Last week, members of the Connecticut Healthy Workplace Advocates provided testimony to the Labor and Public Employees Committee of the Connecticut legislature in support of legislation that would require the state’s Department of Administrative Services to “report the number of complaints of bullying or abusive conduct to the General Assembly.”
If passed by the legislature and signed into law, this bill would help to generate raw data that would support the enactment of more comprehensive protections against workplace bullying, such as the Healthy Workplace Bill.
Friend’s suicide spurs commitment and action
Personal experiences, not political ideology or work obligations, tend to be what draws people to support legal protections against workplace bullying. A prime example is Katherine Hermes, a college professor and volunteer coordinator of the Connecticut effort to enact the Healthy Workplace Bill.
Katherine became active in the anti-bullying movement after a close friend, Marlene Braun, committed suicide because she could no longer tolerate her abusive work situation. Here’s the opening of Katherine’s testimony (link here):
In 2005, one of my dearest friends whom I had known for 33 years, Marlene Braun, committed suicide. In her suicide note, she explained that her boss had made her life “utterly unbearable.” Marlene was a 13-year federal employee with the Bureau of Land Management, had advanced degrees in soil science and bio-geochemistry, and was a veteran of the United States army. And she shot herself in the head because she could no longer endure the torment and abuse heaped upon her by her boss.
Read the rest
Despite the difficulties in getting bullying targets to share their concerns with their elected officials, the Connecticut group did a fine job of generating support for the bill. For example, the Connecticut AFL-CIO is among the organizations and individuals who submitted written testimony endorsing the bill. Go here for links to other statements.