The Healthy Workplace Bill is in a New York State of Mind

New York supporters of the Healthy Workplace Bill held a press conference in Albany on Monday to call for passage of the workplace anti-bullying legislation. As reported by Rebecca Melnitsky for the Albany Times Union (link here):

With the support of many unions and workers advocacy groups, Sen. Diane Savino and Assemblyman Steve Englebright urged the legislature to pass the Healthy Workplace Bill. . . .

Englebright said he had recently spoken to Assembly Labor Committee chairman Keith Wright. “He indicated that he wanted to move this bill, and would do so. So part of what we’re announcing this morning is that this is a priority for this session.”

Englebright said the bill has 82 sponsors in the Assembly.

Watch it

Readers can watch the entire press conference (or just parts of it) by clicking the YouTube link above. Speakers included elected officials, representatives from unions and professional organizations, and individuals who have experienced workplace bullying. Here’s the full list:

Senator Diane Savino, Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Assemblymember Aileen Gunther, Assemblymember Dennis Gabryszak, Assemblyman Mark Johns, Tom Witt (NYHWA) , Mike Schlicht (NYHWA), Michael S. Garry (Healthcare Coordinating Council – CWA District 1), Iris DeLutro (Professional Staff Congress), Tom Comanzo (Public Employees Federation ), John Richter (Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc.) Brett Scudder (SISFI), Neil Dias, Diana Whitaker, Colleen O’Connor, Heidi Ellerton DiTonno.

Wow!

Yes, wow. Less than a decade ago, the idea that a major state would be taking workplace anti-bullying legislation seriously was considered pure fancy. I must admit, when I wrote the first draft of the HWB in the early 2000s, I anticipated that it would be treated as an idealistic academic model, unlikely to be debated in the halls of legislatures.

An Albany press conference featuring leading legislators, union and professional group officials, and bullying targets shows that we’ve come a long way. And thanks in large part to the steadfast efforts of Mike Schlicht and Tom Witt, co-coordinators of the legislative advocacy effort in New York, passage of the HWB has become a priority for legislative leaders of the Empire State.

11 responses

  1. Thanks you Guys for working on a real problem in today’s society,i am truley suffering daily form anxiety,depression and panic attacks,as a result of Workplace bullying,retaliation and Discrimination,i have filed a complaint throug the MCAD in Boston and the Workplace had been Noitified,things has gotten worst(indirectly)

    • I know where you are in your feelings. Let’s just pray that we get this done. I’ll pray for peace for you.

    • i will,because standing up for what is right can become
      very uncomfortable at times,but in the end,you know you did the right thing and it’s worth it.

  2. David while everyone you mentioned certainly deserves much credit, we could not have done it without you! Your tireless effort is much appreciated, do not forget to thank yourself too!!!!

    • I will certainly second that emotion, i would have never thought i would have been victimized by people i learned too trust…and it was not easy learning to tusting again.
      If you have time Google my name(Shelton Prince) there was an article written about me in the Boston Globe “Land Of Second Chance” i;m not looking for sympathy,only equality,i have worked my behind off Battling Demonds that took everything form me, I have been Blessed and living a productive life for the past 13 1/2 years and counting,only to be subjected to mean spirited people,who have taken my past Life and defined who i am Today. it’s just not fair.

  3. May 5, 2012

    Dear Law Maker:

    I am a 46 year old former U.S. Marine, who was brought up by my father, due to my mother passing away when I was 8 years old. I have five children, a grandchild and a wonderful wife of over 20 years.

    I was born in 1965, in Fall River Massachusetts. I lived on the 2nd floor from my Grandmother. I come from a very large Cape Verdean family. In 1973 we moved from the city, into the suburban neighborhood, a town called Swansea, Massachusetts where I still live today. Later that year we lost my mother in an auto mobile accident.

    In 1984 I went into the U.S. Marines which enforced respect for one self, and for my Nation. After getting out of the Marines, I furthered my education and received my first of two degree, which was in Electrical Technology.

    In 1997 I was hired by Nynex (now called Verizon), as a lineman. I progressed up the latter and in February of 2004, I was promoted to manager. I was already in the process of working on my second degree, which was in Business Management. From that point going forward, I advanced to upper management.

    I was achieved a lot of success, and was awarded for my hard work, locally, regionally and nationally at Verizon. I was a valued leader on the Verizon Diversity Committee, and spoke at several locations throughout New England. I was on the Diversity committee, and was directly responsible for ensure the first ever Verizon’s Diversity week went on without any hitches. I was awarded for my success in New York by the Verizon New England President. I was the only one in Verizon New England to receive this prestigious award. I was apart of another internal organization at Verizon that help to halt bad, immoral behaviors and discrimination. It was Verizon’s C.I.T.E. Program.

