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.
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 next summer’s legislative session end drawing near (roughly eight months left), it’s time to put pressure on our state legislators to take action on the workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill. Here’s what’s left in the process:
- The Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development reads the bill favorably out of committee.
- If approved, the bill moves to the House. State reps examine the bill for legality, constitutionality, and the duplication or contradiction of existing law. The bill then heads back to the House floor for debate and amendments.
- If approved, the bill moves onto the Engrossment Committee at the Third Reading.
- If approved, the Senate considers the bill through three readings and engrossment. If amended, the bill returns to the House for another vote. If the bill is rejected, three members of each branch draft a compromise bill.
- The bill gets enacted by the legislature.
- The bill gets signed by the governor. Ninety days after the governor’s signature, the bill becomes law.
That’s a lot of steps. And the bill’s been sitting with the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development since April.
We need your help
Imagine how state legislators might pay attention to the bill if many of us post on their walls in the window of a few days. Since legislators have been responsive to even one question about the bill on their Facebook walls (we’ve gained the support of nearly 10 of 152 legislators in the last two weeks alone using this method), we ask you to flood Facebook walls:
- Nudge the committee leaders to make this bill a priority. Post on the committee leaders’ Facebook walls, asking them if in light of workplace harassment in the news, they will make a priority to read the workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill, Senate Bill 1013, favorably out of committee.
Here are their Facebook accounts (and phone numbers if you’re not on Facebook):
Senator Jason Lewis (D-5th Middlesex) and 617-722-1206
Senator Patricia D. Jehlen (D-2nd Middlesex) and 617-722-1258
Rep. Paul Brodeur (D-Melrose) and 617-722-2013
Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier (D-Pittsfield): 617-722-2240
- Write on the Facebook walls of those state legislators who’ve not yet expressed support of the bill this session. If you feel even more ambitious, post on these state legislators’ Facebook walls, asking them if they support the workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill, Senate Bill 1013. Email us at email@example.com with responses (screenshots if possible).
Urge friends, family, and colleagues to do the same so we can get this bill passed this session.
Thanks so much for your help. This bill would not have progressed without you.
This session, these state legislators have not yet expressed official support for the workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill (Senate Bill 1013, supported by 90% of the population). If your State Rep and/or Senator is on this list (find them here), call them to see if they support the bill. If they do, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please share.
Rep. Aaron M. Michlewitz (D-North End, Boston)
Rep. Adrian Madaro (D-East Boston, Boston)
Rep. Alan Silvia (D-Fall River)
Rep. Angelo D’Emilia (R-Bridgewater)
Rep. Angelo Scaccia (D-Readville, Hyde Park, Boston)
Rep. Antonio Cabral (D-New Bedford)
Rep. Bradford Hill (R-Ipswich)
Rep. Bradley Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading)
Rep. Brian Murray (D-Milford)
Rep. Bud Williams (D-Springfield)
Rep. Carlos Gonzalez (D-Springfield)
Rep. Carmine Gentile (D-Sudbury)
Rep. Carole Fiola (D-Fall River)
Rep. Carolyn Dykema (D-Holliston)
Rep. Christine Barber (D-Somerville)
Rep. Christopher Markey (D-Dartmouth)
Rep. Chynah Tyler (D-Roxbury, Boston)
Rep. Colleen Garry (D-Dracut)
Rep. Cory Atkins (D-Concord)
Rep. Dan Cahill (D-Lynn)
Rep. Dan Cullinane (D-Dorchester, Boston)
Rep. Dan Ryan (D-Charlestown, Boston)
Rep. Daniel Hunt (D-Savin Hill, Dorchester, Boston)
Rep. Dave Rogers (D-Cambridge)
Rep. David DeCoste (R-Norwell)
Rep. David Linsky (D-Natick)
Rep. David Muradian (R-Grafton)
Rep. David Nangle (D-Lowell)
Rep. Denise Garlick (D-Needham)
Rep. Donald Wong (R-Saugus)
Rep. Edward F. Coppinger (D-West Roxbury, Boston)
Rep. Elizabeth Poirier (R-North Attleborough)
Rep. Evandro Carvalho (D-Uphams Corner, Dorchester, Boston)
Rep. F. Jay Barrows (R-Mansfield)
Rep. Frank A. Moran (D-Lawrence)
Rep. Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman)
Rep. Gerry Cassidy (D-Brockton)
Rep. Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury)
Rep. Harold Naughton, Jr. (D-Clinton)
Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis (D-Ashland)
