Three ways to support the Healthy Workplace Bill

The Healthy Workplace Bill, legislation that provides severely bullied workers with a legal claim for damages and encourages employers to act preventively and responsively toward abusive behaviors at work, has been introduced in nearly 20 states in recent years.

We are getting closer and closer to the day when the bill becomes law in states across the country, and here are three ways you can help:

1. Connect with the campaign — Join the campaign to enact the Healthy Workplace Bill (HWB). Healthy Workplace Advocates groups are organizing across the country in support of the legislation. For more information, visit the HWB national campaign website. Massachusetts residents, please sign up at the Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Advocates website.

2. Contact your legislators — Contact your state legislators and ask them to support the HWB. If you are in a state where the legislation is active, make sure to include the bill number (if available) in your letter, e-mail, or phone call. There is no more effective way to persuade legislators to support a bill than direct communications from voters in their districts.

If you have a personal account to share, please considering doing so, and try to keep your story succinct. We need to convey the human costs of abuse at work to policymakers everywhere.

3. Solicit support — If you are a member of a union or advocacy group that endorses legislation, ask it to support the Healthy Workplace Bill. Organizational endorsements are vital toward building momentum and clout.

For example, our success in getting the HWB passed by the New York Senate last year was built upon obtaining support from labor unions and other groups throughout the state. In addition, past blog posts have reported the central role of SEIU/NAGE labor support in Massachusetts (here) and national support from Americans for Democratic Action (here).

“Homework” and commitment

Being part of a grassroots social movement for dignity at work requires learning and commitment.

First, educate yourself about the phenomenon of workplace bullying and the need for law reform. Explore the website of the Workplace Bullying Institute.  Read one of my papers on the need for the Healthy Workplace Bill, such as this one presented at an international conference last year.

Second, be restlessly patient when it comes to advocating for the HWB. Change can take time, and it usually requires multiple sessions of a legislature to enact cutting edge law reform proposals. Advocates for the HWB need to bring a steadfast, long haul commitment to our advocacy efforts.

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Disclosure note: I am the author of the Healthy Workplace Bill, variations of which are being considered by state legislatures across the country. The HWB provides targets of severe workplace bullying with a legal claim for damages and creates legal incentives for employers to act preventively and responsively toward bullying behaviors. For more information, go to the Healthy Workplace Bill website.

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