Can Nevada Expand Discrimination Law To Fight Workplace Bullying?

Journalists often cite that 20 states have introduced the Healthy Workplace Bill but what goes unreported is that quite a few of these bills are radically different from the “model template” described in the press.  For instance, New Jersey, the only HWB bill currently active,  proposes that a regulatory agency impose a fine of not more than $25,000 on abusive employers. Despite this, and the lack of a private right of action, NJ receives strong support from the HWB campaign as the 10th state to introduce the HWB. The HWB from Nevada proposed expanding discrimination law already in place. The official HWB website clearly labels Nevada AB 90 one of their 20 HWB’s and voices support on their site: “… we thank Mr. Segerblom and wish him luck. Nevadans need to contact him to ask how to help.” Patricia G. Barnes is a judge, licensed attorney, and legal writer who is a recognized expert on workplace abuse and bullying. She describes the Nevada bill and a variety of other possible approaches in her new book, “Surviving Bullies, Queen Bees & Psychopaths in the Workplace which is a must read for lobbyists, journalists, and legislators involved in this issue.  Here’s an excerpt:

The Nevada Option

Nevada Assemblyman Richard “Tick” Segerblom, an employment law attorney in Las Vegas, has proposed amendments to a state workplace anti-bully bill that is modeled after Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. Sections 2000e et seq., as amended. Segerblom’s bill contains none of the limiting language of the HWB. It would give targets who suffer a “hostile workplace environment” the same rights as any other victim of a hostile work environment. It would eliminate the requirement that a target qualify on the basis of race, sex, religion and disability. All targets would have the right to compensatory and punitive damages, back pay, costs and attorney’s fees. Segerblom introduced his bill in Nevada in 2009 and 2011 but it failed to make it out of committee both times as a result of opposition from business groups. Segerblom’s bill allows employers to escape liability for bullying if they exercise reasonable care to prevent the abusive conduct and act promptly to correct the conduct… 

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