The Healthy Workplace Bill
Massachusetts has joined the race to become the first state in the union to enact the Healthy Workplace Bill, legislation that provides targets of severe workplace bullying with a legal cause of action.
The Healthy Workplace Bill creates a legal claim for bullying targets who can establish that they were subjected to malicious, health-harming behavior. It also provides defenses for employers who act preventively and responsively with regard to bullying and includes provisions to discourage frivolous claims.
What happened so far in the 2013-2014 legislative session:
- This legislative session, the bill was filed as House Bill 1766 by Representative Ellen Story (D-Amherst) and Senator Katherine Clark (D-Melrose). Thirty-seven co-sponsors — triple the number from the previous legislative session — have so far supported the bill thanks to our advocates contacting their legislators directly:
Rep. Denise Andrews (D-Orange)Rep. Brian Ashe (D-Longmeadow)
Rep. Ruth Balser (D-Newton)
Rep. Paul Brodeur (D-Melrose)
Rep. Christine Canavan (D-Brockton)
Rep. Gailanne Cariddi (D-North Adams)
Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston)
Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera (D-Springfield)
Rep. Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen)
Senator James Eldridge (D-Acton)
Senator Jennifer Flanagan (D-Leominster)
Rep. John Fresolo (D-Worcester)
Rep. Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough)
Rep. Patricia Haddad (D-Somerset)
Rep. Jonathan Hecht (D-Watertown)
Rep. Carlos Henriquez (D-Dorchester)
Rep. Russell Holmes (D-Boston)
Rep. Kevin Honan (D-Brighton)
Rep. Lou Kafka (D-Stoughton)
Senator John Keenan (D-Quincy)
Rep. Kay Khan (D-Newton)
Rep. Peter Kocot (D-Northampton)
Senator Michael Knapik (R-Westfield)
Rep. John Lawn (D-Watertown)
Rep. John Mahoney (D-Worcester)
Rep. Brian Mannal (D-Barnstable)
Senator Thomas McGee (D-Lynn)
Rep. Paul McMurtry (D-Dedham)
Rep. James O'Day (D-West Boylston)
Rep. Denise Provost (D-Somerville)
Rep. John Scibak (D-South Hadley)
Rep. Carl Sciortino, Jr. (D-Medford)
Rep. Frank Smizik (D-Brookline)
Rep. Theodore Speliotis (D-Danvers)
Rep. Benjamin Swan (D-Springfield)
Rep. Aaron Vega (D-Holyoke)
Senator James Welch (D-West Springfield)
- We obtained formal endorsement from the following organizations this session:
American Hospital Association
American Organization of Nurse Executives
Berkshire Central Labor Council
Berkshire County Correctional Officers Local 29
Boston Democratic Socialists of America
The Educational Association of Worcester
Harvard Student Labor Action Movement
Massachusetts Association of Registered Nurses
Massachusetts Jobs with Justice
Moishe Kavod Jewish Social Justice House
North Shore Labor Council
Organization of Nurse Leaders
Next steps we need to reach in order for the bill to become law in Massachusetts:
- The bill will go in front of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development in a public hearing including testimony. The committee decides if the bill should pass to the next step, not pass to the next step, be subject to further study, or discharged to another committee.
- If approved, the bill moves onto the House for its First Reading usually followed by referral to another committee for further review.
- If approved, the bill moves to the House floor for a Second Reading. Debate begins. The bill is subject to amendments.
- If approved, the bill is then ordered to a Third Reading in the House. In this phase, the bill is examined for legality, constitutionality, and the duplication or contradiction of existing law and then heads back to the House or Senate floor for debate and amendments.
- If approved, the bill moves onto the Engrossment Committee at the Third Reading.
- If approved, the Senate considers the bill through three readings and engrossment. If amended, the bill returns to the House for another vote. If the bill is rejected, three members of each branch draft a compromise bill.
- The bill gets enacted by the legislature.
- The bill gets signed by the governor. Ninety days after the governor's signature, the bill becomes law.
What happened in the 2011-2012 legislative session:
- The bill was filed by Representative Ellen Story (D-Amherst) and Senator Katherine Clark (D-Melrose) and designated as House Bill Number 2310 and Senate Bill Number 916. Eleven co-sponsors supported the bill this year thanks to our advocates contacting their legislators directly:
Denise Andrews (D-Orange)
Nick Collins (D-Boston)
Gloria L. Fox (D-Roxbury)
Kevin G. Honan (D-Brighton)
Louis L. Kafka (D-Stoughton)
Kay Khan (D-Newton)
Peter V. Kocot (D-Northampton)
John W. Scibak (D-South Hadley)
Frank I. Smizik (D-Brookline)
Benjamin Swan (D-Springfield)
Alice K. Wolf (D-Cambridge)
- The bill went in front of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development on July 14, 2011.
Read the CBS Boston article (July 14, 2011) »
Read the Boston Herald article (July 15, 2011) »
- The bill passed out of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development on February 29, 2012 and onto the House Committee on Steering, Policy and Scheduling.
- The local union AFSCME (Boston Public Library employees) formally supported the bill.
- The House Committee on Steering, Policy and Scheduling favorably read out H. 2310 on April 4, 2012 and moved it directly to the House Floor for a second reading.
- The House moved the bill onto a third reading on May 30, 2012.
- The legislative session ended July 31, 2012.
What happened in the 2009-2010 legislative session:
- Senator Joan M. Menard, a Senate leader, sponsored this bill.
- The union SEIU/NAGE and the Massachusetts Teachers Union formally supported this bill.
- The Healthy Workplace Advocates spoke at a legislative hearing of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development on January 27, 2010.