While we don’t yet have a scheduled date for the hearing yet, the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development will hear our testimony in support of Senate Bill 1072 (the Healthy Workplace Bill) at the Massachusetts State House sometime in the next couple months. You are invited to attend the hearing, to ask others to help fill the room, and even testify to show support.
At the hearing, legislators listen to testimony about several bills. In previous sessions, legislators waited until the end of the hours-long hearings to listen to testimony from our advocates. We encourage you to speak at the end on behalf of the bill.
We’ll let you know as soon as we know the date of the hearing.
Dos and don’ts of speaking at the hearing
DO speak about your experience. Speak from the heart about how workplace abuse 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 abuse 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:
- Accountability, not just training, is what will change behavior.
- There will be a high threshold for recovery.
- The bill is based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s definition of a hostile work environment for sexual harassment.
- The bill enters the picture only when the bullying behaviors have become severe and harmful.
- Employers can minimize their liability exposure by acting preventively and responsively toward bullying.
- The bill focuses on addressing the bullying behavior, not killing jobs.
- 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:
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 16,000.
Help become part of history by showing your support and helping to fill the room that day.