“Malice” & The Healthy Workplace Bill

For years the model template for workplace bullying legislation – the Healthy Workplace Bill – contained the word “malice” and a $25,000 cap. Legal scholars and critics questioned why the bill’s author, Law Professor David Yamada, and the leader of the lobbying effort, Dr. Gary Namie of the the Workplace Bullying Institute, insisted on including this extraordinarily high hurdle. If you believe the whacky spin that critics of the language are trying to take over the movement then listen for yourself to a clip from What Killed Kevin that reveals what Dr. Namie has to say about his own bill and how difficult it is to prove “malice”:

What Killed Kevin, Dir: Peterson

‘That is the lawsuit killer right there people… the phrase, acting with malice is what the employers should read as, “Wow! We’re off the hook.” Because, you know, rarely can that be proven.” Dr. Gary Namie, WBI

External pressure and critique paid off and a new 2013 Healthy Workplace Bill removed both the term “malice” and the cap. As a past target of workplace bullying, it is extremely disappointing that the early states re-introducing the bill do not reflect these changes. Fingers crossed that Yamada’s state of Massachusetts and New York, the closest to enacting legislation, have indeed made the change to the language.

For now, the movement, overseen by the WBI, remains locked to one point of view but the efforts of citizen lobbyists in Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington, Nevada and New York show that there is a desire to break away and embrace alternative voices. Additional amendments are now available that make the new Healthy Workplace Bill even stronger and capable of protecting targets of abuse.


3 thoughts on ““Malice” & The Healthy Workplace Bill

    • Hi, thanks for your post and your lobbying efforts. I’m so glad that you support this particular article which is about the severe limitations of the most recent NY Healthy Workplace Bill and asks why the term “malice” was introduced into a bill that the organization pushing the bill says:’That is the lawsuit killer right there people… the phrase, acting with malice is what the employers should read as, Wow! We’re off the hook. Because, you know, rarely can that be proven.” If you’ve ever sat in front of an attorney like I have because your life is being destroyed and you desperately need a remedy then you can understand the concerns that many critics of the HWB have. We are not “pro bully”. We are not “trying to take credit for other’s work”. We are merely asking for a bill that can be used by targets to PROVE workplace bullying.


  1. Pingback: Abuse at Work: Still not taboo after all these years | WBI | Stephanie L. Gross, MSLIS

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