Early in the 2013 legislative season, there are 7 bills active in five states.
New Hampshire – HB 591 – The New Hampshire State Page
New Mexico (new state) – HB 234 – The New Mexico State Page
Florida (new state) – SB 308 & HB 149 – The Florida State Page
Vermont – S 34 – The Vermont State Page
New Jersey (carryover from 2012) – S 333 / A 3249
On Oct 15, at the National Press Club in Washington DC, Union leaders (Mary Kay Henry, Int’l President, SEIU & David Holway, National President, NAGE) and the NAACP (Hilary Shelton, Sr. VP) declared their organizations’ support for the Healthy Workplace Bill and the WBI-led workplace bullying movement. There are 9 videos to watch. Follow this link to the complete playlist at the WBI YouTube site.
In addition, three HWB State Coordinators also presented. Watch their videos on their respective State pages:
The New York Healthy Workplace Advocates (NYHWA.ORG) will be holding two October 2012 events in Albany, New York.
October 24, 2012 – The film, Murder By Proxy: How America Went Postal (2010 Documentary, 74 mins.) will be shown at the First Unitarian-Universalist Society of Albany, 405 Washington Avenue, Albany, New York 12206 on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:45 p.m.) .
The film screening will be followed by a panel discussion, led by the New York Healthy Workplace Advocates (NYHWA.ORG), about the film, the effects of workplace harassment on workers and employers, and the current efforts that are being made in NYS to pass legislation to address workplace bullying. Suggested donation $5.00. Contact NYHWA for more information at email@example.com
October 25, 2012 – The New York Healthy Workplace Advocates (NYHWA.ORG) will provide a one hour breakout session seminar titled, “Murder By Proxy: How America Went Postal,” as part of the Sage Colleges 13th Annual Northeast United States Conference on Character Education. Conference registration is required to participate in this event. Details available at http://www.sage.edu/centers/charactered/events/conference
To commemorate Freedom From Workplace Bullies Week, presidents of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and National Association of Government Employees (NAGE) spoke in favor of legislation targeting workplace bullying. During the press conference sponsored by the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), WBI Director Gary Namie called for unions to support the Healthy Workplace Bill (HWB), a measure that has been introduced in 21 states since 2003, according to the organization.
Among other things, the HWB would define and make unlawful an “abusive work environment,” and create a cause of action for “health harming cruelty at work.” Workplace bullying would be grounds for termination or other adverse employment actions. Aggrieved employees would be permitted to hold both the employer and the bully accountable, and would be entitled to seek backpay, benefits, compensation for emotional distress, and punitive damages, among other remedies. Under the terms of the bill, employers would be required to take preventative measures to avert bullying.
These initiatives are all pending at the state level. Notably, the WBI claims that state lawmakers in Massachusetts and New York have been relatively receptive to measures introduced in those jurisdictions. At this time, however, there is no indication that legislation will be introduced at the federal level, although the WBI claims that “negotiations are underway to hold an informational Congressional hearing on the topic to raise awareness among congressional legislators.” It is likely that unions will attempt to include anti-bullying clauses in collective bargaining agreements before such terms are passed as legislation at either the state or federal level.
October 14, 2012
Staff Reporter- The Herald-Star
STEUBENVILLE – Area communities are marking “Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week” with proclamations reflecting the need to protect men and women from abusive work environments.
City councilmembers in Steubenville, Toronto and Weirton have all issued proclamations in honor or Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week, which runs today through Saturday.
Mayors in all three communities point to the need to promote the social and economic well-being of all employees and citizens, noting that individual well-being “depends upon the existence of healthy and productive employees working in safe and abuse-free environments.” They cite studies and surveys that “have documented the stress-related health consequences for individuals caused by exposure to abusive work environments,” and said protections should apply across the board, regardless of race, color, gender, ethnicity, age or disability.
John Smurda, state coordinator for the effort to get a healthy workplace bill passed in Ohio, said bullying is defined as “a systematic campaign of interpersonal destruction that jeopardizes your health, your career and your job.”