Thank you for donating your time, energy, and resources to volunteer for End Workplace Abuse and The Workplace Psychological Safety Act.
By joining our growing campaign, you offer hope:
- Hope for those who currently suffer from abuse at work and feel isolated and minimized
- Hope for those who fear moving to another toxic workplace without employer accountability
- Hope for those in the aftermath who have no road to justice
- Hope for those who feel alone and misunderstood in the healing process
- Hope for yourself knowing psychologically safe work environments are within our reach if we stand in our personal and collective power to create change
We offer advocates:
- Training and financial support for introducing the Workplace Psychological Safety Act in their state.
- Strategy, base-building, marketing, volunteer management, fundraising, expert and high-profile advocates recruitment and coalition-building on the national level.
- Tools to collect email addresses and build state teams.
- Connection through quarterly progress reports with breakout rooms.
Who is End Workplace Abuse (EWA)?
We are a volunteer-led and volunteer-driven corps of advocates for workers’ rights and psychological safety in the workplace. Most of us are survivors of workplace bullying and mobbing. Millions of Americans are impacted by psychologically unsafe workplaces, and among them are inspired people who seek justice. We work collaboratively to build a network spanning the U.S..
End Workplace Abuse is a tool for advocates to voice their support for psychologically safe work environments and other workers’ rights bills. It is also a platform to partner with other organizations fighting employer abuse and safeguarding workers’ rights.
The Workplace Psychological Safety Act (WPSA)
We believe America’s workers have a right to safe workplaces where their psychological health is recognized as a vital component of overall well-being. All people — regardless of their gender, race, color, national origin, class, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, size, income, faith, religion, and political affiliation — deserve to lead healthy and productive lives and to work in safe environments free from abuse and oppression.
Workplace psychological abuse is employee exploitation. Employers are not explicitly liable for the psychological harm of their employees — nor do they want to be. At its root cause is avoidance of employer liability. The status quo, employers are negatively incentivized to address the issue even if they claim to value safe workplaces. Employers choose to avoid a perceived threat of liability over human well-being.
The Workplace Psychological Safety Act (WPSA) takes that choice away and provides a cause of action for employees who suffer from workplace psychological abuse.
The Workplace Psychological Safety Act (WPSA)
Protects all people from mistreatment?
NO. Harassment isn’t illegal unless targeted employees are members of a protected class (race, color, national origin, gender [including sexual orientation and identity], religion, age status over 40, and disability) under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (and groups covered under state EEO laws) and can PROVE the abuse is connected to their protected class membership. Employees who are not members of a protected class have no protection against workplace harassment or any other psychologically abusive behavior.
YES. The WPSA will provide a positive right to dignity and any other human rights in the workplace, making all forms of harassment in the workplace unlawful.
Requires employers to resolve harassment issues?
NO. More often than not, employers fail to address issues IMMEDIATELY, an indicator of a toxic work environment and potential health and life endangerment. Because employees see a lack of effective handling of complaints, fewer than half of targets make a complaint and/or file a formal report, leaving targets of mistreatment with no adequate protection and the social hierarchies based on demographics intact (EEOC Select Task Force for the Study of Workplace Harassment, 2016). Employees who file harassment (bullying) reports most often report a lack of success, including retaliation (Namie and Namie, 2009). Reports to HR lead to worse outcomes. The most likely outcome for employees who report psychologically abusive behavior is job loss (voluntary or involuntary). Employers are not liable for psychologically abusive behaviors — nor do they want to be.
YES. The WPSA provides a full and complete remedy, recognizing the creation of a toxic work environment with a reasonable person standard. It also includes remedies for low-wage workers, who are often left out of our pay-to-play legal system yet suffer from higher rates of mistreatment.
Eliminates the hurdle of intent?
NO. Circuit courts have largely required proof of discriminatory intent, and a sexual nature in gender cases, ignoring control involved in gender-based harassment and equal opportunity mistreatment. Though there is no intent standard, supported by Scalia’s statement in the Oncale case, “the critical issue, Title VII’s text indicates, is whether members of one sex are exposed to disadvantageous terms or conditions of employment to which members of the other sex are not exposed.”
YES. The WPSA requires a baseline of proof of damage to the work environment. Intent involves additional damages but is not required for a legal claim.
Incentivizes employers to change?
NO. Employers have to show reasonable care that they prevented and promptly corrected harassing behavior AND the employee failed to take advantage of preventive or corrective opportunities or to avoid harm otherwise. Avoiding harm otherwise has been largely ignored by Circuit and District Courts, and little has been done to define what steps employers should take (reporting, investigations, and remediation). So, employers set the standard for reasonable measures to maintain the status quo, not the best interest of the employee
YES. The WPSA provides a strong incentive for employers to make the work environment psychologically safe, prioritizing human rights.
Ways you can help
- Sign the petition. No matter what state you reside in, your signature can help us push this movement forward.
- Follow us on social media and share our posts. Find the links in the footer of this page.
- Become an advocate. Learn how on our website.
