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.”
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.
Broward County Crime Commission’s all-day conference, Adult & Workplace Bullying, on July 24th
I’m proud to be representing the National Workplace Bullying Coalition as one of the panelists at this conference next month. I’ll also be screening one of my early films on the topic, “Jodie’s Law: no job Is worth losing the precious gift of life.” Jodie’s Mom and Aunt Joie will be there to speak about “The Human Cost of Adult Bullying.” The roster of speakers and scope of the agenda is truly impressive so if you’re in the area you should definitely check out the flyer below and go to the Eventbrite link for more information and to sign up. Continue reading →
Lessons learned at the 2nd Annual Consortium on Abrasive Conduct in Higher Education [CACHE]
My first documentary, Sandra’s Web, the intimate video letter from a homeless mother with AIDS left as a legacy for her daughter, premiered on HBO. A few days after the broadcast the legendary George Stoney, my beloved mentor, looked at me and essentially said, That’s nice. Now the real work begins. It was a life changing lesson he passed on to so many of us who produce social justice documentaries. So, while I was delighted to win an Honorary Webby this year for my documentary on workplace bullying, What Killed Kevin, it meant even more to me that I was invited back a second year in a row to screen the film at the CACHE colloquium sponsored by Sibson Consulting and the Boss Whispering Institute. Similar to the year before, attendees at the two-day conference held at the University of Denver School of Hospitality Management were made up of “representatives from nearly 20 institutions of higher education including faculty, HR professionals, ombudspeople, labor representatives, administrators, and researchers convened to explore best practices in addressing the problem of workplace bullying in the academy.” Continue reading →
An internal CIA document obtained by the Associated Press shows that the agency is disciplining abusive managers:
“…These days, the CIA says it has a zero tolerance policy toward workplace harassment. And an agency document obtained by The Associated Press said 15 CIA employees were disciplined for committing sexual, racial or other types of harassment last year. That included a supervisor who was removed from the job after engaging in “bullying, hostile behavior,” and an operative who was sent home from an overseas post for inappropriately touching female colleagues, said the document, an internal message to the agency’s workforce.
The examples cited in the message, sent several weeks ago in an email by the director of the agency’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, were meant to show how the CIA is enforcing its strict policy. Continue reading →
Back 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? Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →