In recent years, I’ve participated in four Massachusetts legislative hearings on workplace anti-bullying legislation, the last three times on behalf of the Healthy Workplace Bill. If yesterday’s hearing before the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development is any indication, support for the Healthy Workplace Bill in the Bay State is reaching a tipping point.
The Healthy Workplace Bill (House No. 1766 in the current MA session) was among the bills heard by the committee on Tuesday, and the growing support was evident. Here’s a quick summary of who supported the bill:
- The Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Advocates panel testifying in support included co-coordinator Greg Sorozan (President of NAGE Local 282), a former bullying target, and me.
- Lead sponsors Rep. Ellen Story and Sen. Katherine Clark and co-sponsor Rep. Frank Smizik were among the legislators who testified in support of the HWB.
- Approximately 12 citizens shared individual stories of experiencing bullying at work and why passage of the HWB is necessary to safeguard workers.
- Many others who appeared before the Committee to endorse other legislation added remarks supporting the HWB.
The only voiced opposition came from the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, a powerful corporate trade association. In addition, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette ran an editorial opposing the HWB, claiming that existing laws are more than adequate to address bullying-type behaviors.
I’m hardly a disinterested party, but I was struck by how frequently this bill was mentioned during the hearing. Ten years ago, such an event simply was not imaginable. Yesterday, however, workplace bullying was among the dominant topics at a legislative hearing in which many worthy bills were being considered.
Thanks to Deb Falzoi, Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Advocates, for some of the information above.