An act Addressing Workplace Bullying, Mobbing, and Harassment, without Regard to Protected Class Status

SD 1355: An act Addressing Workplace Bullying, Mobbing, and Harassment, without Regard to Protected Class Status
Workplace bullying is a serious public health concern. Over a third of workers — 60.4 million — will likely experience or witness bullying during their working lives. Many will suffer severe anxiety, clinical depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, hypertension, suicidal thoughts, and other conditions. Most employers do not take workplace bullying seriously. When employees complain about workplace bullying, most employers either ignore the problem or make it worse. Workplace bullying is the most serious form of employee mistreatment left largely unaddressed by current law. Most targets of severe workplace bullying have little or no recourse under Massachusetts law. Harassment law protects only those individuals who can prove the mistreatment is due to their protected class membership, such as sex, race, or age. Supported by 77 percent of Americans, a law would protect all employees from abusive mistreatment on an equal opportunity basis, filling a huge gap. The Healthy Workplace Bill will give severely bullied workers a right to seek damages. No longer will abused workers be left without legal protections. It is fair and efficient. It allows employers to minimize liability by preventing and responding to bullying situations. It also includes provisions that discourage weak or frivolous claims. Thirty state legislatures have introduced workplace bullying legislation.
The Healthy Workplace Bill was proposed by the Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Advocates in partnership with NAGE-SEIU and the Boston Teachers Union.