Posts Tagged ‘legislation’


As state legislatures begin their 2015-16 sessions

Monday, January 5th, 2015

By Sherrill Gilbert, Vermont State Coordinator, the Healthy Workplace Campaign

The gavel will again call to order the Senate and the House. They will take an oath to serve the people of Vermont. The issues that impact the lives of Vermonters will once again be on the agendas, some will be re-introduced from the previous biennium. There are bills that were and still are valid and important to our community as a whole and the future of our workers and future generations. Workplace Bullying is controversial, it needs to be a public conversation and not hidden away as it has been the past seven years.

The Healthy Workplace Bill has been in the legislature since 2007, a few individuals decided they did not want this bill to be voted upon in committee nor did they want a public hearing on Bullying in the Workplace. This conversation would mean they would have to acknowledge bullying happens here and for several years they have turned their backs on the workers who have been abused by bullies.

There is a battle being fought in many workplaces here in Vermont in all fourteen counties. We are not alone, every state faces the same issues across America. Like all wars there are casualties. This war is no difference in that there are victims who are left broken, their lives are forever changed. For the bully this would not be enough, they would have to add more suffering and pain for the target, transferring the element of shame, the bully transfers the shame upon the target Stripping Targets of their self-esteem, their dignity and self-confidence publicly can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. We are talking about a psychological warfare, no bullets that can be seen or outward bruising.

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Time for courageous, principled lawmakers to enact the WBI anti-abuse Healthy Workplace Bill

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

If not now, when will principled lawmakers come forward to not only introduce, but to work tirelessly to enact, legislation that holds employers accountable for allowing (through indifference or ignorance) or fostering (through rewards, both explicit and implicit) health-harming abusive conduct, a.k.a., workplace bullying?

Wanted Brave Lawmakers to pass legislation for bullied workers We seek elected officials who can resist arguments of pro-business lobbyists who make false claims about our Healthy Workplace Bill.

Here are some of those lies and distortions espoused by HWB opponents followed by the truth according to terms and provisions of the actual legislation.

1. Workplace bullying sounds childlike. Bullying is for kids; adults work.

The term does not appear in the text of the HWB bill. Instead, lawsuits will require demonstrably health-harming abusive conduct be shown that was followed by the employer’s decision to punish the plaintiff with negative employment actions. Nothing infantile about abuse. Arguing “for abuse” should be condemned for not only poor “optics” but for the immorality of the position.

2. Bullying is too subjective. It cannot be defined.

So is sexual harassment, though illustrations can be given. But the perception’s of the allegedly harassed recipient must be treated as credible until shown to be otherwise. This bill reflects the same subjectivity contained in civil rights statutes. By adding significant evidentiary burdens for the plaintiff, such as malice, proof of health harm, and a demonstrated pattern of repeated misconduct, the definition of abusive conduct approaches a more objective standard than long-standing harassment laws.

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NH workplace bullying bill vetoed by governor

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Gov. Hassan Vetoes Workplace Bullying Bill
By Holly Ramer, Associated Press, July 28, 2014

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Gov. Maggie Hassan vetoed a bill Monday aimed at protecting New Hampshire state employees from abusive work environments, saying it was well-intentioned but unworkable.

Lawmakers passed the measure after hearing from current and former state workers who said they experienced workplace bullying. It would have required state departments and agencies to develop policies to address harassment.

But Hassan said the legislation’s definition of “abusive conduct” was overly broad and would have made the most routine interactions potential causes of action. For example, workers could claim abuse if they believed they had “unreasonable” workloads, felt co-workers weren’t answering emails in a timely manner or had received constructive criticism from supervisors or peers, she said.

“The bill also attempts to legislate politeness, manners and the interpersonal relationships of co-workers,” Hassan said.

The governor said state employees deserve respect and the opportunity to work in respectful environments, but she argued the legislation would lead to a dramatic increase in lawsuits, which would in turn hinder productivity.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Diane Schuett, said she hopes lawmakers will override the veto.

“We all know there’s bullying in school, and just because someone graduates from school, doesn’t mean they stop doing it, and it carries over into the workplace,” she said. “It undermines the efficiency within state government if you end up with one or two employees being harassed on the job, either by another employee or a supervisor, and you end up with the entire agency being aware of it and feeling like they have to pick sides.”

Schuett, D-Pembroke, and other supporters said the state has no written policy against abuse in the workplace nor any office procedure to follow to address such issues. But Hassan said existing state rules give employees an avenue for making complaints.

