Tagged: action

The best next step you can take for making workplace bullying illegal in Massachusetts

JumpingOverHurdle

Many of you have expressed that you’ve called your legislators before asking for co-sponsorship in January or in the last few months, you’ve called the heads of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, Senator Jason Lewis and Rep. Paul Brodeur. Thank you for your action.

We need you to act again, but in a different way.

The committee heads need to know that your OWN legislators support them moving the workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill, Senate Bill 1013, forward. And with only eight months left in the legislative session, they need to know soon that our collective voices are louder than business opposition before time runs out to complete the rest of the steps to turn this bill into law. We need as many voices as possible IN THE NEXT TWO WEEKS to send a clear message to our state legislators that workplace bullying destroys lives — and we want change.

Our legislators’ voices have the most impact on the committee heads. And our voices have the most impact on our own legislators because they want our votes in the next election. Legislative aides told us if we can even get 3-4 advocates to meet with their legislators, sharing their personal workplace bullying stories and urging their legislators to write to Rep. Brodeur asking him to move the bill forward, that might be all we need to move the bill to the next step: the Senate.

So here’s what you can do to help move this bill forward at this stage:

  1. Call your State Rep and State Senator to setup a meeting to discuss the bill, now Senate Bill 1013, an act relative to workplace bullying and mobbing without regard to protected class. You may be able to meet with them in local office hours. (If they ask you to leave a message with someone to schedule the meeting and you don’t hear back, call again tomorrow. Keep calling back daily until you get an appointment.)
  2. Draft your story in one page before the meeting (instructions are below).
  3. Print out your story and these two facts sheets: bill overview and myths about the bill.
  4. Email your story to your legislator the day before your meeting.
  5. Meet with your legislator, specifically asking him or her to write to Rep. Brodeur asking him to move the bill favorably out of committee. Ask your legislator to cc you on the email he or she sends to Rep. Brodeur or to forward you a copy afterwards.

How to draft your story:
Stick to the facts and keep it brief. Write up a one-page summary of what happened to you or someone you know:

  1. In one sentence, open with who you are, where you worked, and what you did for work.
  2. In one paragraph, paint a picture of your experience using facts (briefly describing how you felt as professionally as possible while still using emotional detail).
  3. In one paragraph, describe how your employer reacted (or didn’t react). Did they ignore you? Retaliate?
  4. In one paragraph, describe the toll your experience took on you, especially your physical and financial health. Did you experience anxiety, loss of sleep, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder? How much did you lose in therapy costs, medication costs? Did your experience cost you a marriage, a home loss, high medical expenses, legal expenses?
  5. In one paragraph, describe how the experience left an impact on the organization. Roughly how many sick days did you need to take? Emphasize that costs are also associated with hiring and training a replacement employee.
If you absolutely cannot take time off work to meet with your legislators, you can still help:
  1. Email your legislators. Use this easy tool to send your letter.
  2. Call your legislator’s office to make sure they received your email. This step is important. Legislators receive so many emails, and many get buried in their email boxes. Call to make sure they received it and ask them again to ask the legislator that you request he or she write a letter to Rep. Paul Brodeur asking for Senate Bill 1013 to move forward.
  3. Repeat the process for the second legislator.

We thank you again for your work on making employee rights a priority in Massachusetts. Please forward this message to others who may have experienced workplace bullying or who know your story and can tell it from a witness standpoint in support of the bill.

Learn about what workplace bullying is »
Like us on Facebook »

Advertisements

Urgent: hold employers accountable for bullying employees

OrangeGoal

With only eight months left in the two-year legislative session and more retailers and business organizations opposing the workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill, Senate Bill 1013 (an act against workplace bullying and mobbing), we need to act quickly.

Your action is vital to progress the bill. Here’s how it works: Legislators want to act based on what their own constituents want so they can get re-elected and keep working for you. Telling them what you want and their taking action matters for both your empowerment and your future vote. And the more of us who contact our legislators asking them to write to Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development Paul Brodeur, the more urgency the committee will feel to move the bill to the Senate. We need as many people as possible to make this urgency happen.

We thank those who’ve setup meetings with your state legislators to tell them your personal stories and ask them to ask Rep. Paul Brodeur to move the bill out of committee. (If you haven’t yet, you can do so by calling your State Rep and State Senator. Bring your story with you on one page — see guidance below.) It’s by far the most effective way to push the bill forward. If you can’t meet with your legislators, you can still help.