    I was hand picked to attend a very exclusive training session outside of Verizon, called the “Boston Partnership.” I was the only Verizon employees to be picked to attend this training. I graduated top honors, and gave the commencement speech representing my class. I performed at my best at all times. I could do no wrong that is until I tried to stop the historical bullying at Verizon.

    I was apart of other specialized organizations within Verizon to ensure my voice was heard as I stood up against Bullying, Harassment, Racism and Discrimination was not accepted with the Verizon walls. I was not just a participant, I took my positions seriously.

    But it was in 2004 when I was promoted, I began to see Verizon employees getting bullied by Verizon Management. I did what I through was best, and tried to halt the bullying that was taking place at Verizon, then it shifted to me. After standing up against the powers to be, trying to help others I was targeted, harassed, bullied, discriminated against, endured racial harassment, blackballed and eventually wrongfully terminated.

    I was brought up with the belief of how you treat people, is how you will be treated. It was embedded into my mind that respect was how it will be in my family. My father said, “Respect people, work hard and life will treat you kind.” This was the belief of a man who was discriminated against for so many years, because of his color, but never changed his values.

    I knew then, I cannot walk away like so many others that have had to endure such cruelty, and that this bullying issue is larger than me.

    After seven and a half years my story is still is not over as I am still in federal court in Boston Massachusetts awaiting the “second summary of judgment decision.” I was awarded trial previously, but my Federal Judge retired, and I was forced to re-live this trauma of seeking justice. I will continue to fight for justice, and my honor.

    I now have committed my life to help others, and started a blog page which has acquired over 14,000 readings and over 2,000 comments in only a few months. After hearing all these stories, I knew I had to do something and became an advocate for workplace bulling. This is when I stumbled upon “New York Healthy Workplace Advocates.”

    I have helped to organize many in the fight against Verizon and other companies in the war against bullying in corporate America. I have helped to guide so many to resources to guide these victims in the fight against any form of harassment or discrimination in the workplace, as this is my mission.

    I am in the working on publishing a book, which will be out later this year as it is about the immoral, unethical and illegal treatment of employees and myself while working at Verizon.

    • The U.S. Department of Labor produced a fact sheet on numerous events in the workplace. July 2010 they concluded that over a 5 year span, from 2004 – 2008, there were an average of 564 work-related homicides that occurred each year in the United States of America. About 4 out of 5 homicide victims in 2008 were male

    • The U.S. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health states that Homicide is the second highest cause of death on the job after motor vehicle accidents. That amounts to every 3 cases to 10,000 workers. Over 2 million workers are assaulted each year and 2, 000 people are murdered.

    • A 2007 national survey by Zogby International and Workplace Institute found that:
    • 37% of workers have experienced workplace bullying.
    • 62% of employees who received complaints about workplace bullying either ignore the problem or made it worse.
    • 64% of bullying targets eventually are pushed out of their jobs.
    • 73% of workplace bullies are supervisors.

    **In the spring of 2011, I was in a Federal Deposition with Verizon, and they admitted, under oath that they receive over 104,000 EEO Complaints a year. That comes out to 8,666 a month, and 2,000 a week, 400 a day. Why so many?

    In the last four years of my career at Verizon as a manager (from February 2004 – November 2008), as a black manager I have been a victim of enormous and continued bullying. Discrimination, harassment, intimidation tactics, racism, endured racial comments, racial jokes, belittlement being forced to endure demeaning behavior and language. I was ignored when reporting unethical behavior and abusive treatment to upper management and corporate compliance departments like Verizon Ethics and Corporate Security. I was threatened physically, targeted, falsely accused of a crime, my work sabotaged, un-voluntarily relocated (7 times in 2 ½ years and verbally attacked. My pay was intentionally withheld several times, my annual bonus withheld, unequal treatment, diminished development and diminished opportunities. I was moved regularly, yelled at, called names, harassed at my home while being out sick. I was so belittled, treated with the utmost disrespect, given low ratings and my pay was being withheld. I was then removed from duty call out list, advised to do my Caucasian peer managers work and were given lower raises and bonuses than them. I was denied of justice, forced to do extended work and harassed till no end, been the butt end of a conspiracy and my technicians attacked in a retaliation method to reduce my team’s productivity and demoralize my team. I was given unfavorable performance evaluations, treated like a criminal, been thrown out of meetings for no reason. I’ve been embarrassed due to being treated horribly in front of peers, isolation and stripped of responsibilities which dramatically reduced my income to support my family. My employment was threatened, sworn at, called a liar as well as my morals and values questioned. I was called psychotic, called pathetic, harassed at home on my property while I was out ill, while on my property. I endured repulsive behavior, forced to endure hostile treatment, forced to sit in the back of the room in meeting as a punishment, forced to be in a hostile environment and consistently retaliated against and in the end wrongfully terminated, because I choose not to accept this brutal behavior from Verizon.

