution.
Gary Namie, national director of the Workplace Bullying Institute and a chief architect of the Healthy Workplace Act, says his reaction to the Tennessee law is generally positive. Any legislation that focuses on abusive conduct in the workplace breaks the silence, he says. “You’re going to have all of the institutions talking about it now.”
But while he considers the Tennessee law a good first step, Namie adds that he’s disappointed by the legislation’s limited scope and authority, describing it as a “gutted” version of the Healthy Workplaces Act.
Namie notes that it’s also unfortunate that under the act “all of the processes still happen in-house under a shroud of secrecy . . . . “Everything remains internal.”
Recent studies confirm that bullying continues to be a widespread and troubling issue in workplaces.
Tags: david shadovitz, Gary Namie, Healthy Workplace Bill, human resources executive, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Workplace Bullying Institute
Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), WBI in the News, Workplace Bullying Laws | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Monday, June 30th, 2014
Unions have certainly become punching bags recently for anti-union zealots — Republican Governors, mainstream media, the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) and their long-standing arch enemy, the National Right to Work foundation. The right to work meaning without union protections so you can work for minimum wages and absolutely no say in how your work is organized and assigned. Incredibly, 24 states have adopted “right-to-work” legislation that undermines unionism. The NRTWF is the organization that sues unions on behalf of workers fed up with their unions.
So arose the court case Harris v. Quinn (the State of Illinois). The SEIU has been organizing low-paid workers in the home health industry for years. Those workers are typically women of color. They serve disabled individuals in their home — hard work by compassionate underpaid people. When they unionize, wages rise a bit.
Unions, like corporations, engage in political activity. Unions contribute to politicians’ election campaigns at a fraction of the amount corporations do, given that the latter have all the cash. Two SCOTUS decisions — Citizens United decision and one this session — made limits of corporate giving disappear. Anti-union groups like the NRTWF exaggerate the amount of union dues spent on political activity and have successfully separated union funds set aside for that activity from funds to run the business of the union — being advocates for their members. Some states require non-members to pay a “fair share fee” to the union in order to take advantage of workers’ benefits negotiated in collective bargaining agreements between unions and government employers. In other states, anti-union legislation has allowed public sector employees to benefit without having to join or to pay the union. Unions call this “free riding.” Alito thinks the phenomenon is “something of an anomaly.”
Friday, June 20th, 2014
By Adam Rubenfire – The Wall Street Journal – June 20, 2014
Last month, after a decade of stalled progress in 26 states, advocates of workplace bullying legislation scored their first victory. But they’re not entirely pleased.
Tennessee approved the Healthy Workplace Act on May 22, a law designed to curb verbal abuse at work by making public-sector employers immune to bullying-related lawsuits if they adopt a policy that complies with the law.
Though federal laws outlaw workplace discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and other protected statuses, advocates like Gary Namie, director of the Workplace Bullying Institute, are lobbying for laws that recognize the verbal abuse of coworkers regardless of whether they fall under a protected class.
Dr. Namie, a social psychologist, said the Tennessee law doesn’t go far enough. The bill his staff drafted for the legislature would have allowed both public and private employers to be held liable in civil lawsuits regarding incidents of alleged workplace bullying if they failed to enforce policies that recognize and protect workers who claim physical or mental harm as a result of bullying.
However, the signed law applies only to public-sector employers, and administrators aren’t required to follow guidelines that the law ordered a state commission to draft by March 2015. Instead, they’re incentivized to do so in exchange for immunity from potential lawsuits.
Under the new law, individual employees may still be held personally liable for abusive conduct.
Tags: adam rubenfire, Gary Namie, Healthy Workplace Bill, Tennessee, workplace bullying
Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Print: News, Blogs, Magazines | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
This article UPDATES A California Judge guts teachers union.
By Jordan Weissmann – Slate – June 12, 2014
This week Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu handed the education reform movement a stunning legal victory, when he struck down California’s teacher tenure laws for discriminating against poor and minority students. The statutes made it so onerous to fire bad teachers, he wrote, that they all but guaranteed needy kids would be stuck in classrooms with incompetent instructors—rendering the laws unconstitutional.
