Tagged: workplace bullying

Make abuse at work illegal. The clock is ticking.

WalkingUpHands

#metoo has left us wondering: what do we do next to make workplaces safer?

The answer: make abuse at work illegal. While sexual harassment is one way (mostly) women get kept down, there’s a whole host of other behaviors that keep down anyone whose competence threatens a boss or co-worker. Workplace bullying — verbal abuse, sabotage, and other behaviors aimed to humiliate — can become illegal — if we make it happen.

By February 10, all committees must make decision on the bills in their committees. So we have exactly one month to continue to ask these legislators to move the workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill favorably out of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development:

  • Our state reps to ask in writing Rep. Paul Brodeur
  • Our state senators to ask in writing Senator Jason Lewis to do the same.

The last thing we want is for the committee to not move the bill forward because business owners’ voices were louder. Then we have until the summer to move this bill through the Senate and House. (We’ll need your help then, too. More about that later.)

Here’s our game plan:

  • Spread the word about the bill and specifically ask people to ask their state legislators to write to Rep. Brodeur or Senator Lewis to move the bill forward.
  • Forward this message to family, friends, and colleagues, and share this post on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Email us at info@mahealthyworkplace.com with your legislators’ response (even no response). Soon we’ll publicize who’s NOT supported this bill as a way to sway voter opinion and to urge legislators to take action (remember: legislators want to win their next election and want your vote. Post on social media your legislator support or lack of it based on the actions of your legislators on this bill.)

If you haven’t yet reached out to your legislators, please do so before February 10:

  1. Email your legislators. Use this easy tool to send your letter.
  2. 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 or Senator Jason Lewis asking for Senate Bill 1013 to move forward.
  3. Repeat the process for the second legislator.

We thank you for your support. Rep. Brodeur’s staff reported that they get the most calls in support of this bill — thanks to your action.

Like us on Facebook.

For more information on workplace anti-bullying legislation, read these recent articles:
To end sexual harassment on the job, end workplace bullying (LA Times, November 16, 2017)
Workplace bullying remains in the shadows (Boston Globe, December 30, 2017)
Workplace bullying affects nearly half of US workers. It’s time we did something about it. (Truthout, January 11, 2018)

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#metoo is about abuse of power, and workplace bullying law can help take power back

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The #metoo campaign about sexual harassment is about abuse of power at its root, and sexual harassment is only one tool for those in power at work to abuse it.

Boston Globe Reporter Beth Teitell put the spotlight on the umbrella of workplace bullying and its status in the Massachusetts legislature in her December 30, 2017 article “Workplace bullying remains in the shadows.”

“Experts say it can be more common and as damaging to its victims as sexual harassment, but with no clear definition in the law or widespread social recognition, it remains largely out of the public eye,” she explains. “It’s called workplace bullying, although victims say the term doesn’t fully capture its power.”
This article is the second major article we’ve seen in the news about abuse of power — workplace bullying — at the root of #metoo. The first is David Lieberman’s LA Times op-ed “To end sexual harassment on the job, end workplace bullying.”
We need to keep the momentum going. Investigate reporters who’ve written about #metoo and let them know your story and about the Healthy Workplace Bill, Senate Bill 1013, that has just six months left this legislative to pass. Publications include:
To pass this bill, we need the media on our side. If you get the attention of a reporter, email us at info@mahealthyworkplace.com so we can look out for their article.
Thank you to those who spoke with Reporter Beth Teitell. Your courage to speak up is much appreciated.

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

Me Too hashtag from cube letters, anti sexual harassment social media campaign

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.

The best next step you can take for making workplace bullying illegal in Massachusetts

JumpingOverHurdle

Many of you have expressed that you’ve called your legislators before asking for co-sponsorship in January or in the last few months, you’ve called the heads of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, Senator Jason Lewis and Rep. Paul Brodeur. Thank you for your action.

We need you to act again, but in a different way.

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 with only eight months left in the legislative session, they need to know soon 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 IN THE NEXT TWO WEEKS to send a clear message to our state legislators that workplace bullying destroys lives — and we want change.

Our legislators’ voices have the most impact on the committee heads. And our voices have the most impact on our own legislators because they want our votes in the next election. Legislative aides told us if we can even get 3-4 advocates to meet with their legislators, sharing their personal workplace bullying stories and urging their legislators to write to Rep. Brodeur asking him to move the bill forward, that might be all we need to move the bill to the next step: the Senate.

