While the workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill, Senate Bill 1013, is still in Senate Ways & Means, we can take these last two days of the legislative session — today and tomorrow — to drive home the point that workplace bullying ruins lives and businesses.
How you can help
Senator Karen Spilka has recently become Senate President, so call Senate Ways & Means Vice Chair Joan Lovely at 617-722-1410 and tell whoever answers the phone that you support Senate Bill 1013 regarding workplace bullying. Phone calls are disruptive, so the more calls we make, the more she’ll take notice.
The goal of these calls is to keep the bill on leaders’ radar for the next session.
We thank you for your continued support of this bill. The bill couldn’t have made it this far without your phone calls and understanding that this effort is long-term. Remember that most bills take several years to pass. This bill is no exception. We’ve spent the last several years building a base of support for this legislation, and we won’t stop building that base until this bill gets passed. In the next several days, we’ll reach out to you with our fall plans to take this campaign to the next level — and how you can help bring protections for thousands of workers who need our help.
We’re still waiting for Senator Karen Spilka to take action on much-needed workplace anti-bullying legislation. And there are only two weeks left in the legislative session. Meanwhile, workplace bullying is wreaking havoc on lives and businesses.
Workplace anti-bullying legislation is the furthest it’s gone in the Massachusetts Legislature, and the two-year legislative session ends July 31. We start over again in January if the bill does not pass. The bill, Senate Bill 1013, is now in Senate Ways & Means and needs to get to a floor vote ASAP.
The bill competes for attention with the budget and a role transition, so we need as many people as possible to call again to get attention in Senator Spilka’s office.
How you can help (in order of effectiveness)
Option 1: Meet with Senate Ways & Means Chair Karen Spilka by emailing her scheduler Rachel Lefsky at firstname.lastname@example.org. (If Rachel doesn’t get back to you, followup at 617-722-1640.) Ask Rachel if you can setup a meeting with Senator Spilka ASAP and let Senator Spilka know why you want workplace anti-bullying legislation to pass. Bring these fact sheets with you to the meeting:
Fact Sheet #1
Fact Sheet #2
Option 2: Even if you’ve called her before, call Senator Karen Spilka ASAP at 617-722-1640 and ask whoever answers the phone to urge Senator Spilka to move Senate Bill 1013 regarding workplace bullying to a floor vote. Phone calls are disruptive, so the more calls we make, the more she’ll take notice.
Option 3: Call your own legislator and ask whoever answers the phone if your legislator can write a letter to Senator Spilka or speak with her about moving the workplace anti-bullying Senate Bill 1013 to a floor vote ASAP.
If you can do two, three, or all options, even better.
And please spread the word. It will help save lives.
Want to spread the word? Forward this email or download the flyer.
Longtime Advocate Gail lost her son Jae on June 7 as a result of workplace bullying at a hospital on Cape Cod that included physical threats, assault, and false accusations. Though the abuse happened a few years ago, it followed Jae. Jae recently spoke with Gail about the abuse and how it affected his life. He worked in fear of being attacked again. “Jason was an incredible nurse. Any and all who had him as a nurse spoke with such respect and love about him. Despite the time that goes by, the emotional damage remains and continues to wreak havoc,” said Gail.
We need everyone’s voices to make sure what happened to Jae happens to NO ONE ELSE. Bullied workers are twice as likely to take their lives as non-bullied workers.
Workplace anti-bullying legislation is the furthest it’s gone in the Massachusetts Legislature, and the two-year legislative session ends July 31. We start over again in January if the bill does not pass, so now is the time to act. The bill, Senate Bill 1013, is now in Senate Ways & Means and needs to get to a floor vote ASAP.
Here’s how you can help
Call Senate Ways & Means Chair Karen Spilka ASAP — even if you’ve called her before — at 617-722-1640. Ask whoever answers the phone to urge Senator Spilka to move Senate Bill 1013 regarding workplace bullying to a floor vote.
And spread the word. For Jae.
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:
- Sign onto Senate Budget Amendment #23 to ensure respectful and dignified work environments for all workers in Massachusetts and
- Work with members of the House to pass the bill for the Governor’s signature.
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.
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):
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Pass insights about their concerns onto us. Email us at email@example.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.
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?
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:
- 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.
- Draft your story in one page (see tips below).
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org so we know who supports the bill.
- 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:
- 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.
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.
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.