Tagged: massachusetts

The latest on co-sponsors to end workplace bullying, with one week left to get them

Young businesswoman putting adhesive notes on glass wall in office

It’s day 5 of a 10-day window to obtain co-sponsors for the anti-workplace bullying Healthy Workplace Bill. Here’s who’s co-sponsored the bill so far:

Senator Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover)
Senator Thomas McGee (D-Lynn)
Rep. Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen)
Rep. Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead)
Rep. Louis Kafka (D-Stoughton)
Rep. Angelo Puppolo, Jr. (D-Springfield)
Rep. John Scibak (D-South Hadley)
Rep. Frank Smizik (D-Brookline)
Rep. RoseLee Vincent (D-Chelsea)

That’s nine sponsors. Last session, we had 58. So keep those calls and emails coming. We want to reach 70 co-sponsors by Friday, February 3.

What you can do

  1. Thank last session’s co-sponsors and ask them to sign on again. Email this list (we already removed current co-sponsors, retired legislators, and those who weren’t re-elected):

    Sonia.Chang-Diaz@masenate.gov, Sal.DiDomenico@masenate.gov, James.Eldridge@masenate.gov, Jason.Lewis@masenate.gov, Brian.Ashe@mahouse.gov, Bruce.Ayers@mahouse.gov, Ruth.Balser@mahouse.gov, Christine.Barber@mahouse.gov, Paul.Brodeur@mahouse.gov, Gailanne.Cariddi@mahouse.gov, brendan.crighton@mahouse.gov, Angelo.D’Emilia@mahouse.gov, Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov, Tricia.Farley-Bouvier@mahouse.gov, Ann-Margaret.Ferrante@mahouse.gov, Sean.Garballey@mahouse.gov, Denise.Garlick@mahouse.gov, Carlos.Gonzalez@mahouse.gov, Ken.Gordon@mahouse.gov, Patricia.Haddad@mahouse.gov, Jonathan.Hecht@mahouse.gov, Mary.Keefe@mahouse.gov, Kay.Khan@mahouse.gov, Peter.Kocot@mahouse.gov, Stephen.Kulik@mahouse.gov, Kevin.Kuros@mahouse.gov, John.Mahoney@mahouse.gov, Paul.Mark@mahouse.gov, Mathew.Muratore@mahouse.gov, Harold.Naughton@mahouse.gov, Alice.Peisch@mahouse.gov, Denise.Provost@mahouse.gov, Dave.Rogers@mahouse.gov, Byron.Rushing@mahouse.gov, Alan.Silvia@mahouse.gov, Todd.Smola@mahouse.gov, Aaron.Vega@mahouse.gov, David.Vieira@mahouse.gov, Chris.Walsh@mahouse.gov, Danielle.Gregoire@mahouse.gov, Russell.Holmes@mahouse.gov, Kevin.Honan@mahouse.gov, John.Lawn@mahouse.gov, Paul.McMurtry@mahouse.gov, James.O’Day@mahouse.gov, Theodore.Speliotis@mahouse.gov, Nick.Collins@mahouse.gov

  2. Call your State Rep AND State Senator. Calling is much more effective than emailing. Legislators can’t ignore phone calls but can ignore emails in their inboxes. We’ll make it incredibly easy:

    Text your zip code to (520) 200-2223. Within a few minutes, you’ll get a text back with your legislators’ phone numbers. Call the two bottom numbers and ask the person who answers to request that the Rep or Senator co-sponsor Senate Docket 768. It’s that simple!

    We’re in close contact with Senator Jennifer Flanagan’s office to find out who’s signed on and who we need to nudge, so the sooner you can make these calls, the more co-sponsors we can sign on to end workplace bullying in Massachusetts. Email this post onto your contacts so we can flood our legislators with phone calls.

  3. Email your State Rep AND State Senator. If you absolutely can’t call because you can’t get away from work during business hours or if you want to back up your phone call, email both of your legislators. We’ve made that process simple, too:

    Visit our easy tool to find your legislators and a form letter or write your own. The message will come from your email box.

If you don’t see both a Rep and a Senator in your text or you get a return email saying your message couldn’t go through, go to the Massachusetts Legislature website, find your State Rep’s and State Senator’s email addresses, and email them the old-fashioned way.

We have until Friday, February 3 to make urge our legislators to end workplace bullying, but the sooner you call or email, the more legislators we can ultimately reach.

There’s growing support for workplace bullying becoming illegal in Massachusetts


On our growing Facebook page, more than 1,000 people supported the idea of workplace bullying becoming illegal. Roughly 27 percent of workers — more than one million in Massachusetts — will experience workplace bullying during their work lives.

Workplace bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of targets by one or more perpetrators that takes one or more of the following forms:

  • Verbal abuse
  • Offensive conduct/behaviors (including nonverbal) which are threatening, humiliating, or intimidating
  • Work interference — sabotage — which prevents work from getting done.

Workplace bullying is often subtle. It is:

  • Driven by perpetrators’ need to control the targeted individual(s)
  • Initiated by bullies who choose targets, timing, place, and methods
  • Escalated to involve others who side with the bully, either voluntarily through coercion.
  • Undermining of legitimate business interests when bullies’ personal agendas take precedence over work itself
  • Domestic violence at work where the abuser is on the payroll.

A 2014 national survey by Zogby International and the Workplace Bullying Institute found that:

  • 27% of workers have experienced workplace bullying
  • 72% of employers who received complaints about workplace bullying either ignored the problem or made it worse
  • 56% of workplace bullies are supervisors

Bullies can be managers, supervisors, co-workers, or clients. The bully’s target is usually a capable, dedicated person. 80% of targets are women.