Another way you can help

What legislators need is our stories and to write letters to Rep. Paul Brodeur to ask him to move the bill to the Senate with your stories attached. If you absolutely cannot meet with your legislators, even in local office hours, we ask you to write to them and followup call (you can use this template to bring your story with you to their office hours and email to your legislator beforehand, too):

  1. Draft your story. Stick to the facts and keep it brief. Write up a one-page summary of what happened to you or someone you know:
    1. In one sentence, open with who you are, where you worked, and what you did for work.
    2. In one paragraph, paint a picture of your experience using facts (briefly describing how you felt as professionally as possible while still using emotional detail).
    3. In one paragraph, describe how your employer reacted (or didn’t react). Did they ignore you? Retaliate?
    4. In one paragraph, describe the toll your experience took on you, especially your physical and financial health. Did you experience anxiety, loss of sleep, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder? How much did you lose in therapy costs, medication costs? Did your experience cost you a marriage, a home loss, high medical expenses, legal expenses?
    5. In one paragraph, describe how the experience left an impact on the organization. Roughly how many sick days did you need to take? Emphasize that costs are also associated with hiring and training a replacement employee.
  2. Email your legislators. Use this easy tool to send your letter. Follow the instructions and copy and paste it into the fourth tab.
  3. Call your legislator’s office to make sure they received your email. This step is important. Legislators receive so many emails, and many get buried in their email boxes. Call to make sure they received it and ask them again to ask the legislator that you request he or she write a letter to Rep. Paul Brodeur asking for Senate Bill 1013 to move forward.
  4. Repeat the process for the second legislator.

You may also use the first tab of the easy tool to draft your story and send it off. (We ask you to still followup call.)

We thank you again for your work on making employee rights a priority in Massachusetts. Please forward this message to others who may have experienced workplace bullying.

Learn about what workplace bullying is »
Like us on Facebook »

How advocates are progressing the anti-workplace bullying movement — and what we’re working on next

Young businesswoman putting adhesive notes on glass wall in office

Last night, we met at the Boston Public Market to talk about strategy to pass the anti-workplace bullying Healthy Workplace Bill and to share what each of us are contributing to build awareness about what workplace bullying is. We talked about how school bullying legislation took years to pass and only became urgent after a school bullying suicide, so we’re investigating workplace bullying suicides. We talked about also researching homicides from workplace bullying.

Here’s what advocates are up to:

  • An advocate has attended rallies and other events like Town Hall events and took photos to share on social media.
  • An advocate wrote, produced, and sang a song about workplace bullying. She’s working on a play and video, too.
  • An advocate will take information about the bill back to his union.
  • An advocate presents about workplace bullying at career centers and adult education centers around Boston and will share his booklet so others can do the same in other parts of the Commonwealth if they’re interested.

As two advocates drive two hours to attend the meeting, we talked about having meetings across the Commonwealth on a monthly basis. So we’re looking for:

  • An advocate in each area (Boston (on the MBTA), North Shore, South Shore/Cape Cod, Southcoast, Central Massachusetts, and Western Massachusetts) to conduct monthly meetings and find a free location for these meetings.
  • Go around the room to ask people what they’ve either been working on or can commit to working on. Support and encourage them. Our experience has been that most ideas in brainstorming sessions don’t get acted upon, so the value in these meetings is helping those who are taking action, offering connections/building on actions, and inspiring those who may be there to listen to take action.
  • Take notes and share actions with us so we can spread the word and make statewide connections.

If you’d like to lead a monthly meeting in one of these six Massachusetts regions, email us at info@mahealthyworkplace.com with dates, times, and locations, and we’ll create Facebook events to get the word out.

Thanks in advance for your help in spreading the word.

Help end workplace bullying at two Boston events in the next week

Woman yelling into a bullhorn on an urban street

The national political scene is causing quite a stir right now. Citizens across the nation are flexing their political muscles to uphold their values. There are two key Boston events in the next week alone where an anti-workplace bullying presence through sign holding would do wonders for our cause. And you have the power to take simple action:

Elizabeth Warren’s Health Care Rally

Sunday, January 15, 12-3pm
Faneuil Hall, Boston

What better place to talk about healthy workplaces than a health care rally full of legislators in Boston? All you need is you and a poster that says “end workplace bullying” or a similar phrase.
Sign up to join us.

Boston Women’s March

Saturday, January 21, 11am-3pm
Boston Common
Eighty percent of workplace bullying targets are women. Help us sign hold in front of more than 22,000 female political activists to get the word out about workplace bullying. It’s as simple as grabbing a poster and a marker and showing up.
Sign up to join us.

No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. You can make a difference in passing this bill.