    This Healthy Workplace Bill
    o Today, there is an active bill in most states which, with the work of you, and others in office that have the power to make this a Law, bullying can save lives. The bill is called: “Healthy Workplace Bill,”
    o Bullies are an internal terrorist, attacking the moral of our character, and society from the inside. They are destroying good people, and their lives. Just as we, as a country dominate in containing world wide terrorism, we need to strengthen our cause and focus on luring out the bullies in each and every workplace in this country, and hold them accountable. This, “Healthy Workplace Bill,” will do such a thing, this bill if we can get it to become law – will save lives!
    o 21 states since 2003 have introduced the HWB – No laws enacted
    o 13 states active in 2012 with 18 current bills (2/28/2012)

    Bulling Advocates:

    The people that are complaining of bullies are not sissy’s, they are not pansies’ they are not people that aren’t afraid to do anything that they have to, including being violent.

    They are people that choose to take a non-violent activist way of doing what is right for themselves and their families and many others. So they are individuals that have no problem standing up for themselves, if they have to protect themselves in a violent manner, but they choose not do.

    They are individuals that follow the law, based on the law is what society asks, is to be non-violent when making a stand. These individuals whether children or adults, make a stand up against bullying, is making a stand are doing what’s right for the best interest of all.

    I myself had the potential and ability to act out in a violent manner and harm the individuals that harassed, bullied, discriminated against and targeted me, if I had to but choose not to. I choose to make a stand utilizing the proper chain of command, and within the law in the best interest of my family and myself. I refused to have to sit behind bars of kill myself, because of acting out in a violent manner to resolve these immoral issues. I choose the right path; I choose what I had to for all the right reasons and has still been denied justice.

    So I credit all the individuals that are standing as advocates all across this world against bullies, so we can change society so people can go to work each day and make a reasonable income to support their families.

    Life is stressful enough, no one needs to be abused and tormented in the process.
    On Friday May 4, 2012 I received a call from Tom Panetta from New York. He is 56 years old, and a 32 years cable maintenance technician from Verizon. He called me after watching my press conference video on “Youtube.” He called me to let me know I was his hero, right after he told me a tear jerking story, about the bullying he had faced while working for Verizon. This is why I cannot stop. Tom is one of many calls and emails I receive each day.
    Too may lives have been destroyed, for all too long.
    I will not stop, it is time for change!
    Please help, and get this Healthy Workplace Bill recognized and into a law. If you need me at anytime to speak, I will be glad to offer my word. I am now an active Advocate in Massachusetts for Healthy Workplace Bill.

    I am also starting a National campaign across this country called: “Enough is Enough – End Bullying in Corporate America.”

    This is the year to end Corporate Bullying, it is up to you. The Healthy Workplace Bill needs to become Law. If this bill becomes law, it will help to create healthier workplaces, and saves lives.

    “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
    -Edmund Burke

    Neal W. Dias
    645 Marvel Street
    Swansea, MA. 02777
    774-319-3931
    Fightingfor7years@hotmail.com

    Attached is my story:
    • My full story
    • U.S. Justice Department Letter
    • 2 Pictures taken at the Capital Press Conference in Albany New York on April 30, 2012

    My Speech / News Paper Article:

    Healthy Workplace Bill Press Conference in New York April 30, 2012 (Video), I begin the speech about Verizon at the 27:00 minute: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6pPe2gqGRI&feature=share

    Healthy Workplace Bill Press Conference in New York April 30, 2012 (Newspaper Article):
    http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/128768/savino-englebright-push-bill-to-fight-workplace-bullying/

    Healthy Workplace Bill:
    Healthy Workplace National Bill page: http://www.healthyworkplacebill.org/

    National Petition:
    Here’s a National Petition against Workplace Bullying that generates individual emails notifying both President Obama & DOL Secretary Solis each time someone signs — please help us reach our goal and get the word out:
    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/protect-us-workers/

    Workplace Bullying Institute – The Workplace Bullying Institute
    http://www.workplacebullying.org/2012/04/25/naming/#more-8379

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