Working Notes: Progress for HWB in Massachusetts (and more!)


MA Healthy Workplace Bill moves to “Third Reading”

After being reported favorably out of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, the Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Bill has been moved to a procedural stage called “Third Reading,” which means it is now eligible for a full vote by the House of Representatives. As reported by Deb Falzoi on the Facebook page of the Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Advocates:

BREAKING NEWS: The Healthy Workplace Bill, HB 1771, has been ordered to a Third Reading in the House. This step is the furthest point the bill has gone in Massachusetts in previous sessions, but this session we’ve reached it much earlier in the session. Progress!

Without a doubt this is good news and increases the likelihood for a favorable result during the 2015-16 Massachusetts legislative session.

MA Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee recommends support of Healthy Workplace Bill

The Massachusetts Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee, an office appointed by the state’s Supreme Judicial Court “to enhance and protect the rights of persons with mental health concerns in key areas most closely related to their ability to live full and independent lives free of discrimination,” has submitted written testimony in support of the Healthy Workplace Bill. MHLAC senior attorney Susan Fendell, stated in her testimony that “(t)his bill, if passed into law, will profoundly improve people’s daily lives by creating positive and consequently more productive work environments.”

Attorney Fendell’s testimony shared the story of a client with a learning disability who was subjected to severe physical and verbal abuse by a new supervisor. The client filed a disability discrimination claim, but because he was not able to show that the mistreatment was grounded in his disability, he did not prevail. MHLAC offered this story as an example of the gap that needs to be filled by the Healthy Workplace Bill.

MHLAC’s welcomed statement of support highlights the potential power of the Healthy Workplace Bill to safeguard the mental health of all citizens.

Recognition by Americans for Democratic Action

Recently I was informed that Americans for Democratic Action, the veteran progressive political and policy advocacy organization, will be honoring me with the Winn Newman Lifetime Achievement Award at its annual banquet on September 16, in Washington D.C. The award recognizes my work in support of the workplace anti-bullying movement and other workers’ rights initiatives.

I’ll be sharing honors that night with U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and U.S. Representative Rosa Delauro, two outstanding members of Congress. I’ll have a few minutes to offer remarks, during which I’ll definitely be talking about the Healthy Workplace Bill and our ongoing efforts to prevent and stop bullying at work.

I served on ADA’s national board for many years and served as its chair for a term. I am very grateful for this honor and look forward to the banquet.

(For a personal story about meeting one of my intellectual heroes, ADA co-founder John Kenneth Galbraith, go here.)

4 responses

  1. Congratulations on the great progress and on the lifetime achievement award!


  2. Congrats on being recognized for the work you’ve done re: workplace bullying. Moreover, thank you for doing the work in the first place. You’ll probably never know how much your writings ahave helped people who have found themselves in very difficult situations. Your blog wasn’t around until years after I had my major experience with work abuse. But at the time, I did find people who had been through similar experiences. They made such a difference in my being able to wrap my head around what happened.

    I don’t think I’ve read (in your blog) that you’ve been a target of abuse, Mr. Yamada, but nonetheless, your writing shows you’ve listened – carefully – to those who have. That alone deserves much appreciation. Thank you.

    • Thank you for the kind words, DR, I hope that this blog has been useful to those experiencing bullying and similar behaviors at work.

      It so happens that my original interests in workplace bullying were prompted by what I experienced and observed as a junior faculty member many years ago. However, it’s neither prudent nor appropriate for me to discuss here matters of years past that relate to my current place of employment. I also have a close friend who endured one of the very worst campaigns of work abuse that I’ve ever witnessed or become aware of, and her experience taught me a lot about the outer limits of how extreme these behaviors can be.

      My situation is not unique. I’d guess that many, if not most, of the early generation of researchers and advocates have an intuitive understanding of bullying and related behaviors grounded in something more than data and studies.

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