What we learned from the election about bullying

FlagWaving

The world changed on November 9. Regardless of how you voted, we can likely all agree on a few takeaways from the election that will help us further anti-workplace bullying legislation:

  • The ideas of dignity and respect now have the nation’s attention. The election put bullying in the national spotlight and made bullying tactics crystal clear — during the debates, in speeches, and on social media.
  • So does narcissism. We saw what narcissism, the root of workplace bullying, looks like: lack of accountability, belittling, and lack of empathy. Yet empathy is vital in addressing differences and collaborating.
  • People are ready to act now more than ever. Those against the election results realize they need to act to preserve social progress and demand the culture we fought to live in. A friend said “don’t give up. Never give up. Be kind to each other, look out for one another, for those struggling. Don’t tolerate hate in your community. Now more than ever. Become a more active supporter of causes important to you. Sign petitions, donate money, volunteer time, contact representatives. As Patti Smith said, people have the power.”

What we can do to keep the dignity and respect conversation going

  • Use #empathyalwayswins in all of your election postings. Let people know you demand empathy, not narcissism, in our culture.
  • Hold signs. No matter where you live, buy some posterboard and a marker and hold signs in your area against workplace bullying. People are paying attention to the dialogue right now.
  • Demand that all conversations about the election be respectful and promoting dignity. Keep conversations focused on dignity and what happens without it.
  • Call (more than email) your legislators about workplace bullying and other issues important to you. We have insight that legislators get inundated with emails. But they ignore a phone call.

We can pass anti-workplace bullying legislation. And we will.

Get inspired to act to end workplace bullying

Young businesswoman putting adhesive notes on glass wall in office

Join us EVERY THURSDAY at 10am EST starting on October 6 for a check-in on what’s working and what’s not working with building awareness about workplace bullying. Our focus is on actions in New England states, but anyone is welcome to call in for inspiration and to give updates to inspire others.

It’s all about collaboration, communication, support, and action.

Call into 515-739-1020, access code 335720.

EEOC calls for urgent action after roughly 30,000 charges in 2015 included allegations of workplace harassment

Woman yelling into a bullhorn on an urban street

In June 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) called for a “reboot of workplace harassment efforts” after approximately 30,000 charges filed with the EEOC in 2015 included allegations of workplace harassment.

A task force presented the Report of the Co-Chairs of the EEOC Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace. “We present this report with a firm, and confirmed, belief that too many people in too many workplaces find themselves in unacceptably harassing situations when they are simply trying to do their jobs,” says the EEOC website.

The urgent need is clear: workers are suffering from unwelcome harassment, and the EEOC finally and formally recognizes this problem. The time to “shift cultures towards more respect and fair treatment for all employees” is now.

The task force finds that:

Workplace Harassment Remains a Persistent Problem. Almost fully one third of the approximately 90,000 charges received by EEOC in fiscal year 2015 included an allegation of workplace harassment. This includes, among other things, charges of unlawful harassment on the basis of sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy), race, disability, age, ethnicity/national origin, color, and religion. While there is robust data and academic literature on sex-based harassment, there is very limited data regarding harassment on other protected bases. More research is needed.

Workplace Harassment Too Often Goes Unreported. Common workplace-based responses by those who experience sex-based harassment are to avoid the harasser, deny or downplay the gravity of the situation, or attempt to ignore, forget, or endure the behavior. The least common response to harassment is to take some formal action – either to report the harassment internally or file a formal legal complaint. Roughly three out of four individuals who experienced harassment never even talked to a supervisor, manager, or union representative about the harassing conduct. Employees who experience harassment fail to report the harassing behavior or to file a complaint because they fear disbelief of their claim, inaction on their claim, blame, or social or professional retaliation.

There Is a Compelling Business Case for Stopping and Preventing Harassment. When employers consider the costs of workplace harassment, they often focus on legal costs, and with good reason. Last year, EEOC alone recovered $164.5 million for workers alleging harassment – and these direct costs are just the tip of the iceberg. Workplace harassment first and foremost comes at a steep cost to those who suffer it, as they experience mental, physical, and economic harm. Beyond that, workplace harassment affects all workers, and its true cost includes decreased productivity, increased turnover, and reputational harm. All of this is a drag on performance – and the bottom-line.

It Starts at the Top – Leadership and Accountability Are Critical. Workplace culture has the greatest impact on allowing harassment to flourish, or conversely, in preventing harassment. The importance of leadership cannot be overstated – effective harassment prevention efforts, and workplace culture in which harassment is not tolerated, must start with and involve the highest level of management of the company. But a commitment (even from the top) to a diverse, inclusive, and respectful workplace is not enough. Rather, at all levels, across all positions, an organization must have systems in place that hold employees accountable for this expectation. Accountability systems must ensure that those who engage in harassment are held responsible in a meaningful, appropriate, and proportional manner, and that those whose job it is to prevent or respond to harassment should be rewarded for doing that job well (or penalized for failing to do so). Finally, leadership means ensuring that anti-harassment efforts are given the necessary time and resources to be effective.

Read a synopsis of the Task Force findings from SCORE in the article “Workplace harassment training more urgently needed than ever, says EEOC Task Force.”