Another successful hearing to push anti-workplace bullying legislation in Massachusetts

On Tuesday, I joined with other supporters of the Healthy Workplace Bill (HWB) to testify on its behalf at a hearing before the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development of the Massachusetts legislature, held at the State House in Boston. Getting a favorable decision out of the Committee is the first critical step toward […]

via MA State House hearing for Healthy Workplace Bill — Minding the Workplace

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

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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.

Musician whose work was on VH1 produces song about workplace bullying

Cheryl

Her music has aired on VH1, Oxygen, and Bravo, to name a few, and now she’s helping make workplace bullying illegal in Massachusetts. Musician Cheryl “Shellee Shae” Williams produced, wrote, and performed “Standing Ovation” to speak out against workplace bullies, including those who targeted and mobbed her while working in a career within law enforcement.

“Music helps us heal,” says Williams, who lives in the Boston area and works in television, film, and radio. “I enjoy writing songs about real life issues to help people overcome obstacles.”

Williams got involved with the anti-workplace bullying movement when a Facebook post calling for action to make workplace bullying illegal led her down an inspirational path. “I clicked on Neal Dias’ story, which touched my heart, and a story about huge photos on display at the Massachusetts State House of people like me who’d been bullied at work, fighting for change. At that moment, I knew I wanted to get involved,” explains Williams.

“I hope my music brings comfort, healing, peace, joy, and love to targets,” says Williams. “I want targets to know they’re not alone.”

Hear Williams’ “Standing Ovation” »

We’ll walk & roll out workplace bullying in the First Anti-Bullying Walk & Roll-A-Thon on June 3

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Boston will walk and roll out bullying on Saturday, June 3. And we’ll show our solidarity against workplace bullying by wearing these black shirts, which you can buy before the event.

It’s Boston’s first Anti-Bullying Walk & Roll-A-Thon, and supporters of ending bullying in all forms will hit the streets to say enough is enough. Funds raised will go toward:

  • 2Fruits Productions Youth Mentoring Program, designed for “at risk” youth to develop skills. Donations will fund laptops, production supplies (cameras, mics, tapes, and lighting), educational textbooks, music and art education programs, physical education sessions, facilitators, and more.
  • XMEN Scholarship Fund, which provides college scholarships to high school seniors every year.
  • BlackberryRadio.com, our sole sponsor and an advocate for women’s rights. Funds will help the station run.

You can volunteer your time and/or money. Total family involvement builds awareness, and we ask each participant to raise $92.85, with a total goal of $13,000. The three children who reach more than their target goal will receive prizes.

Volunteer time or money.

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.

We have a new bill number to end workplace bullying

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We have a new bill number: Senate Bill 1013. We’ve updated all of our marketing materials, and you can now pass out flyers with the new bill number on them to spread the word about the anti-workplace bullying Healthy Workplace Bill:

Download the flyer.
Continue to write your legislators about the bill, now Senate Bill 1013.

Spread the word!

Help make an anti-bullying walk happen to build awareness

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Advocate Shakeena Appleberry will bring attention to bullying. She’s spearheading Boston’s First Annual Bullying Walk & Roll-A-Thon, to be held in Boston on June 3.

Shakeena seeks volunteers to help with such areas as:

  • Concessions
  • Course helpers
  • Entertainment
  • Photography
  • Publicity
  • Registration
  • T-shirts

If you can lend a hand, sign up to volunteer. It will be a great event to bring focus to bullying.