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WBI BLOG

Nexus of Workers' Rights, Research & Social Policies



March 31st, 2015

Comstock’s: Calif mag scrutinizes new workplace bullying law

This Time, It’s Personal
Will legislation to protect employees from workplace bullying stifle demanding managers?

By Steven Yoder, Comstock’s, March 31, 2015

Carrie Clark, 63, says bullies aren’t confined to playgrounds. Sometimes, they run the whole school. 

In 1995, Clark directed an English as a Second Language program in West Sacramento’s Washington Unified School District. An influx of foreign students was forcing her staff to work ever-longer hours. She wrote several reports to the district superintendent documenting the extra load and asking for more help. She got no response, she says. So her teachers union representative suggested she put together a petition signed by program staff.

That got a reaction, but not the one she wanted. The superintendent took Clark off of the school’s committee of department chairs and canceled and consolidated classes. Clark says he called her house and left an odd, garbled message, and one day after a meeting, he followed her into an empty hallway. Towering over her, his face a foot from hers, he screamed that he wanted “no more petitions!”

Scared, Clark quit a few weeks later. She developed tremors in her right side, which she still has, started having heart palpitations and couldn’t sleep. Today, when she talks about what happened, her speech slows to a crawl and her voice quavers like a warped record. A Sacramento occupational medicine specialist diagnosed her with a post-traumatic stress disorder related to her job. After a 20-year teaching career, she’d never set foot in a classroom again. In 2002, she won a $150,000 workers’ compensation claim against the district.

There’s evidence that the superintendent targeted others who crossed him. He took a job in a district near Yuba City, and in January 1999 the teachers association president there told The Valley Mirror that the superintendent verbally threatened her and that she’d asked a court for a restraining order. She also told a reporter that she was having panic attacks for the first time in her life. (The superintendent, now retired, keeps an unlisted phone number and didn’t respond to a certified letter sent to his address requesting an interview.)

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Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, Target Tale, WBI in the News, Workplace Bullying Laws | Post Comment



March 23rd, 2015

Minnesota is 8th state in 2015 to introduce Healthy Workplace Bill

Sen. Ron Latz a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) party introduced SF 1932. Its first reading was today, March 23. SF 1932 is the complete version of the WBI anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill.

Minnesota tried the HWB back in 2011, but the bill went nowhere.

This 2015 bill was referred to the Jobs, Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.

In 2015, Minnesota becomes the fourth state to introduce the full bill, joining Massachusetts, New York, and Texas. Four other states amended the full bill and introduce some variation.

WBI thanks Sen. Ron Latz. Visit the MN State Page of the HWB website for details. And WBI recognizes the efforts of our volunteer State Coordinators — Jill Jensen, Debbie York & Scot Adams — who successfully lobbied for its introduction. Next step … a public Committee hearing. Stay tuned.

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Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Workplace Bullying Laws | Post Comment



March 19th, 2015

Times-Argus: Make workplaces safe from bullies

By Sherill Gilbert, Times-Argus, March 3, 2015

Since 2007, the healthy workplace bill has remained on the committee’s wall. Each new biennium this bill has been re-introduced. In January, Sen. Anthony Pollina has once again sponsored the bill. In the midst of budget issues, the talk of cutting jobs and programs only furthers the need to pass this bill. The bill would not require the state to fund this bill. It will increase productivity; it will mean employees would thrive in a safe and healthy environment; it will mean fewer sick calls and a decrease in errors. Perhaps even more important would be improvements to the morale and loyalty of staff.

For the state this would translate into more tax revenues to help lessen Vermont’s money woes. I am sure many of you are asking how this could be.

Bullying has been estimated to cost the United States $300 billion that is passed on to goods and services, including health care. Bullies are extremely costly as well as a threat to the targets, families, community and health of the economy.

Continue reading this article… »

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Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Workplace Bullying Laws | Post Comment



March 14th, 2015

Utah poised to pass law educating state employees about workplace abusive conduct

On March 12, the Utah Senate unanimously passed HB 216 on a vote 24 ayes -0 nays -5 not voting. The bill, introduced by House Rep. Keven Stratton and sponsored in the Senate by Todd Weiler, sailed through both House and Senate committees and floor votes in both chambers. The bill becomes law with Gov. Gary Herbert’s signature.

Though the HB 216 is not the complete Healthy Workplace Bill that carries employer liability for fostering an abusive work environment, it is stronger than two previous state laws — CA and TN — that mildly approached the epidemic of workplace bullying, abusive conduct as defined by the Workplace Bullying Institute.

Features of the Utah bill, soon to become law, are that it:
• applies to state agencies only
• mandates training of employees AND supervisors
• states that training will include description and “ramifications” of abusive conduct
• training to include resources available to abused workers
• and training to cover the internal grievance process details (WBI: to hold abuser accountable)
• also training in Ethical Conduct
• also training in Organizational Leadership with Integrity
• training every other year
• State may allocate funds to develop policies for agencies
• State may support development of agency training

Visit the Utah State Page at the HWB website for details. State Coordinator Dr. Denise Halverson deserves credit for shepherding this bill through the legislative process while providing her expertise on the topic so lawmakers could confidently and unanimously pass this HWB-related bill.

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Posted in Good News, Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Workplace Bullying Laws | Post Comment



March 12th, 2015

Texas has its first anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill !!!!

Texas state House Rep. Garnet F. Coleman on March 11, 2015 introduced the full version of the WBI anti-abuse Healthy Workplace Bill (HWB). HB 3226, the first-ever introduction in Texas.

Texas is the 29th state since 2003 to introduce the HWB. Texas joins Massachusetts and New York with proposed laws that make employers liable for exposing workers to health-harming abusive work environments.