- Not ready to advocate on a state or national level? Are you a manager or person of influence in your workplace? How can you begin questioning common workplace behaviors and practices right where you are? Grab a free roadmap to help you start today.
Are you currently dealing with working within a toxic workplace environment? Get a list of tips and resources to help you maintain your emotional health, or heal from toxic experiences.
Group Agreement & values
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” We’re committed to ensuring that we guarantee these human rights in our work and at all meetings.
Our goal is to create healthy environments with consequences. Our effectiveness relies on that goal. Individuals should feel:
- Safe to learn, contribute, and challenge the status quo
- Valued, that our contributions have worth and importance
- Respected, with our human needs and individual strengths and weaknesses honored
- Strong, with our well-being promoted
- Productive, with control over our work and the information and resources necessary to move forward
- Supported, feeling heard and responded to appropriately when we voice concerns
- Fairly treated, with reasonable expectations and similar standards for our colleagues
- Powerful, with control over our work for confidence and strength
- Purposeful, with a right to play a meaningful role in the reason our organizations exists
- Challenged, with an opportunity to reach their full potential and to flourish within the organization in roles that fit their talents and goals
Our agreements and values:
We all learn most effectively in welcoming spaces. Extend welcome. Bring yourself to the experience.
Actively listen to what is said, including tone and body language — the feelings beneath the words. Value the opportunity to listen, a chance to learn. Try to stay present to the fullest of your ability and pay attention to what causes you to shut down. Conversations bring up emotions from past experiences. Don’t take what people say personally and try to understand where another person is coming from. Be careful not to compare your experience with another person’s experience, even internally, to accept everyone’s experiences.
Respect all identities, including pronouns and names. Avoid assumptions and stereotypes about people’s identity (for example, gender identity, romantic identity, survivor status, economic status, immigration or documentation status, background, health, faith, etc.). Speak only to your own experiences, not on behalf of your race, gender, ethnicity, or other groups you may identify as being a part of. And disagree with ideas, not people.
Focus on ideas and behaviors rather than people.
Respecting the focus of our time together helps us move forward in our mission. Be mindful of the focus of the meeting and bring up new topics only at the end of the meeting or reach out to the meeting facilitator beforehand.
Notice who isn’t speaking and if you find yourself speaking a lot, hold back now and then. We can share information to deepen discussions, but be mindful that often, other participants are not there to be taught. They are there to contribute. Be mindful of the time you take to contribute. Community growth depends on the inclusion of every individual voice. We will raise our hands to make space for everyone unless brainstorming.
Create a safe space by respecting the confidential nature and content of discussions. What is said remains here. Ask consent before re-opening what someone shared with you earlier.
Check in before discussing topics that may be triggering (e.g., racism, suicide) and remind yourself we are here for discussions, not therapy, advice, judgment, training, or lectures. Maintain appropriate boundaries and model active listening. Connect on a human level to build trust and respect what participants do not want to share.
Value: Trauma sensitivity
Skill, experience, and knowledge vary. High performing teams discuss strategies to get the work done more efficiently and avoid ego issues. Every person should work according to their expertise and offer to pitch in to project overseers. Rather than advise or judge past decisions, ask questions and offer suggestions.
Though ideas matter, we cannot progress in our work without taking action. When you contribute an idea, be willing to execute that idea or to find someone with the skills to execute it. Your presence at meetings implies a willingness to take action and accountability for it.
Make an opening for new ideas by trying them on for size. Give yourself the time to get to
know them and to consider how they fit you. In many cases, it helps to say out loud what
others might be feeling, which may cause discomfort. That’s ok. Safe conversations may still be uncomfortable. Demonstrating our own vulnerability can give an opportunity for others to be vulnerable. Meaningful learning can occur when we take risks. Stay present with the emotion and pain of others, and your own discomfort, as you listen.
It is never “share or die.” You may be invited to share. The invitation is exactly that. You will determine the extent to which you want to participate in discussions or activities.
Looking at advocacy as healing, each of us is here to discover our own truths. We are not here to set someone else straight, judge, help right another’s wrong, or “fix” or “correct” what we perceive as broken or incorrect in another member of the group. While some opinions are commonly accepted as “right,” it is unproductive to cast someone’s statements or beliefs as “wrong.” Instead, speak from personal experience. Don’t assume you know best or that you can help a person process their pain or discomfort in meetings. Trust that people have what they need to take their own path to learning and growth. If you find yourself wanting to change or fix someone, explore what might be coming up about your own identity. Do your own work. Know yourself. Consider your biases and confusions around an issue. What are your sources of information and why do you value them? How have your experiences influenced you? Be open to mistakes and be willing to change. Be self-aware and speak wisely.
Our assumptions are often unknown to us. Our judgments can block our growth. By pausing to
identify assumptions and suspend judgments, we can listen to the other, and to ourselves, more fully.
Say what is in your heart, trusting that your voice will be heard and your contribution respected, even if it is different from or even opposite of what another has said. Own your truth by speaking only for yourself, using “I” statements and avoiding generalizing. Meet others where they are, knowing there are multiple truths all with value.
