Tagged: legislature

With workplace bullying in the Senate, it’s time for Massachusetts legislators to take a stand

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The Senate Committee on Ethics on Wednesday, May 2, 2018 released its report concerning Senator Stanley C. Rosenberg and concluded that Rosenberg had ample evidence of workplace harassment but failed to remedy it for those who depended on him: his own staff, his fellow Senators and their staff, and ultimately his constituents, Commonwealth employees, and the people of the Commonwealth. Had workplace bullying without regard to protected class been illegal, Senate staff could have had clear and safe recourse to protect themselves from Rosenberg’s negligence that emboldened his husband’s toxic behavior — leading ultimately to threats, racial comments, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and costs to taxpayers through a thorough investigation.

Given legal protections from workplace bullying, staff would have been able to seek help when Rosenberg:

  • Failed to uphold the IT policy he didn’t read by giving his husband, who exhibited bullying behavior, full access to his email account — and asking his staff to do the same even when they expressed discomfort.
  • Excused his husband’s bullying behavior as “mental health issues” once he was aware of the harassment and concerned about where it might lead.
  • Emboldened the bullying behavior by continuing to inform his husband of Senate matters despite his husband’s prior harassment of staff.

Workplace bullying occurs in workplace cultures where leadership at the top allows it to happen. Rosenberg supported a bully culture by:

  • Exempting himself from Senate policies.
  • Failing to protect staff by excusing unethical and dangerous behavior.
  • Continuing to give a known bully access to tools that furthered his bullying.
  • Failing to implement a workplace bullying policy and to empower Human Resource staff to uphold it.

Had workplace bullying been illegal, Rosenberg’s staff could have felt safe to do their jobs in a respectful and dignified work environment. They would have had a clear and safe path to report violations of a workplace bullying policy and would have likely prevented Rosenberg’s husband from escalating his abusive behavior.

Now that they know their own policies fail to create a workplace free from harassment and its destructive consequences, Senators can:

In the words of the Senate Committee on Ethics, when leaders have evidence and fail to act in support of those who depend on them, “the most obvious sanction for a failure of leadership would be the loss of the relevant leadership position.”

Respectful and dignified work environments start at the top.

#ItStartsWithUs

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Workplace anti-bullying legislation takes a step forward in Massachusetts

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We’ve recently received word that the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development gave the workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill, Senate Bill 1013, a favorable report. Since the bill is a Senate Bill this session, the bill moves to the Senate instead of the House, where it landed in past sessions.

Five months left

We only have five months remaining in this two-year session, which means that while we wait to see where in the Senate the bill lands, we encourage you to put the pressure on your State Senators only (once the bill moves to the House, we’ll put pressure on our State Reps again):

  1. Call your State Senator and ask whoever answers the phone for the email address of the scheduler so you can schedule a meeting with your State Senator. 
  2. Email the scheduler to setup a meeting either in local office hours or at the State House as soon as possible. This step is huge. Some of you have asked why we’re not doing more at the State House as a group. Well, the answer is simple: we’re all volunteers trying to push this bill outside of our full-time jobs and other responsibilities, and since our legislators care about getting their constituents’ votes in the next election, it’s most effective for us individually to meet with our own legislators one-on-one when it’s convenient for us. We’ve learned major insights from advocates after meetings with their legislators. Showing up as a group to legislators’ offices without an appointment simply isn’t as effective.
  3. Bring the flyers listed on this page with you to your meeting and summarize your workplace bullying story with your State Senator. Keep your State Senator armed with the facts, and ask him or her to put urgency on Senate leadership to bring the bill to a floor vote.
  4. Pass insights about their concerns onto us. Email us at info@mahealthyworkplace.com.

It’s up to each of us to make time to ensure protections for employees who will go through the torment at work we went through. We need your help to create a groundswell throughout every part of the Commonwealth to say STOP to bullying at work. For those who’ve met with your legislators, we thank you and ask you to nudge them again while the bill is on their turf.

