Status of Workplace Bullying Legislation

Some readers know that I am the author of the “Healthy Workplace Bill,” model legislation designed to give severely bullied workers a right to sue for damages and to impose upon employers legal incentives to act preventively and responsively to workplace bullying.  Since 2003, variations of the bill have been introduced in some 12 state legislatures.  I believe that someday soon we will see the Healthy Workplace Bill enacted in one or more states.

Dr. Gary Namie, whose pivotal public education and advocacy work has been noted several times on this blog, has been instrumental in supporting state-level organizations to advocate for this legislation.  Here is a status report of where things are: http://workplacebullyinglaw.org/.  This page includes contact information for those who would like to get involved.

For Massachusetts readers who would like to get involved in the newly formed Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Advocates, please contact Greg Sorozan at gsorozan@nage.org.  We’ll be sharing news of our progress soon.

America has fallen behind Canada, Australia, and many European nations on enacting workplace bullying laws.  In the meantime, hardworking employees who have been psychologically pummeled at work are told by lawyers that they have no legal recourse.  When cruelty and psychological violence are perfectly legal in the workplace, something is very wrong.

6 responses

  1. I support and encourage this important piece of legislature to pass. As Director of Batterer Intervention Services in Chelsea MA. the direct link through research is clear: DV victims are more likely to experience work place bullying. I would like to help in any way possible to get this bill passed.

    Amy Harris

  2. I am a victim of bullying and mobbing and after six month’s from being terminated from my job, I am still trying to cope. Thank you to all who have done research on this issue. I wrote my state rep and asked that he support this bill. The general public should be informed of this workplace crime. If it didn’t happen to me, I would never have been aware. Is there a registration site or database to collect information on this important issue. I would like physicians and psychologist to be aware of this crime and what it does to victims. I too will help in anyway to get this bill passed.

    • Elaine, thank you for your comment. Because, unfortunately, workplace bullying is so common (affecting millions each year), there is no central registry to collect information. However, the target page of the Workplace Bullying Institute website has good info (http://www.workplacebullying.org/targets.html), and WBI periodically does surveys and collects data. WBI’s legislative campaign is a good starting place to find out how to become active in supporting legislation (http://www.workplacebullyinglaw.org/).

  3. Texas is an “At Will” Law employment State, which allows the employer (Open Range) to take down an employee without cause! Large Corporations, i.e. Lowe’s HIW Home officed in NC. Although in Texas where I worked have many senior managers between 23 & 33 years old w/o college degrees and/or people skills or basic work experience. Yet, they can openly paraphrase the Company Policy to their interpretation and amend the (Supposed) unposted or uneasily to access policy, to their personal liking. They have prepared company policy write ups to charge an employee with once they tag team you in their office with the prewritten violation charge. You are intimidated, threatened, coersed, humiliated and generally told it doesn’t matter if you agree with it or not, your charged with it and it goes into your personnel file permanently. “Management takes care of Management” was the motto in the store I worked. I have recorded proof of it, 5 employees over the age 40 were systematically terminated because of disabilities, but Texas At-Will Law” became “Lowe’s At-Will POlicy” and Open Range to terminate anyone who challenged management! The Open Door Policy may appear on paper, but no welcome mat is vissible and should you ring the door bell, you will have boiling hot water thrown in your face before you are eventually “Terminated for cause”. AT Will… Employees have no rights even under the EEOC and if you are terminated for (CAUSE) the company policy, you can not receive unemployment and you loose your medical insurance and the possibility of rehaire to any other like position elsewhere! I apologize for the length of this article, but Thank you for all you are trying to do. I will do what I can in West Texas to support you, even though I am unemployed and fighting for my rights at this time. I wish you continued successs 7 May God Bless. Respectfully Jim Richardson Abilene, Texas

    • Jim, thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m sure it wasn’t easy to commit this to writing. I hope you’ll consider joining up with others in Texas to advance law reform efforts if you have not done so already (www.healthyworkplacebill.org). Take good care, David

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