We have a hearing date to make workplace bullying illegal in Massachusetts

State House

We have a hearing date. The Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development will hear our testimony in support of Senate Bill 1013 (the Healthy Workplace Bill) next Tuesday, April 4, at 1pm in Room A2 of the Massachusetts State House.
You are invited to attend and even testify to show support. 

We hope to fill the room with advocates to show support for the Healthy Workplace Bill.

At the hearing, legislators listen to testimony about several bills. Last session, legislators waited until the end of the hours-long hearing to listen to testimony from our advocates. We encourage you to speak at the end on behalf of the bill.

Dos and don’ts of speaking at the hearing

DO speak about your experience. Speak from the heart about how workplace bullying affected you, especially how it harmed your health and affected your personal relationships. Remember that legislators want to hear from you.

DO keep your testimony to under two minutes. By the end of the hours-long hearing, legislators may be tired. The last thing we want to do is turn them off, so stick to the facts and to your own experience and keep it brief. It’s difficult to summarize months or years of bullying into two minutes, but it’s important to do so.

DO stick to our talking points. Refresh yourself on the main points we want to get across:

  1. Accountability, not just training, is what will change behavior.
  2. There will be a high threshold for recovery.
  3. The bill is based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s definition of a hostile work environment for sexual harassment.
  4. The bill enters the picture only when the bullying behaviors have become severe and harmful.
  5. Employers can minimize their liability exposure by acting preventively and responsively toward bullying.
  6. The bill focuses on addressing the bullying behavior, not killing jobs.
  7. Many workplace bullying targets already lose jobs, choosing their health over daily suffering.

DO visit your state rep and senator that day. Before or after the hearing, stop by your legislators’ offices and ask them to support the Healthy Workplace Bill. That’s one State Rep and one State Senator. Try to make an appointment with them beforehand. If you can only speak with an aide, do that. Aides will pass along information to legislators. The State House is hard to navigate, so write down the State House room numbers before that day, bring them with you, and don’t be afraid to ask someone how to get to those offices. Bring a copy of each of these fact sheets (two of each, one for each legislator) to leave with your legislators:
Fact sheet
Myths sheet

DO email these fact sheets to your legislators if you can’t make it that day. Your legislators want to hear from you.

DON’T mention bully’s names or workplaces — unless asked. The goal is to pass the law, not to out a boss or workplace.

DON’T feel like you have to testify to show support. If you’re not ready to speak under two minutes about your experience, don’t feel obligated to speak. You may not be ready, and that’s ok. Showing your support by attending is much appreciated whether or not you speak.

Remember that perseverance is key. Most bills take years to pass, and we’ve come a long way with just 20 advocates six years ago to now more than 5,000. Help become part of history by showing your support and helping to fill the room on Tuesday, April 4.

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One comment

  1. Mary Lou Conca

    The experience I endured sent me into a state of deep, dark depression. My workplace had been the one place I enjoyed most, next to my home. I shined when I taught mathematics, or read a story to the children in my small class. The students I tutored had been ‘diagnosed’ as speical needs. They were all on IEP’s or Individual Educational Plans. I loved my work, and still do, but my supervisor went on a hunt to make sure I would be pushed out of my job-perhaps because she envied my connection with the students and my ability to teach math with a greater success than she herself had been having with the same students. But it isn’t my place to rationalize her bullying, and abuse of me. She did horrible things-like write up poor evaluations leaving them in my mailbox fifteen minutes before the day’s end. She was never anywhere to be found to discuss why she was doing this or how she expected improvements. I now see she was doing this to build her case against me and to have me dismissed. I cried for days and days telling my loved ones I couldn’t figure out what was happening at work. I even parked my car in the cemetary one time, spending the work day there reading my book and pretending all was okay when I went to pick up my husband. I was tramautized. There would be days that would go by with no one speaking to me at work. I was left with a very, very difficult student with no support from this supervisor and then she wrote bad reports on me on how my work with him was not effective! She once had my desk placed in a classroom where I was to begin working in a new position (with the false impression of a raise) where I found a molded, black sandwich in the top drawer left there from when I was on leave. I felt like I was in an Alfred Hitchcock movie-or a scene from ‘What Ever Happened to Baby Jane.’ it was uneccessary, and cruel to do this to someone. Another time she implied to a very impressionable student that I did not believe in Jesus-though I do not know how she began that conversation except to say I distinctly recall her saying; “Those of us who do believe in Jesus.” with the undertone directed at me and dirty look, to indicate that I did not.

    I hope this bill passes!
    I will do anything in my power to help it along.
    Thank you so much.

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