Today is hearing day at the State House to make workplace bullying illegal

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Today’s the day! The Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development will hear our testimony in support of Senate Bill 1013 (the Healthy Workplace Bill) at 1pm in Room A2 of the Massachusetts State House. Keep in mind that the legislators may not get to our bill until late in the afternoon, even as late as 4 or 5pm.
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 8,000. Help become part of history by showing your support and helping to fill the room today.

Advertisements

2 comments

  1. Mary Lou Ferro

    Although I cannot make today’s hearing-my testimony on workplace bullying would convince any person(s) of the awful harm that must be stopped. I am hoping this law goes into effect sooner than later. Thank you for your efforts.

    ~Mary Lou Conca ________________________________________

  2. Bonnie Curran

    Thank you Professor for taking this issue head on your tireless efforts to get this much needed bill to pass. It is a real issue, bullying mobbing is prevalent in the workplace. I watched our State’s leaders march on the Boston Common after the last election and the common consensus was that our President Elect was a bully, yet our leaders have not abolished bullying/mobbing in the workplace allowing for this to penetrate our countries legislators as we see daily played out on the news. There are no laws to protect people who do not fall under a protected class i.e. if your over 55, a person of color, religious, etc. there certainly are no laws to protect the protected and non protected classes when it comes to firing these workers under the guise of other some other reason employers more often than not turn to mobbing or bullying a person to quit so they have no recourse or they set them to be fired under false pretenses by having their mobber’s offer false testimony and worse yet may bully other innocent people along the way. Most people join in because they do not want to be targeted/bullied/mobbed themselves, this is a fact. I myself was recently fired after nearly 14 years with a government agency and after 5 years of severe bullying that involved not only myself but also my clients. It is imperative that our State and/or our Federal Delegation pass this Bill into law immediately, it is not rocket science that if this is allowed to fester in Government which it clearly has in my case we will end up with workers so complacent that the only persons benefiting from our government and its programs will be criminals, political patrons, those with political clout or money. I want to add that last May I offered written testimony that ended up in the mailbox of my supervisor with a business card of a legislator who provided it, the same legislator that was denied benefits not available to others was it that reason or was it because he/she was trying to help or maybe he or she had another motive because after a few meetings between the legislator and my supervisor the fact that I was fired leads me to the latter.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s