Tennessee has enacted legislation directing a state commission to develop a model workplace anti-bullying policy for use by public employers within the state. Here’s a brief summary from the Healthy Workplace Bill national campaign website:
Public sector agencies (all branches of state, county, metropolitan and municipal governments) are given an incentive to adopt the model policy to prevent abusive conduct in the workplace, which will be created before March 1, 2015 by TACIR, the Tennessee advisory commission on intergovernmental relations. Alternately, government employers may create their own policy if it (1) assists employers in recognizing and responding to abusive conduct, and (2) prevents retaliation against any reporting employee.
State Representative Antonio Parkinson, joined by State Senator Jim Kyle, were lead sponsors of the legislation, which originally was filed as a more comprehensive bill including most elements of the prototype Healthy Workplace Bill. I appreciate the productive discussions that Rep. Parkinson held with Gary Namie (Workplace Bullying Institute) and me about the legislation, and while the final result is not as substantial as the original bill, it exemplifies the growing recognition that law and public policy must respond to bullying in the workplace.
Here’s what Dr. Namie said about the legislation and Rep. Parkinson’s work:
We praise passage of Rep. Parkinson’s bill, making Tennessee the first state to acknowledge the dangers of abusive mistreatment of public employees — state agencies to municipalities — by taking the policy-driven approach adopted by a growing list of local ordinances throughout the country. During his consultations with us, he proved to be a true champion for working people.
I’ll have more to report about this legislation and related developments in a future post.