Rep. James Cantwell (D-Marshfield)
Rep. James J. Dwyer (D-Woburn)
Rep. James J. Lyons, Jr. (R-Andover)
Rep. James Kelcourse (R-Amesbury)
Rep. James Miceli (D-Wilmington)
Rep. James Murphy (D-Weymouth)
Rep. Jay Livingstone (D-Back Bay, Boston)
Rep. Jay R. Kaufman (D-Lexington)
Rep. Jeffrey N. Roy (D-Franklin)
Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez (D-Jamaica Plain, Boston)
Rep. Jennifer Benson (D-Lunenburg)
Rep. Jerry Parisella (D-Beverly)
Rep. Joan Meschino (D-Hull)
Rep. Joe McGonagle (D-Everett)
Rep. John H. Rogers (D-Norwood)
Rep. John J. Lawn (D-Watertown)
Rep. Jose Tosado (D-Springfield)
Rep. Joseph D. McKenna (R-Webster)
Rep. Joseph Wagner (D-Chicopee)
Rep. Josh S. Cutler (D-Duxbury)
Rep. Juana Matias (D-Lawrence)
Rep. Kate Campanale (R-Leicester)
Rep. Kate Hogan (D-Stow)
Rep. Kay Khan (D-Newton)
Rep. Keiko Orrall (R-Lakeville)
Rep. Ken Gordon (D-Bedford)
Rep. Kimberly Ferguson (R-Holden)
Rep. Leonard Mirra (R-West Newbury)
Rep. Linda Dean Campbell (D-Methuen)
Rep. Liz Malia (D-Jamaica Plain, Boston)
Rep. Marc Lombardo (R-Billerica)
Rep. Marjorie Decker (D-Cambridge)
Rep. Mark Cusack (D-Braintree)
Rep. Mary Keefe (D-Worcester)
Rep. Matt Muratore (R-Plymouth)
Rep. Michael Day (D-Stoneham)
Rep. Michael Finn (D-West Springfield)
Rep. Michael Moran (D-Brighton, Boston)
Rep. Michelle DuBois (D-Brockton)
Rep. Mike Connolly (D-Cambridge)
Rep. Natalie Higgins (D-Leominster)
Rep. Nicholas Boldyga (R-Southwick)
Rep. Nick Collins (D-South Boston, Boston)
Rep. Patricia Haddad (D-Somerset)
Rep. Paul Donato (D-Medford)
Rep. Paul Frost (R-Auburn)
Rep. Paul Heroux (D-Attleboro)
Rep. Paul Mark (D-Peru)
Rep. Paul Schmid (D-Westport)
Rep. Paul Tucker (D-Salem)
Rep. Peter Durant (R-Spencer)
Rep. Peter Kocot (D-Northampton)
Rep. Rady Mom (D-Lowell)
Rep. Randy Hunt (R-Sandwich)
Rep. Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop)
Rep. Robert Koczera (D-New Bedford)
Rep. Ronald Mariano (D-Quincy)
Rep. Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown)
Rep. Sean Garballey (D-Arlington)
Rep. Shaunna O’Connell (R-Taunton)
Rep. Shawn Dooley (R-Norfolk)
Rep. Sheila Harrington (R-Groton)
Rep. Stephan Hay (D-Fitchburg)
Rep. Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington)
Rep. Steve Howitt (R-Seekonk)
Rep. Susan Williams Gifford (R-Wareham)
Rep. Susannah Whipps Lee (Unenrolled-Athol)
Rep. Theodore C. Speliotis (D-Danvers)
Rep. Thomas Calter (D-Kingston)
Rep. Thomas Golden, Jr. (D-Lowell)
Rep. Thomas Petrolati (D-Ludlow)
Rep. Thomas Stanley (D-Waltham)
Rep. Thomas Walsh (D-Peabody)
Rep. Tim Whelan (R-Brewster)
Rep. Todd Smola (R-Palmer)
Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier (D-Pittsfield)
Rep. William C. Galvin (D-Canton)
Rep. William Driscoll Jr. (D-Milton)
Rep. William L. Crocker, Jr. (R-Barnstable)
Rep. William M. Straus (D-Mattapoisett)
Rep. William Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox)
Senator Adam G. Hinds (D-Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin, and Hampden)
Senator Anne Gobi (D-Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire and Middlesex)
Senator Bruce Tarr (R-1st Essex and Middlesex)
Senator Cindy Friedman (D-4th Middlesex)
Senator Cynthia Stone Creem (D-1st Middlesex and Norfolk)
Senator Donald Humason, Jr. (R-2nd Hampden and Hampshire)
Senator Eileen Donoghue (D-1st Middlesex)
Senator Eric Lesser (D-1st Hampden and Hampshire)
Senator Harriette Chandler (D-1st Worcester)
Senator James T. Welch (D-Hampden)
Senator Jason Lewis (D-5th Middlesex)
Senator John Keenan (D-Norfolk and Plymouth)
Senator Joseph A. Boncore (D-1st Suffolk and Middlesex)
Senator Julian Cyr (D-Cape and Islands)
Senator Karen Spilka (D-2nd Middlesex and Norfolk)
Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives (D-1st Essex)
Senator Linda Dorcena Forry (D-1st Suffolk)
Senator Marc Pacheco (D-1st Plymouth and Bristol)
Senator Mark Montigny (D-2nd Bristol and Plymouth)
Senator Michael F. Rush (D-Norfolk and Suffolk)
Senator Michael J. Barrett (D-3rd Middlesex)
Senator Michael Rodrigues (D-1st Bristol and Plymouth)
Senator Patricia D. Jehlen (D-2nd Middlesex)
Senator Patrick O’Connor (R-Plymouth and Norfolk)
Senator Richard Ross (R-Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex)
Senator Ryan Fattman (R-Worcester and Norfolk)
Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Middlesex and Suffolk)
Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-2nd Suffolk)
Senator Stanley Rosenberg (D-Hampshire and Franklin and Worcester)
Senator Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth and Barnstable)
Senator Walter Timilty (D-Norfolk, Bristol and Plymouth)
The Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development heard our testimony in support of Senate Bill 1013, the Healthy Workplace Bill, on April 4. Now it’s time to urge them to move it forward.
