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):
- 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:
- In one sentence, open with who you are, where you worked, and what you did for work.
- 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).
- In one paragraph, describe how your employer reacted (or didn’t react). Did they ignore you? Retaliate?
- 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?
- 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.
- Email your legislators. Use this easy tool to send your letter. Follow the instructions and copy and paste it into the fourth tab.
- 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.
- 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.
With less than half of the two-year legislative session left (we say two years, but it really ends over the summer), we’re pulling out all the stops to move the workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill, Senate Bill 1013, forward. Here’s how you can help:
- Meet with legislators. Rep. Paul Brodeur co-heads up the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. Call his office at 617-722-2013 this week, ask to speak with Rachel on his committee staff, and schedule a meet with Rep. Brodeur to meet with him to let him know why you want this bill to pass.
- Post on Facebook walls. In the last two weeks alone, we’ve generated support from 12 legislators who didn’t have this bill on their radars. If you’re on Facebook, ask these legislators on their Facebook walls if they support this bill. Then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a screenshot of their responses.
- Make phone calls. Our phone calling campaign is well underway. We’re calling people most likely to identify themselves as workplace bullying targets in the most progressive towns in Massachusetts where we don’t already have legislative support. We have data and scripts — we just need your help. It’s easy and flexible. Email us at email@example.com to help.
- Research email addresses. We’re writing to K-12 teachers and college staff members about the bill. If you’re good with Excel and can research info, we’d love your help. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to help.
Help make history by making Massachusetts the first state to make workplace bullying illegal for all workers.
It’s the beginning of the two-year legislative session, so within the next two weeks, we’ll introduce the anti-workplace bullying Healthy Workplace Bill in the State House again. Every session, we start from the beginning of the process but with more backing in the State House each session. Here’s how the process works:
- We’ll get a docket number.
- We’ll have a week to flood our state legislators (reps and senators) with requests to contact the lead sponsors to sign onto that docket number. Data shows that calling your legislators versus emailing them is the most effective way to get them to sign onto the bill since emails often just sit in an inbox. Once we have a docket number, we’ll send out information that will make it incredibly easy for you to do both. Look out for it on or around Monday, January 23rd.
- We’ll update you during the week of January 23-27 with who’s on board and who needs a nudge so you can ask colleagues, friends, and family to join in. We’ll try to beat our numbers last session, when we got 58 sponsors on board. That’s nearly one third of the entire State Legislature, growing from 39 sponsors the previous session and 13 the one before that.
- We’ll have a brand-new bill number to promote the bill with.
What to remember about this legislative session
If you’re exhausted by how long it’s taking to pass this bill, we get it. But don’t be. It’s a typical timeframe to pass a bill at the state level, and we’ve just about reached that point when bills gain enough momentum to pass. It’s how school bullying legislation passed, and it can happen with workplace bullying legislation, too. But there’s more:
We’re taking advantage of the national political climate to get in front of political activists who can help us build momentum even faster. There are more political rallies going on now than in my lifetime. And they’re full of people who want to create change —and know they have the power to do it. Help us reach out to them by sign holding at a major Boston event in the next week so we can get as many people as possible to contact their legislators to sponsor the bill.
We’re fine-tuning strategy in the State House. We’re getting a new House lead sponsor to replace our champion, retired Rep. Ellen Story. And we’re figuring out the best path for the bill to go through to pass this session.
We have the ears of the media. We’re working on some major media breakthroughs involving the workplace bullying connection with suicide that we hope will put some urgency behind this bill. This story has the potential to be huge. We’ll keep you looped in.
It’s a long process, but we’re not backing down.
No one deserves to go through what we went through. Help us be the voice for those who are suffering and still healing.
Make history by helping create the biggest anti-workplace bullying campaign known to man. We’re getting ready for a gigantic push this fall with the end goal of passing historic anti-workplace bullying legislation in Massachusetts next session. Join us for the Workplace Bullying Advocacy Planning Meeting to add your own event to the list. Ideas include:
- Art displays
- Flash mob at high profile location in Boston
- Live Facebook talks
- Organizing groups of people to go to the State House
- Research of suicide stories
- Road races wearing “end workplace bullying” t-shirts
- Social media campaigns using design, photography, or video
If you can’t make it to the meeting but have an advocacy effort you’d like to plan, email us at email@example.com. (Or just plan it and let us know about it so we can help spread the word.)
Shannon Green, in a piece for Corporate Counsel (link here), explains how the possible enactment of the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill is having an impact on lawyers representing employers. In essence, these lawyers are seeing more bullying-related claims from employees, and they’re training their clients to develop workplace bullying policies and other measures in anticipation of the Healthy Workplace Bill becoming law.
Here’s a sampling from the article:
No state has yet to pass legislation defining a cause of action, but according to experts, claims of workplace abuse are nonetheless on the rise. Their advice to employers: the time to train your workforce is now.
Legislation is currently pending in New Jersey, and 21 states have proposed laws on workplace bullying since 2003. The Workplace Bullying Institute advocates state passage of the Healthy Workplace Bill . . ., drafted by Suffolk University Law School professor David Yamada.
Practitioners are using…
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