Common bullying behaviors

  • False accusations of mistakes and errors
  • Yelling, shouting, and screaming
  • Exclusion and “the silent treatment”
  • Withholding resources and information necessary to the job
  • Behind-the-back sabotage and defamation
  • Use of put-downs, insults, and excessively harsh criticism
  • Unreasonably heavy work demands
  • Spreading rumors and gossip
  • Making offensive jokes or comments, verbally or in writing
  • Discounting achievements and stealing credit for ideas or work
  • Disciplining or threatening job loss without reason
  • Taking away work or responsibility without cause
  • Blocking requests for training, leave or promotion
  • Pestering, spying, stalking, or tampering with personal belongings and equipment

What bullying is not

  • Enforcing workplace policies and procedures
  • Evaluating or measuring performance
  • Providing constructive feedback
  • Denying training or leave requests with good reason
  • Discussing disciplinary action in private
  • Dismissing, suspending, demoting, or reprimanding with just cause

Why bullies bully

  • Sideline someone they feel is a threat (the target)
  • Further their own agenda at the expense of others
  • Deny responsibility for their own behavior
  • Mask their lack of confidence and low self-esteem

Types of harm from which targets suffer

  • Stress disorders of all types, including anxiety
  • Shock, anger, frustration, and helplessness
  • Clinical depression or suicidal thoughts
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Loss of sleep
  • Loss of focus, confidence, morale, and productivity
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Stomach pain
  • Headaches
  • Impaired immune systems
  • Symptoms consistent with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Destructive impact on family and personal relationships

Why we think workplace bullying legislation will pass in Massachusetts in 2016


The anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill has made it to an historic level: the Third Reading in the House of Representatives. With half a year left in the legislative session, we’re hopeful that 2016 is our year to make workplace bullying illegal in Massachusetts.

Why we’re poised to pass the Healthy Workplace Bill in 2016

State House support. Nearly 1/3 of the entire State Legislature co-sponsors the Healthy Workplace Bill. Here’s how the numbers of legislative sponsors have grown since we first introduced the bill:
1 in the 2009-10 session
13 in the 2011-12 session
39 in the 2013-14 session
58 in the 2015-16 session

Organizational support. We have 16 organizational supporters, from the Massachusetts Teachers Association to longtime supporter SEIU NAGE Local 282, whose lobbyists have been instrumental in moving the bill forward. We’re currently working on a mailing to get Democratic and Republican Town Committees on board and spreading the word.

How we’ll pass the bill in 2016

We expect the Healthy Workplace Bill (H. 1771) to go to a floor vote in the House in January or February. So we need to keep the pressure on our State Reps to support the bill.

  1. Choose from one of two template letters to email to your rep and modify it or write your own letter asking your rep to support the Healthy Workplace Bill, H. 1771.
  2. Use this link to find your State Rep’s email address (listed as the “House” legislator).

Spread the word about the bill to family, friends, and colleagues so we can help combat workplace bullying.

Urgent legislative alert

Rep. Thomas Conroy has still not had HB1766 read out of committee. We understand that the deadline has now moved to March 19. Call your state rep (not senator) AND Rep. Thomas Conroy (617-722-2014) THIS WEEK:

1. Ask your state rep to support the Healthy Workplace Bill and to contact Rep. Thomas Conroy to have him read HB 1766 favorably out of committee.

2. POLITELY ask Rep. Thomas Conroy or ask his aide to ask him to move the bill out of committee with a favorable read.


12 ways to promote the Healthy Workplace Bill

1. Contact your state senator and/or representative and urge him/her to support Senate Bill Number 916 or House Bill Number 2310. Ask if they are willing to support the bill and if you can schedule a meeting with your senator or rep to explain your personal story. Report the response to info@mahealthyworkplace.comSince legislators want to hear directly from their constituents, the single most effective action you can take is to meet with your own legislators, tell them your story if you have one, and ask them to support the bill.
Find out who your legislators are »
Download the letter template »

2. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper describing why you support the Healthy Workplace Bill. Read an example »
If you need assistance and would like us to proofread your article, e-mail info@mahealthyworkplace.com.

3. Join a committee:
Public Awareness »
Health Care »
Higher Education »
K-12 Education »
Support Staff »

4. If you are a member of a group that might consider endorsing the Healthy Workplace Bill, reach out to the group about its possible support or if you’re a leader of a group that supports the bill, e-mail info@mahealthyworkplace.com.

5. Post a link to this slideshow on Facebook to educate others on the Healthy Workplace Bill: http://prezi.com/i1h9lcalopsx/healthy-workplace-bill/

6. Share your personal story on this website. E-mail info@mahealthyworkplace.com.

7. Sign the petition »

8. Pass around the Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Bill Fact Sheet or send this link to those who have experienced or witnessed workplace bullying.
Download Version #1 »
Download Version #2 »

9. Join the Facebook groupFacebook page, or follow us on Twitter for updates on the progress of this bill.

10. Write to employment lawyers, social workers, and psychologists about the Healthy Workplace Bill. Ask them to tell their clients about the bill. Download the letter template »

11. Sign up for the Massachusetts Workplace Bullying Law e-newsletter »

12. Share these photos on Facebook:
What is workplace bullying?
Work shouldn’t hurt
Organizations allow bullies to bully
How workplace bullies impact businesses
Top seven reasons to support the Healthy Workplace Bill
Bullying is domestic violence at work
Four times more common