Healthy Workplace Bill: March 2013 update

It’s a steady, hard trudge, but the advocacy work toward enacting the Healthy Workplace Bill continues to move forward:

Here in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Bill now has an official bill number for the 2013-14 session of the Legislature, House Bill No. 1766.  Here’s a link to the complete bill as filed by our lead sponsors, Rep. Ellen Story and Sen. Katherine Clark, joined by 37 co-sponsors.

The bill once again has been assigned to the Joint Committee on Labor & Workforce Development.

Info and testimony packet

On Thursday, the Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Advocates submitted a packet of information and written testimony to the staffs of our lead sponsors so that they can share it with supporters and others who want to understand the need for the legislation.

The packet includes a briefing paper that I prepared, a short fact sheet, and — most importantly — eight personal statements from individuals who have experienced severe workplace bullying. (Thank you to Greg Sorozan, Massachusetts Co-Coordinator, for assembling and editing the packet.)

To get involved

To get involved, go to the Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Advocates website, where you can sign up for updates and also link to our active Facebook page. Co-Coordinator Deb Falzoi can help you get involved in our public education and advocacy work.

Bills filed in eight states

So far, variations of the HWB have been introduced in eight states during the 2013-14 sessions of state legislatures: Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, West Virginia, Florida, and New Mexico.

New York leading the way!

Our friends in New York have lined up a whopping 74 sponsors and co-sponsors in the state legislature, the result of years of hard work and determination.

Kudos to Mike Schlicht and Tom Witt, our co-coordinators there, for their remarkable work to date, with more good stuff to come.

To get involved

For information about the national campaign to enact the HWB, go to the website here. There you’ll find links to sign up with state-level grassroots Healthy Workplace Advocates groups.

Other news items

Management lawyer suggests HWB may be “inevitable likelihood”

Michael Fox, an accomplished law partner at the corporate firm of Ogletree Deakins in Texas and author of a popular blog for management-side employment lawyers, suggests that he’s reconciling himself to the “inevitable likelihood” that workplace bullying laws will be enacted.

Michael and I have had a respectful difference of opinion about the need for such laws, so his graciously worded observation is noteworthy. His short blog post is here.

Insurance Journal: Should EPLI policies cover workplace bullying?

In a January piece for the Insurance Journal on employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) policies for small companies, Amy O’Connor cites “new trends” such as workplace bullying as a reason for insurance agents to work closely with clients and carriers.

Seemingly casual references like this are hard evidence — leading indicators, if you will — that employee relations stakeholders are taking notice of the push to enact workplace bullying laws.

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