For the first time since the Harvey Weinstein scandal became public, a major publication made the connection between sexual harassment and workplace bullying, even noting the workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill and its author David Yamada.
This article’s a big deal.
In today’s LA Times article “To end sexual harassment on the job, end workplace bullying,” Reporter David Lieberman says:
Legislators can do more to address the problem. They can make workplace bullying illegal. Too many corporate leaders find it expedient to look the other way when bosses — especially ones they deem indispensable — systematically intimidate and humiliate underlings. Bullies who believe that their whims matter more than other people’s dignity often don’t see why their sexual impulses shouldn’t be just as indulged.
Abused employees would be able to go to court if states or Congress adopted laws like the Healthy Workplace Bill, proposed by Suffolk University Law School professor David Yamada. He found that U.S. courts rarely sided with victims of bullying who sought relief under employment laws that already prohibit “intentional infliction of emotional distress.” Taking a page from the standards for a hostile work environment established under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Healthy Workplace Bill would empower employees to sue companies for actions that “a reasonable person would find abusive, based on the severity, nature or frequency of the conduct.”
The timing couldn’t be better. With just eight months left in the two-year legislative session in Massachusetts, meaning we’ve already reached the halfway point, the bill is stuck in the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development led by Rep. Paul Brodeur. Retailers and business organizations have voiced their opposition. We need a stronger voice. We need a big push to legislators asking them to ask Rep. Brodeur to move the bill, Senate Bill 1013, an act regarding workplace bullying and mobbing without regard to protected class, favorably out of committee.