Texas is the 7th state to introduced abusive conduct-related legislation in 2015.

Visit the Texas State Page at the HWB website for details.

The HWB campaign map for March 12, 2015.

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Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Hear Ye! Hear Ye! 2, Workplace Bullying Laws | Post Comment



March 11th, 2015

Massachusetts joins 2015-16 legislative fight to enact the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill

Mass. State Rep. Ellen Story, a staunch ally of the anti-abuse campaign for the workplace, has introduced the Healthy Workplace Bill (HWB) for the 2015-16 legislative session. Rep. Story has been involved since 2004! Her latest contribution is House bill H 1771. This is the full version of the bill that carries employer liability for enabling and maintaining a toxic work environment in which employees can be subjected to health-harming abusive conduct.

Mass. joins New York State as the only two states with current bills that hold employers accountable for the psychological safety of the work environment. Of course, the HWB grants good employers an escape from vicarious liability when they voluntarily take steps to prevent and correct abusive conduct. But toothless bills gutted by the state chambers of commerce (and others in the business lobby) share one common element — no employer liability.

The very effective WBI affiliate MA Healthy Workplace Advocates were able to secure 57 co-sponsors. In years past, the group, working in concert with organized labor, NAGE, orchestrated successful committee hearings. Perhaps this year after another hearing, H 1771 can move to a floor vote and beyond … to the Governor’s desk.

We salute our Massachusetts volunteer State Coordinators and Citizen Lobbyists. Stay tuned.

You can track H 1771’s progress at the MA State Page of the HWB website.

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Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Hear Ye! Hear Ye! 2, Workplace Bullying Laws | 1 Comment



March 11th, 2015

What’s in a name — Extinction?

Recent news article speaks to me stronger than a horoscope prediction.

My extinction is imminent.

From The Independent in the UK, comes this news ……

The name Gary is on its way to becoming extinct after being one of the most popular for baby boys in previous decades … Gary — which is believed to be a name of Germanic origin meaning “spear” — was the 10th most chosen name in the US for three consecutive years from 1951 … Fewer than 450 boys in the US were named Gary in 2013 compared to around 38,000 in the early 1950s … Only 28 British-born boys were named Gary in 2013

Yikes.

Gary Namie

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March 10th, 2015

Futuristic PTSD treatment: planting explicit memories in the brain

This is the stuff of science fiction that gives medical ethicists pause. Can we erase traumatizing memories stored in our brains? Can happier memories be planted as a substitute for painful ones?

Researchers are hard at work with the newest technologies allowing the substitution. Here is a new study done with laboratory mice. The news article describing the research appears below.


Rodent Recall: False but Happy Memories Implanted in Sleeping Mice
Researchers at CRNS in Paris create artificial positive feelings in mouse’s memory for first time during sleep, highlighting possible new treatment for depression
By Hannah Devlin, The Guardian, March 9, 2015

Scientists have succeeded in creating false but happy memories in mice, in the first demonstration of memory manipulation during sleep.

In the study, positive feelings about a particular place were artificially written into the animal’s memory, which caused them to seek out that place in search of a reward when they woke up.

The discovery that emotional memory can be readily manipulated has echoes of the the film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, in which Jim Carey’s character has every recollection about his failed relationship wiped clean using a fictional mind-reading technology.

The scientists say that the findings could pave the way for new treatments that would allow patients to overcome depression or deeply entrenched painful memories.

Karim Benchenane, the neuroscientist who led the research at the CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique) in Paris, said: “The idea is to use this as a tool for post-traumatic stress disorder.”

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Posted in Bullying-Related Research, Neuroscience & Genetics, Related Phenomena, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education | Post Comment



March 9th, 2015

AlterNet: What To Do About Your Jerk of a Boss Before You Get PTSD

What To Do About Your Jerk of a Boss Before You Get PTSD
Millions of workers are suffering from anxiety, depression and even PTSD because of bully bosses.
By Alyssa Figueroa, AlterNet, March 5, 2015

There’s something dangerous happening to millions of Americans nationwide. It is happening in places where many people spend at least 40 hours a week. It is causing severe physical and mental illness. It runs off fear and manipulation. But its victims are not talking it about.

So what is it?

Work abuse.

Look around the average American workplace and it’s not too hard to find. Twenty-seven percent of all adult Americans report experiencing work abuse and an additional 21 percent of Americans report witnessing it, meaning some 65 million Americans have been affected.

“Anything that affects 65 million Americans is an epidemic,” said Gary Namie, co-founder of the Workplace Bullying Institute. “But it’s an un-discussable epidemic because employers don’t want this discussed.”

Not talking about work abuse has, in turn, normalized the violence, fear and power structure inherent to the phenomenon.

As Namie said, “Work abuse doesn’t shock Americans anymore.”

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Posted in Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, WBI in the News | 1 Comment



March 9th, 2015

Biggest tuition discount ever for Workplace Bullying University

The final Bellingham 3-day Workplace Bullying University is held March 20-22. Regular tuition is $3,100 per person.

Pay only $2,100 if prepaid by Friday the 13th of March, 3 pm PST.

We’ve never lowered the tuition so much, but we want to end our tradition of University in Bellingham with a bang! We started in 2008.

University is training for professionals. Read all the details for this comprehensive, intensive research-based education program. The only one of its kind in North America.

Great for professionals: counselors, executive coaches, union officials, nurses, healthcare administrators, HR, higher education, teachers, managers, attorneys, consultants, and trainers.

California trainers and managers who attend will take back all necessary materials to comply with the new biannual training requirement for supervisors, California Code 12950.1 (AB 2053).

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