Never interrupt anyone mid-sentence. Listen even if you disagree. Interrupting is a power move that puts your time and knowledge over someone else’s. At the same time, be aware of cultural differences of valuing interruption and check your biases.
The impact of another’s speech or behavior may cause discomfort or worse. Explore intention and tend to impact. If someone says something you hear as offensive, consider that they may not realize they have said something hurtful but let the group know and be open to dialogue. If someone calls you out for saying something offensive, remember that your intent can be different than your impact. Take responsibility for the effects of your words and resist the need to explain. Allow yourself time to process your reactions to a statement and get to the root of what caused those reactions. Deep breaths release endorphins in the brain and can allow you to center yourself.
If someone behaves in a way that challenges your values, if possible, say “ouch!” or “whoops!” Then explain. Invite them into awareness rather than shaming. Then the person who said the comment has the opportunity to say “oops,” sharing that they made a mistake and seeing the situation as an opportunity to acknowledge and learn from that mistake and then continue the conversation. Facilitators and the group can help; we commit to supporting our agreements. Everyone can take on the role of active listener, concentrating completely on what others say without interrupting or crafting a response. While the goal is to continue the conversation, if you remain uncomfortable after calling in, you can remove yourself from the conversation. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself.
Silence is a rare gift. After someone has spoken, take time to reflect and fully listen without immediately filling the space with words. Listen to understand, not to respond. Be respectful of reflection and different speeds of processing. Also, notice who is not speaking. Encourage those individuals to contribute, but do not force them. Remember that some voices and identities have been given privilege while other voices and identities have been discriminated against.
Try “both/and,” rather than “either/or.” When someone else’s truth challenges your own, try turning to wonder: “I wonder what brought them to this place?” “I wonder what my reaction teaches me?” Speak with the goal of learning. Ask questions to clarify and gain understanding. Ask hard questions. Find ways to respectfully challenge others and be open to challenges to your own views. “You can’t get to a good place in a bad way.”
Stay in the present. Trust the process. Let go of control. Social justice work is difficult and ongoing. We make the path by walking. Having difficult conversations again and again fosters awareness and leads to change. Be open to confusion. Sometimes you will leave a discussion with more questions than answers. The goal is not to agree. It is to gain a deeper understanding.
Every win means progress. Celebrating our wins keeps up our momentum and acknowledges our meaningful contributions.
Approach conversations with the mindset that we’re working together to build community and acting in good faith. But do ask for clarification about intent if you do find yourself confused.
Repair the World’s Guide to Respectful Conversations
Coming to the Table’s Touchstones
Soul Fire Farm’s Safer Space Agreements
Anti-bullying & anti-mobbing policy
The End Workplace Abuse (EWA) national team is dedicated to providing a psychologically safe work environment for all volunteers. Bullying violates volunteers’ right to psychological safety. It is the responsibility of all EWA volunteers to refrain from and report bullying. The EWA national team will intervene with reported acts of bullying through investigating, coaching, discipline, or termination.
EWA defines bullying as mistreatment that has the effect of hurting, weakening, confusing, or frightening a person mentally or emotionally to the level of creating a toxic work environment as deemed by a reasonable person. Behaviors include real or implied threat of harm, put-downs, sabotage, misrepresentation of behavior, spreading of lies, withholding of vital information, verbal or written abuse and/or abusive gestures, request to take part in illegal activity, public or group humiliation or degradation, consistent taking credit for work, exclusion from pertinent meetings or communications, inconsistent following or enforcement of rules, hostile yelling or physical gestures, looking into or disclosing of private facts about the volunteer or their family, discriminatory behaviors, and behaviors without just cause: exclusion. ignoring, regular inconsistent instructions, unreasonably heavy workloads, excessive monitoring, threat of dismissal, and removal of job duties.
A reported single incident of bullying regardless of intent is sufficient to begin an investigation of a toxic work environment. Reports may apply to both volunteers and EWA external partners. If any EWA volunteer believes they have been the target of bullying in meetings or other communications, they can report it to the EWA national team at email@example.com. Reports should include the substance of the complaint, date, and whenever possible, a list of witnesses or a reference to the relevant email(s) or URL(s) if the offense occurred through an EWA online interaction.
The investigation process will include the following steps:
- A neutral fact-finding investigation within three days of the report, talking with the complainant, then accused offender, then witnesses if applicable while remaining confidential when possible.
- If bullying or mobbing has been found, a resolution including an apology for harm from the accused offender directly to the target at a minimum and removal from the organization at a maximum. The EWA national team will ensure the target does not remain in a position for further bullying from the date of the complaint filed. Any member of the EWA national team who has a perceived conflict of interest shall recuse themselves from the investigation.
EWA prohibits retaliation, including breaching confidentiality by the accused offender only, against any volunteer who makes a good faith complaint of bullying or a witness. Retaliation will be treated as a form of bullying subject to this policy.
All EWA volunteers will find this policy on the EWA and Workplace Psychological Safety Act website.
Anti-discrimination & anti-harassment policy
Take the advocate pledge
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.