TIME FOR A NEW APPROACH
The decade-long strategy of adopting state-by-state legislation to deal with workplace bullying in the United States has suffered yet another defeat.
The Maine House of Representatives recently voted 87-56 to sustain Maine Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a bill aimed at bullying in the workplace that had been adopted by Maine’s legislature.
The bill, which was supported by the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), directed the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board to study psychological and physical harm employees suffer due to abusive work environments.
In his veto message, the governor said the study was unnecessary because the Workers’ Compensation Board already provides benefits to employees who suffer physical and psychological injuries on the job.
Maine was the 24th state to consider some version of the WBI’s proposed Healthy Workplace Bill but no state has yet to adopt it.
This blog advocates a federal and national solution to the problem of workplace bullying, which affects one in every three or four workers in the United States. So far about 8,000 targets of workplace bullying have signed a petition demanding action from the Obama Administration.
Ruth and Gary Namie, founders of the WBI, have led a decade-long campaign to pass proposed legislation called The Healthy Workplace Bill.
Drafted by Suffolk University Law Professor David Yamada, the bill was overhauled earlier this year after criticism by workplace anti-bully advocates that it offered far less protection to targets of workplace bullying than similar legislation in other countries.
The Namies, who aggressively market consulting services and book sales on the WBI web site, and Mr. Yamada, who formed an organization called The New Workplace Institute, have not cooperated with other workplace anti-bully advocates who formed a coalition last year (Protect US Workers) to support a federal solution to workplace bullying.
America lags far behind Europe, Canada, Australia and many other industrialized countries in protecting workers from bullying, which is widely considered to be a health-harming form of workplace violence..