THIS WEEK: Take action to help make  workplace bullying illegal in Massachusetts

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We have word that Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development Chairs Jason Lewis and Paul Brodeur are currently in intense conversation on the workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill and are optimistic of it moving onto next steps: the Senate. The chairs are still accepting written testimony on this bill this week. 

(The committee has until February 10 to make decisions on all bills put before them, so we’re asking you to act this week while they’re discussing the bill so there’s time for them to act.)

Who influences these two legislators the most?
Our state legislators’ voices.

Who influences our state legislators?
We do.

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 our voices have the most impact on our own legislators because they want our votes in the next election.

Senator Lewis and Rep. Brodeur also want to hear from us directly.

With only six months left in the two-year legislative session, they need to know THIS WEEK 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 THIS WEEK while they’re discussing the bill to send a clear message to our state legislators that workplace bullying destroys lives — and we want change.

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

  1. Call your State Rep AND State Senator to ask them to ask Senator Lewis and Rep. Brodeur to move forward the bill, now Senate Bill 1013, an act relative to workplace bullying and mobbing without regard to protected class.
  2. Draft your story in one page (see tips below).
  3. Email your story to your legislator using our easy tool or email. If you email, ask your legislator to cc you on the email he or she sends to Senator Lewis or Rep. Brodeur or to forward you a copy afterwards. Then forward that message to us at info@mahealthyworkplace.com so we know who supports the bill.
  4. Repeat the process for calling AND emailing for Senator Jason Lewis and Rep. Paul Brodeur.

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.

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 »
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PS – Did you see the bill in the news recently? It made:
The front page of the Boston Globe
The LA Times
Truthout

Why are we ignoring abuse of power that’s not sexual harassment?

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With the growing protest of sexual harassment in Hollywood, a lot of us are left wondering: why are we ignoring that when abuse of power isn’t of a sexual nature, countless competent and ambitious workers like Ann Curry get pushed out of their jobs? Why are only those in protected classes (gender, race/ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, age, sexual orientation, individuals with disabilities, and veteran status) accounted for under law when general workplace bullying is four times more common than sexual harassment? Why should someone choose between their health or a paycheck because their competence — rather than their protected class — threatens the power abuser?

While #metoo exposed that law can’t protect everyone when they’re forced to choose between speaking up or preserving their jobs, sexual harassment law certainly moved the needle on the norms of sexual abuse in the workplace. But when there are no laws to protect those suffering from verbal abuse, threatening, intimidating, or humiliating behaviors, and sabotage, CEOs have no accountability to pay attention to the health of their workplace cultures. So employees believe nothing will be done when they report abusive behavior, and rightfully so.

We all deserve protections from abuse at work, regardless of the form and who we are. “Otherwise, workplaces will continue to be used by narcissistic individuals as personal playgrounds for predatory actions, which can negatively impact individuals, organizations, companies, and societies,” says S. L. Young in his Huffington Post article “Harassment goes beyond sex, women, Hollywood, and politics.”

How do we do more to prevent abuse of power in the workplace? We demand change. The workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill is stuck in the State House, and we need your help to move it forward.

Urgent: hold employers accountable for bullying employees

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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 »

BREAKING NEWS: The Healthy Workplace Bill is at a Second Reading in the House

The Healthy Workplace Bill has moved onto a Second Reading in the House. Your emails, phone calls, and meetings with your reps made a huge impact in moving this bill forward.

Take Further Action

We encourage you to now call or email your State Rep AND State Senator to urge them to move the Healthy Workplace Bill, HB 1766, through the legislature. Find your State Rep and State Senator.We have opposition from the business side, who want to prevent liability for business owners. Email Letter 1 here to your legislators and add this attachment about myths to let your legislators know the facts about how much workplace bullying costs for businesses.

 

Thanks again for your hard work in getting this bill moved to the next step.Learn the steps we need to get the Heathy Workplace Bill passed.