Healthy Workplace Bill is gaining momentum in Massachusetts


In the new 2013-14 session of the Massachusetts legislature, the Healthy Workplace Bill (currently House Docket No. 517; awaiting assignment of a bill number) is roaring out of the blocks, with two lead sponsors and 37 co-sponsors signed on as supporters.

The Healthy Workplace Bill is legislation I authored that provides a legal claim for targets of severe workplace bullying and creates liability-reducing incentives for employers to act preventively and responsively toward bullying at work.

Here’s the list of sponsors, courtesy of Deb Falzoi (Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Advocates) and House staff. The lead sponsors are Representative Ellen Story and Senator Katherine Clark, followed by co-sponsors in alphabetical order:

Representative Ellen Story (lead sponsor, D-Amherst)
Senator Katherine Clark (lead sponsor, D-Melrose)
Rep. Denise Andrews (D-Orange)
Rep. Brian Ashe (D-Longmeadow)
Rep. Ruth Balser (D-Newton)
Rep. Paul Brodeur (D-Melrose)
Rep. Christine Canavan (D-Brockton)
Rep. Gailanne Cariddi (D-North Adams)
Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston)
Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera (D-Springfield)
Rep. Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen)
Sen. James Eldridge (D-Acton)
Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (D-Leominster)
Rep. John Fresolo (D-Worcester)
Rep. Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough)
Rep. Patricia Haddad (D-Somerset)
Rep. Jonathan Hecht (D-Watertown)
Rep. Carlos Henriquez (D-Dorchester)
Rep. Russell Holmes (D-Boston)
Rep. Kevin Honan (D-Brighton)
Rep. Lou Kafka (D-Stoughton)
Sen. John Keenan (D-Quincy)
Rep. Kay Khan (D-Newton)
Rep. Peter Kocot (D-Northampton)
Sen. Michael Knapik (R-Westfield)
Rep. John Lawn (D-Watertown)
Rep. John Mahoney (D-Worcester)
Rep. Brian Mannal (D-Barnstable)
Sen. Thomas McGee (D-Lynn)
Rep. Paul McMurtry (D-Dedham)
Rep. James O’Day (D-West Boylston)
Rep. Denise Provost (D-Somerville)
Rep. John Scibak (D-South Hadley)
Rep. Carl Sciortino, Jr. (D-Medford)
Rep. Frank Smizik (D-Brookline)
Rep. Theodore Speliotis (D-Danvers)
Rep. Benjamin Swan (D-Springfield)
Rep. Aaron Vega (D-Holyoke)
Sen. James Welch (D-West Springfield)

1 to 13 to 39

This is the third Massachusetts legislative session in which the HWB has been filed.

2009-10 session — The first time was a “late file,” meaning it was filed much later in the session and had little chance of moving forward. Our sole sponsor was Senator and Assistant Majority Leader Joan Menard. Another legislator, Representative Ellen Story, sponsored a bill that called for a statewide study of workplace bullying and required larger employers to adopt policies concerning workplace bullying.

2011-12 session — The second time saw major steps forward. With the retirement of Sen. Menard, Rep. Story and Senator Katherine Clark stepped up as lead sponsors, joined by 11 others. The HWB jumped successfully through two committee hoops in the House and made it to a stage known as “third reading,” meaning it was ready for a full vote by the House.

2013-14 session — Now we have our two lead sponsors in Rep. Story and Sen. Clark, joined by 37 others. I call that progress, a genuine sign that we’re moving toward enacting this legislation.

Thank you!

Thank you to our elected officials, especially our lead sponsors, for their courageous leadership on behalf of cutting-edge legislation that will help people who have been severely mistreated at work and encourage employers to take workplace bullying seriously.

Thank you to all the advocates who have been e-mailing, calling, visiting, and otherwise supporting the eventual enactment of the Healthy Workplace Bill.


To learn more about Massachusetts advocacy efforts on behalf of the Healthy Workplace Bill, go here.

To learn more about campaigns in other states to enact the HWB, go here.

7 responses

  1. This is truly inspiring. Like you, Professor Yamada, I too call it progress — major progress. And not a moment too soon. Many thanks, and keep right on fighting that good fight!

    • Yup, the HWB support comes disproportionately from Dems. But in MA, one Republican, Michael Knapik, has signed on. I’m hoping we’ll be able to open a dialogue with other Republicans, who tend to be moderate in this state.

      And keep in mind that when the HWB was passed by the NY State Senate in 2010, a moderate Republican committee chair led the way, with a lot of bipartisan support.

    • Senator Michael Knapik is a Republican and a co-sponsor of the HWB. He took time out of his busy day to meet with me, in Boston, even though I didn’t make an appointment. I’m impressed with my Senator, and have heard great things about him from other constituents.

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