August 11th, 2015
by David Yamada on his blog …
After being reported favorably out of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce
Development, the Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Bill has been moved to a procedural stage called “Third Reading,”
which means it is now eligible for a full vote by the House of Representatives. As reported by Deb Falzoi on the Facebook
page of the Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Advocates:
BREAKING NEWS: The Healthy Workplace Bill, HB 1771,
has been ordered to a Third Reading in the House. This step is the furthest point the bill has gone in Massachusetts in previous
sessions, but this session we’ve reached it much earlier in the session. Progress!
Without a doubt
this is good news and increases the likelihood for a favorable result during the 2015-16 Massachusetts legislative session.
Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee recommends support of Healthy Workplace Bill
The Massachusetts Mental Health
Legal Advisors Committee, an office appointed by the state’s Supreme Judicial Court “to enhance and protect the
rights of persons with mental health concerns in key areas most closely related to their ability to live full and independent
lives free of discrimination,” has submitted written testimony in support of the Healthy Workplace Bill. MHLAC senior
attorney Susan Fendell, stated in her testimony that “(t)his bill, if passed into law, will profoundly improve people’s
daily lives by creating positive and consequently more productive work environments.”
testimony shared the story of a client with a learning disability who was subjected to severe physical and verbal abuse by
a new supervisor. The client filed a disability discrimination claim, but because he was not able to show that the mistreatment
was grounded in his disability, he did not prevail. MHLAC offered this story as an example of the gap that needs to be filled
by the Healthy Workplace Bill.
MHLAC’s welcomed statement of support highlights the potential power of the Healthy
Workplace Bill to safeguard the mental health of all citizens.
Visit the Massachusetts State Page to read the bill.
April 27, 2015
Pennsylvania state Rep. Mark Cohen, along with seven co-sponsors, introduced
HB 1041 on April 21, 2015. PA joins other states — Texas, New York, Massachusetts, and Minnesota — with versions
of the WBI anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill (HWB) that include employer liability for enabling a health-harming abusive
work environment. In 20
April 23, 2015
Minnesota State Rep. Debra Hilstrom introduced the Healthy Workplace
Bill — HF 2228 — on April 16. Co-sponsors soon joined her: Reps. Nelson, Slocum, Fischer, Shultz and Carlson.
Both bills, SF 1932 and HF 2228, were referred to committees in their respective chambers. Read the details on the Minnesota
April 12, 2015
For some reason, Vermont lawmakers sponsoring a paid sick leave bill
appropriated our the WBI bill name – Healthy Workplace Bill – in 2015. We support paid sick leave, but care most
about ending health-harming abuse in the workplace. Now comes Vermont Senate bill S 143 –An act relating to protecting
employees from abuse at work. W
April 1, 2015
Utah HB 216, sponsored by Rep. Keven Stratton, sailed through the House
and Senate and was signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert. The training mandate law drew its definition of abusive conduct from
the WBI Healthy Workplace Bill: “Abusive conduct means verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of an employee to another
employee that, based on
March 31, 2015
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 Sacrame
March 23, 2015
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 Comm
March 19, 2015
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
March 14, 2015
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 21
March 12, 2015
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 t
March 11, 2015
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 m 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
Mass. joins New York State making 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 affiliates, theMA 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.
can track H 1771’s progress at the MA State Page of the HWB website.
March 4th, 2015
On March 3, 2015, the Utah state
House of Representatives passed HB 216 on a floor vote of 58-14 to move to the state Senate for consideration.
HB 216, sponsored by Rep. Keven Stratton of Orem, adopts the employee training mandate first made law by California in 2014.
However, the Utah bill is an improvement because it specifies what should be included in the training about abusive conduct.
The California law gave no guidance to employers. And employers without guidance will skirt the intent of the law to deliver
the minimum in a way that is cheapest for them (an online brief overview).
Utah’s HB 216:
• applies to state agencies only
• mandates training of employees AND supervisors
to include description and “ramifications” of abusive conduct
• to include resources available to abused
• and to cover the internal grievance process details (WBI: to hold abuser accountable)
also training in Ethical Conduct
• also training in Organizational Leadership with Integrity
every other year
• State may allocate funds to develop policies for agencies
• State may support development
of agency training
HB 216 is not the full Healthy Workplace Bill, but it is the strongest step that any state has taken
to date. WBI State Coordinator Denise Halverson has been involved in every stage of the bill’s evolution and deserves
Visit the Utah State page at the Healthy Workplace Bill website for details.
February 10th, 2015
New York Healthy Workplace
Advocates, lobbyists for the Healthy Workplace Bill, announce that 80 Assemblymembers started the new 2015-16 legislative
session by re-committing themselves to the anti-bullying campaign for the workplace. The bill is AB 3250.
Visit the NY State Page to see the details.
As state legislatures begin their 2015-16 sessions in VERMONT
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.
The summer of 2013 I was part of a committee
study lead my Ann M. Noonan Commissioner of the Labor Department. What soon became apparent was that the issue of Bullying
in the Workplace was not a new revelation, they did not deny this was indeed present in Vermont. As the conversation continued
I realized the conversation became about the liability they would be faced with, the mountain of law suits they would have
to deal with. I left with a new reality, since 2007 how many lives would have been spared the pain and suffering and what
I felt was fear of the consequences if they were to act politically then economically what would this mean to their careers.
Meanwhile the numbers continue to grow and more lives as is the pain and suffering of targets continue to grow larger.
will be scheduling meetings where I will be talking not only about the Bill itself but also I will be speaking about the impact
this has on family members, co-workers, health issues that arise and can lead to death, the psychological Issues, as well.
How this impacts the communities economically and socially.
Fifty Seven Million Americans have been impacted by bullying
directly or indirectly. The odds are that you know someone/s who has been bullied, a family member or a loved one, or a friend.
you want to learn more about Workplace Bullying and what you can be part of the solution to stop the Bullying, contact Sherrill
at the Vermont State page at the HWB website.