We ask you to call these four committee leaders even if you’ve called them before. Tell the person who answers the phone:
“I’m calling to support Senate Bill 1013, an act addressing workplace bullying, mobbing, and harassment, without regard to protected class. Can you ask the legislator to read Senate Bill 1013 favorably out of committee?”
They will ask your name and address and thank you for calling.
Here are the four committee leaders:
Senator Jason Lewis: 617-722-1206
Senator Pat Jehlen: 617-722-1578
Rep. Paul Brodeur: 617-722-2013
Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier: 617-722-2240
It’s that simple!
Since the two committee heads represent the town of Melrose, and legislators care about their constituents’ views to count on future votes, forward this message onto anyone who lives in Melrose.
Everyone in Massachusetts can call these leaders, too. Every call matters.
On Tuesday, I joined with other supporters of the Healthy Workplace Bill (HWB) to testify on its behalf at a hearing before the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development of the Massachusetts legislature, held at the State House in Boston. Getting a favorable decision out of the Committee is the first critical step toward […]
We hope to fill the room with advocates to show support for the Healthy Workplace Bill.
At the hearing, legislators listen to testimony about several bills. Last session, legislators waited until the end of the hours-long hearing to listen to testimony from our advocates. We encourage you to speak at the end on behalf of the bill.
Dos and don’ts of speaking at the hearing
DO speak about your experience. Speak from the heart about how workplace bullying affected you, especially how it harmed your health and affected your personal relationships. Remember that legislators want to hear from you.
DO keep your testimony to under two minutes. By the end of the hours-long hearing, legislators may be tired. The last thing we want to do is turn them off, so stick to the facts and to your own experience and keep it brief. It’s difficult to summarize months or years of bullying into two minutes, but it’s important to do so.
DO stick to our talking points. Refresh yourself on the main points we want to get across:
- Accountability, not just training, is what will change behavior.
- There will be a high threshold for recovery.
- The bill is based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s definition of a hostile work environment for sexual harassment.
- The bill enters the picture only when the bullying behaviors have become severe and harmful.
- Employers can minimize their liability exposure by acting preventively and responsively toward bullying.
- The bill focuses on addressing the bullying behavior, not killing jobs.
- Many workplace bullying targets already lose jobs, choosing their health over daily suffering.
DO visit your state rep and senator that day. Before or after the hearing, stop by your legislators’ offices and ask them to support the Healthy Workplace Bill. That’s one State Rep and one State Senator. Try to make an appointment with them beforehand. If you can only speak with an aide, do that. Aides will pass along information to legislators. The State House is hard to navigate, so write down the State House room numbers before that day, bring them with you, and don’t be afraid to ask someone how to get to those offices. Bring a copy of each of these fact sheets (two of each, one for each legislator) to leave with your legislators:
DO email these fact sheets to your legislators if you can’t make it that day. Your legislators want to hear from you.
DON’T mention bully’s names or workplaces — unless asked. The goal is to pass the law, not to out a boss or workplace.
DON’T feel like you have to testify to show support. If you’re not ready to speak under two minutes about your experience, don’t feel obligated to speak. You may not be ready, and that’s ok. Showing your support by attending is much appreciated whether or not you speak.
Remember that perseverance is key. Most bills take years to pass, and we’ve come a long way with just 20 advocates six years ago to now more than 8,000. Help become part of history by showing your support and helping to fill the room today.