As evidence, Treu cited a statistic that sounded damning: According to a state witness, between 1 and 3 percent of California’s teachers could be considered “grossly ineffective.” Here was the passage:
“There is also no dispute that there are a significant number of grossly ineffective teachers currently active in California classrooms. Dr. Berliner, an expert called by State Defendants, testified that 1 to 3% of teachers in California are grossly ineffective. Given that that the evidence showed roughly 275,000 active teachers in this state, the extrapolated number of grossly ineffective teachers ranges from 2,750 to 8,250. Considering the effect of grossly ineffective teachers on students … it therefore cannot be gainsaid that the number of grossly ineffective teachers has a direct, real, appreciable, and negative impact on a significant number of California students, now and well into the future for as long as said teachers hold their positions.”
This seemed like a fairly important piece of the decision — if you’re going to argue in court that a state law is dooming children to second-rate educations, you ought to be able to quantify the problem. Politically, it also seemed liked a pretty awful indictment of the state government if officials knew for certain that so many useless teachers were lounging around California’s classrooms. But where did this number come from?
Nowhere, it turns out. It’s made up. Or a “guesstimate,” as David Berliner, the expert witness Treu quoted, explained to me when I called him on Wednesday. It’s not based on any specific data, or any rigorous research about California schools in particular. “I pulled that out of the air,” says Berliner, an emeritus professor of education at Arizona State University. “There’s no data on that. That’s just a ballpark estimate, based on my visiting lots and lots of classrooms.” He also never used the words “grossly ineffective.”
The expert cited in the ruling doesn’t even necessarily believe that low test scores qualify somebody as a bad teacher.
Tags: AFT, California constitution, California Federation of Teachers, grossly inefficient, Students Matter, teachers, Vergara
Posted in Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Rulings by Courts | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
A lawsuit funded by Silicon Valley rich guy, David Welch, is shaking the public education world. A California Superior Court judge, Rolf Michael Treu, found for the plainitffs — nine students backed by the group Students Matter.
The ruling was filed on June 10, 2014.
Teachers think students matter, too. But the pitched battle between non-educators who once went to school which they think qualifies them to know everything about K-12 education, and those who train just to teach schoolchildren has been fought for years. The tack is to beat up teachers publicly, blame teachers, call them bad. And in this case, Vergara vs. California, bad teachers are branded “grossly ineffective.”
Nine students were named as plaintiffs.
The plaintiff’s attorneys were from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. The defense was represented by the Attorney General, joined by the California Teachers Association and the Calfornia Federation of Teachers.
Tags: AFT, California constitution, California Federation of Teachers, California Teachers Union, disadvantaged students, equal schools, grossly inefficient, Jonathan Kozol, Students Matter, teachers, Unions, Vergara
Posted in Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Rulings by Courts, Unions | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Friday, June 6th, 2014
If you are new to being bullied at work, you necessarily are consumed by righting the wrong and healing from the self-blame and shame that accompanies it. If you are reading this, you have discovered the WBI website that confirms you did nothing wrong, nor did you deserve the denigration, humiliation or ostracism.
You might have missed the fact that since 2001 we have spearheaded the effort in states to pass a law that would have given you a chance to threaten your employer with a lawsuit. Without the threat of a law, US employers are letting the perpetrators run with impunity. And that doesn’t even count bullying done on behalf of executives and senior managers.
The name of our legislation is the Healthy Workplace Bill. Volunteer Coordinators in 36 states have managed to get the bill introduced in 26 states and in 2 territories — the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The process is just beginning in the USVI, but progress is significant in PR.
Senator Rosanna Lopez Leon was the prime sponsor of S 501. The bill passed all committees, and both Camara (House) and Senado (Senate) floor votes. Reconciliation of the different versions was completed on June 3.
The bill addresses “acoso laboral” the special cases of harassment we define as workplace bullying and mobbing. The bill speaks about “the dignity of every human being, particularly in the area of employment.”
The bill awaits Gov. Padilla’s signature. Call his office to implore him to make the bill law.
Tags: Alejandro Padilla, Healthy Workplace Bill, law, legislation, mediation, Puerto Rico, Rosanna Lopez Leon, workplace bullying
Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, WBI in the News, Workplace Bullying Laws | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (