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Healthy Workplace Bill Vetoed in New Hampshire

Reprint from New Hampshire Public Radio July 28, 2014

Governor Maggie Hassan has vetoed a bill she called “well-intentioned” aimed at protecting public employees from bullying in the workplace.

Under the so-called “Healthy Workplace Bill,” things like an “unreasonable” workload or “constant and unreasonable criticism” would have been cause for action.  Although the bill only covered public employees, Adrienne Rupp of theBusiness and Industry Association says the group lobbied Hassan for a veto.

“It kind of opens the door.  You know, the language in the bill was very vague and subjective in our opinion,” she says.  “And I think, had a bill like this passed and become law, I think the next logical step would have been to look at the private sector.”

The State Employees Association was one of the bill’s strongest supporters.

But in her statement Hassan said the bill was too broad and subjective.  She also said it would have upended the state’s system already in place to deal with harassment complaints, and that creating a new system amounted to an unfunded mandate.

Listen to the radio program here [link]

New Hampshire Legislature Passes Workplace Bullying Law

new hampshire workplace bullying legislationBack in February we highlighted union backed legislation that was pushing through New Hampshire. On June 4 it officially passed through the House and Senate.

Similar to the bill that whizzed through Tennessee, HB 0591  is limited to Public Employees and emphasizes the need to implement policies and training. We would all love to see stand alone legislation with all the protections employees deserve but this growing trend that focuses on finding ways to pass legislation has infused energy and movement into a previously stalled campaign. And, more importantly, workers are beginning to have protection from devastating psychological abuse. Union efforts in California has ensured that other states are not far behind. Hopefully legislators in New York and other states around the country will begin to adopt this winning template to protect their employees. Can private employers be far behind? (more…)

Tennessee Enacts Law to Prevent Workplace Bullying – But…

SB2226: Any person injured by any act in violation of this bill will have a civil cause of action in chancery court or circuit court…When an employer or employee is found to be in violation, the court may enjoin such employer or employee from engaging in the unlawful employment practice and may order any other relief necessary, including, but not limited to, the removal of the offending party from said work environment, medical expenses, compensation for pain and suffering, compensation for emotional distress, punitive damages and attorney’s fees.  NOT!

Wouldn’t that paragraph have thrilled the hearts of all of us involved in the effort to pass abusive conduct legislation to protect employees? But, that’s not the portion of SB2226 that the Tennessee State Senate approved or the Governor signed. What they did enact “requires the Tennessee advisory commission on intergovernmental relations (TACIR), in consultation with the department of human resources and interested local government organizations, to create a model policy for local governments to prevent abusive conduct in their workplaces workplace. The model policy shall:

(1) Assist employers in recognizing and responding to abusive conduct in the workplace; and
(2) Prevent retaliation against any employee who has reported abusive conduct in the workplace. (more…)

California Could Be First State To Take On Workplace Bullying

Milestone legislation requiring employers with 50+ employees add workplace bullying to already existing harassment training and education is making great headway in California. Stepping up legislation already on the books is long overdue. This bill is sponsored by Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez and fueled by the efforts of Teamsters Local 2010, the Union of Clerical and Allied Service Workers of the University of California. Last month Union members testified at the State Capitol in support of the bill and received a unanimous bipartisan vote out of committee: (more…)

Did Victim of Workplace Bullying Fake Mental Injuries?

This disturbing article by Noel Towell in the Sydney Morning Herald presents the story of a man who claimed an abusive boss left him in need of electroshock therapy countered by the healthy picture of this same man on surveillance DVDs gathered by his employer: (more…)

New Jersey Experts Offer Multiple Solutions To End Workplace Bullying

My ex-boss was a rainmaker and it wasn’t long before I understood why I was one of a quickly growing list of people to have had that job. I soon found myself undergoing a heart cath procedure because I’d failed multiple tests. It turned out I was actually suffering the side effects of stress and the diagnosis was that I needed to quit my job. I decided to try reasoning with upper management one more time. All I wanted was a transfer back to my old position. I will never forget that day. He readily admitted that I was being horribly abused but then he brought down the hammer. If I thought I had some kind of grounds – I should sue because if I didn’t continue on in that position I was fired. I walked away from that experience keenly aware that fear of litigation on their part may well have protected me.

I’m a filmmaker so I started making short documentaries about victim/targets of workplace bullying. Each video highlighted the impact not just on the target but often for the family. My films allowed me to speak with experts, researchers, legislators, advocates, victims/targets, alleged bullies, business & HR reps, journalists and many others both here in the U.S. and abroad. At the time few people even knew what the term workplace bullying meant. It wasn’t until I made What Killed Kevin (reviewed in the Huffington Post), for which I interviewed the alleged bully boss, that I was able to recognize how subjective and tragic many of these situations can be for everyone involved. (more…)

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