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

  1. Call your State Rep and State Senator to setup a meeting to discuss the bill, now Senate Bill 1013, an act relative to workplace bullying and mobbing without regard to protected class. You may be able to meet with them in local office hours. (If they ask you to leave a message with someone to schedule the meeting and you don’t hear back, call again tomorrow. Keep calling back daily until you get an appointment.)
  2. Draft your story in one page before the meeting (instructions are below).
  3. Print out your story and these two facts sheets: bill overview and myths about the bill.
  4. Email your story to your legislator the day before your meeting.
  5. Meet with your legislator, specifically asking him or her to write to Rep. Brodeur asking him to move the bill favorably out of committee. Ask your legislator to cc you on the email he or she sends to Rep. Brodeur or to forward you a copy afterwards.

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.
If you absolutely cannot take time off work to meet with your legislators, you can still help:
  1. Email your legislators. Use this easy tool to send your letter.
  2. 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.
  3. Repeat the process for the second legislator.

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 »
Like us on Facebook »

New study says teachers experience workplace bullying more than 3x as often as other workers

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“Educators experience workplace bullying at a much higher rate — more that three times as high — than other workers,” say researchers in the newly published 2017 Educator Quality of Work Life Survey, released by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Badass Teachers Association. This year, 830 AFT members, educators in two New York school districts “where educator unions have built strong collaborative labor-management practices on the quality of their work life,” and an additional 4,000 educators responded to their 30-question survey.

Most educators surveyed reported that their schools have workplace harassment policies prohibiting bullying, yet bullying still happens at a high frequency. Stress from workplace bullying is compounded by large workloads, feelings of having to be “always on,” a lack of resources, changing expectations, deficient building conditions, equipment and staff shortages, and insufficient time to prepare and collaborate with colleagues — in other words, limited feelings of respect, control, and influence in their work.

What’s more: “in 2015, 34 percent of our respondents noted that their mental health was ‘not good’ for seven or more of the past 30 days. In 2017, among the more than 4,000 respondents to the public version of our survey, that number had climbed to 58 percent,” explain researchers, noting that the presidential election took place in between those years.

The result: “teachers reported having poor mental health for 11 or more days per month at twice the rate of the general U.S. workforce. They also reported lower-than-recommended levels of health outcomes and sleep per night,” according to the study.

When educators don’t have healthy and productive environments, students don’t either. “Districts that fail to recognize the importance of educator well-being may be faced with higher turnover, more teacher and staff health issues, and greater burnout, all of which leads to higher costs, less stability for kids and, ultimately, lower student achievement,” say the survey researchers.

A better way

Respondents overwhelmingly said that strong educator unions are vital to supportive learning environments. “We can ensure safe, welcoming, supportive learning environments for kids when communities, parents, educators and administrators work together to build supportive working environments for teachers and school staff…. Forthcoming research from Saul Rubinstein and John McCarthy shows that union-district partnerships produce increased school-level collaborative environments and, in turn, improved student outcomes,” say the researchers. Educators in the two surveyed school districts report collaborative environments, including teacher mentoring programs and peer evaluations. Teachers in these districts were bullied by supervisors less frequently, found work to be less stressful than teachers in other districts, felt more respected by supervisors, had fewer physical stress symptoms, and were less likely to plan to leave teaching.

Ending sexual harassment at work means ending workplace bullying, says today’s LA Times

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For the first time since the Harvey Weinstein scandal became public, a major publication made the connection between sexual harassment and workplace bullying, even noting the workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill and its author David Yamada.

This article’s a big deal.

In today’s LA Times article “To end sexual harassment on the job, end workplace bullying,” Reporter David Lieberman says:

Legislators can do more to address the problem. They can make workplace bullying illegal. Too many corporate leaders find it expedient to look the other way when bosses — especially ones they deem indispensable — systematically intimidate and humiliate underlings. Bullies who believe that their whims matter more than other people’s dignity often don’t see why their sexual impulses shouldn’t be just as indulged.

Lieberman adds:

Abused employees would be able to go to court if states or Congress adopted laws like the Healthy Workplace Bill, proposed by Suffolk University Law School professor David Yamada. He found that U.S. courts rarely sided with victims of bullying who sought relief under employment laws that already prohibit “intentional infliction of emotional distress.” Taking a page from the standards for a hostile work environment established under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Healthy Workplace Bill would empower employees to sue companies for actions that “a reasonable person would find abusive, based on the severity, nature or frequency of the conduct.”

The timing couldn’t be better. With just eight months left in the two-year legislative session in Massachusetts, meaning we’ve already reached the halfway point, the bill is stuck in the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development led by Rep. Paul Brodeur. Retailers and business organizations have voiced their opposition. We need a stronger voice. We need a big push to legislators asking them to ask Rep. Brodeur to move the bill, Senate Bill 1013, an act regarding workplace bullying and mobbing without regard to protected class, favorably out of committee.

Urge your legislators to contact Rep. Paul Brodeur about moving Senate Bill 1013 forward »

Urgent: hold employers accountable for bullying employees

OrangeGoal

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 »