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legislative alert

pressure lawmakers to pass protections

We just MADE HISTORY on October 10, 2023, in Massachusetts with the largest number of advocates testifying together for workplace anti-abuse legislation. On January 25, 2024, the bill moved to Senate Ways & Means but with another bill that does not plug up enough loopholes in the law to give employees adequate protections. It is also regressive given progress with sexual harassment law.

No matter what state you’re in, we ask you to email Massachusetts state lawmakers about protections we urgently need.

We also have a new bill number in Rhode Island for 2024. Workplace anti-abuse legislation has passed the Rhode Island State Senate before, and we believe it will have more traction this session. We need a groundswell to let Rhode Island legislators know we want protections from workplace abuse.

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Can't Buy My Silence
Psychological abuse often leads to psychological injury

Workplace psychological abuse is about power and control

Something’s off, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. You expect your boss and co-workers to support you to do the work you were hired to do and expect to be treated with dignity and respect.

But that’s not what's happening. Your boss or co-worker talks down to you. It seems you can’t say or do anything right. Your boss falsely accuses you, isolates you, or sabotages your job or career.

You've been targeted by a workplace bully.

You try to please the abuser or try to figure out how you need to change. But nothing works. The abuse continues. The bully is threatened by your competence, social skills, and any other good qualities you have. They either keep you immobilized under their thumb or do everything in their power to get rid of you.

You want to respectfully confront the abuser and tell them their behavior is unacceptable but are afraid they'll come back at you even harder next time. The power imbalance silences you into submission to keep the peace and your paycheck.

The bully doesn’t let up, and you report the problem to management. You expect the organization to intervene and either discipline or get rid of the abuser, but neither happen. Delay after delay. Nothing is ever done about the bully. Something isn’t off. Everything is off.

You're in a toxic work environment.

For the majority of targeted and victimized employees, the psychological abuse doesn’t stop until they leave. If toxic workplace behavior isn’t dealt with effectively in the short term, employees are likely in a toxic work environment — where higher-ups prioritize avoiding corporate liability over human well-being.

Employers aren’t currently liable for the psychological safety of their employees — nor do they want to be. So the employer further abuses the employee with a willful blindness and deafness to the problem (mobbing). They choose to ignore the problem and make reporting employees go away instead.

In toxic work environments, employers deceive and conspire against employees who report abuse to avoid the threat of liability. If employees fight them, they fight harder. With legal resources at their fingertips, they win most of the time with illegal discrimination. The mission of mobbing aka organizational bullying is to break you psychologically, leaving no fingerprints.

There are three typical outcomes for bullied and mobbed employees:

  1. They leave voluntarily from the incompetence of the bully, the overall toxic culture, and/or the significant health harm from the abuse that has immobilized them after remaining under the silent killer stress waiting for organizational resolve that is willfully denied.
  2. They are fired by the employer because they can no longer perform their duties due to the significant health harm.
  3. They die from the stress.

These inhumane workplace practices violate basic human rights without account. The majority of targeted and victimized employees never realize what’s happened to them until after they leave the toxic work environment. In the aftermath, the realization of the premeditated health harm and job loss leads to further traumatic psychological injury.

But workers shouldn't have to choose between their mental health and a paycheck.

We need a law.

Psychological abuse at work is an epidemic that affects an estimated 48.6 million Americans according to a 2021 Workplace Bullying Institute study.

The mistreatment often leads to serious, long-term physical, psychological, emotional health harm and economic injury, as many employees suffer severe financial loss after losing their jobs and careers, too ill to return to work. PTSD, a brain injury, and stress-induced illnesses are common consequences as is suicide and suicide ideation. Employees die.

We have regulations at work for environmental safety. We have regulations at work for physical safety. It has been the historic practice in the United States to legislate issues of employee exploitation. The psychological safety of employees is of no less importance.

We need a law NOW.

THE BASICS

Workplace abuse and mobbing

Understand the basics of this epidemic intertwined with discrimination.

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The estimated number of annual U.S. excess deaths from workplace stress according to Stanford's Jeffrey Pfeffer

Research shows workplaces are the fifth leading cause of death and account for billions in additional healthcare costs. At least half of the deaths and one third of the excess costs can be prevented by tending to well-being.

Read stories of abuse at Apple and GE.

take back your power

Write your legislators

We're building an army of workers who say enough is enough when it comes to workplace abuse.

Throughout history, those in power have written the rules to keep themselves in power. We want to change those rules to say:

Workers deserve — and demand — psychological safety.
Our policies and actions must support workers as people.
Employers are responsible for treating workers with dignity.

We can change the workplace rules if we stand in our collective power.

Let your state legislators know you want change.

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Workplace Psychological Safety Act or an initial step

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Workplace anti-abuse legislation for which we’re calling for amendments
States in which we’re working on introducing the Workplace Psychological Safety Act
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Targets: find support

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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 workplace abuse, workplace bullying, workplace mobbing, and oppression.


We are part of End Workplace Abuse, which strives to protect and promote workers’ right to psychological wellness – critical to physical health, by advocating for the elimination of abusive behaviors (bullying, mobbing, and harassment) from the American workplace. We achieve our mission by organizing and leading a collective movement advocating for psychological safety at work. We lobby for protective legislation and policies, raise public awareness about psychological harm at work, build leaders who campaign for abuse-free workplaces, and collaborate with other organizations advancing workers’ rights. Because bias and prejudice are often an integral part of workplace abuse, we advocate for protections against discrimination.


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