Diana Lacey, president of the State Employees’ Association, disagreed. She said in the two years since the bill was first introduced, the governor has done little more than have the state personnel division develop an online “Respect in the Workplace” training presentation.

“It just feels like more stalling,” she said. “The governor has the power to issue an executive order to take this more seriously … If the governor wasn’t going to support the legislation, the governor’s office should’ve pitched an executive order and has not done so. So we’re very upset.”

As for the concern about litigation, Lacey said state employees already have been using the courts to seek relief.

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The WBI response to the veto.

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Puerto Rico acts on the Healthy Workplace Bill

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.

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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 () »



US Virgin Islands Senator introduces anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Sen. Clarence Payne, Chair of the Health, Hospitals, Human Services & Veterans’ Affairs Committee, has introduced our anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill in the U.S. Virgin Islands legislature. On June 6, in St. Croix, a public hearing for the bill will be heard.

Please visit the USVI Page at the HWB website and use the E-Z letter writer to show your support to committee members.

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Tennessee: Progressive? Still Racist?

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

A good news / bad news tale. First, the good. On June 3, the Gov. signed a law encouraging public sector employers to adopt policies to address abusive conduct, the way WBI defines workplace bullying. Kudos go to brave Rep. Antonio Parkinson who took the full version of our Healthy Workplace Bill through several committees. The bill did not survive intact, but the state is the first state to adopt a policy-driven approach taken by several counties and cities across the country. Read the details at the TN State Page of the HWB website.

Sadly, on the same week, Memphis WREG-TV-3 reported the Jim Crow era-like conduct of a white supervisor at a cotton warehouse toward black workers. No water fountain, no microwave, the days of segregation were good! The owner said he “outsources management services.” Watch the story that is the basis of an EEOC discrimination case.

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Posted in Broadcasts: Video, TV, radio, webinars, Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Media About Bullying, Workplace Bullying Laws | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Paskoff: Employers Should Stop Bullying Now

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Why Wait for a Law? Stop Bullying Now
By Stephen Paskoff, Workforce Management, March 13, 2014

I recently participated in a webcast discussing current workplace issues, including bullying and abusive conduct. So far, such behavior, however defined or named, has not been recognized as illegal at the state or federal level. Generally, these and other programs I have participated in mostly consider whether workplace bullying is an imminent or remote litigation risk. No doubt that’s a matter to be concerned about.

However, to me here’s the more critical question: Why are organizations spending so much time discussing what might happen in the future as opposed to addressing the organizational damage abusive behaviors are causing them right now? Wouldn’t it be a strange business world if leaders waited to maximize the profitability of their manufacturing and sales processes until some legislature passed a law compelling them to do so? But that’s just what they are doing when it comes to bullying conduct.

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Bristol Press: CCSU professor urges law targeting workplace bullying

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

By Scott Whipple, The Bristol (CT) Press, March 1, 2014

NEW BRITAIN — Workplace bullying is back in the public eye.

According to a recent national survey, an overwhelming majority of Americans — 93 percent — support enactment of a new law that would protect workers from repeated abusive treatment at work. Only 1 percent strongly oppose such a measure.

“Because of the strong public support and stories from Connecticut citizens we are seeking sponsors in the state legislature to enact the Anti-Bullying Healthy Workplace Bill” said Katherine Hermes, state co-coordinator promoting the legislation.

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Vermont advocate calls for hearing on workplace bullying bill

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

Ban on workplace bullying stalled at Vermont Statehouse
Advocacy group asks lawmakers to hold public hearing
by Stewart Ledbetter, WPTZ, NBC-TV, Montpelier, VT, Feb. 28, 2014

Sherill Gilbert says she walks the Statehouse hallways as often as she can, trying to persuade members of the Legislature to take up her cause.

She’s determined, even after five years without much success.
 
“I’d love to see Vermont become first state with law against workplace bullying,” Gilbert said Thursday. “I’ve heard from people from all 14 Vermont counties. Somebody needs to do something. It’s the only legalized abuse in the United States.”

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Tennessee becomes 26th state to introduce anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bills

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

In the Tennessee House, Rep. Antonio Parkinson introduced HB 1981, the Healthy Workplace Bill to combat workplace bullying. Sen. Jim Kyle simultaneously introduced the companion bill, SB 2226.

Both bills mark the introduction of Tennessee to the legislative fight against workplace bullying. It is the 26th state to have taken this step since we began the campaign in 2003 in California.

Visit the Healthy Workplace Campaign website for details and specifically the Tennessee State Page for new bill details.

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