How to pass the workplace psychological safety act
Movements are the tool for meaningful change in the U.S.! We’re creating a growing army of doers who say we want change when it comes to our psychological safety at work.
Take action. Let’s move the needle on psychologically safer workplaces.
Spread the word about our upcoming hearing in massachusetts
#EndWorkplaceAbuse aims to expose how workplace abuse (bullying and mobbing) works.
Our goal is for:
- Workers to engage in the fight for workplace psychological safety.
- You to take back your voice. Sign up to testify for the upcoming hearing in MA on Tuesday, October 10, 2023.
- Advocates to proceed together to Rhode Island for public hearings in 2024, where the legislation has already passed the Senate. Then onto the next state. And then the next. Strength in numbers is a winning strategy!
How it works
- Copy and paste the suggested social media posts or develop your own customized posts to share out the content.
- Add the #EndWorkplaceAbuse, #HoldEmployersAccountable, and #StopBullyingandMobbing hashtags to your social media posts and engage with us via your personal or organizational accounts.
- Follow us on social media and share posts:
- Join Gretchen Carlson and other #MeToo silence breakers & whistleblowers to #EndWorkplaceAbuse: WPSAct.org #HoldEmployersAccountable #StopBullyingandMobbing
- Experts in mental health, leadership, discrimination, & employment law will join 200+ advocates to urge MA lawmakers to #EndWorkplaceAbuse. Join us: WPSAct.org #HoldEmployersAccountable #StopBullyingandMobbing
- Real change happens when workplace bullying & mobbing policies are enacted with gender & racial justice at the center. Join us: WPSAct.org #EndWorkplaceAbuse #HoldEmployersAccountable #StopBullyingandMobbing
- We’ll amplify stories of workplace abuse, especially of people of color and women, to show how anti-discrimination law isn’t enough. WPSAct.org #EndWorkplaceAbuse #HoldEmployersAccountable #StopBullyingandMobbing
- Share your story of abuse at work to #HoldEmployersAccountable and #StopBullyingandMobbing: WPSAct.org #EndWorkplaceAbuse
- Bullying & mobbing are processes of dehumanization & traumatization that violate basic human rights. Join us to share your story of abuse at work to #Endworkplaceabuse #HoldEmployersAccountable & #StopBullyingandMobbing: WPSAct.org
Suggested Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin posts
- At the heart of workplace bullying and mobbing is employee exploitation and lack of employer accountability. In toxic work environments, employers prioritize fear of organizational liability over human well-being. Instead of addressing psychological abuse, toxic employers willfully ignore it because they believe acknowledging it opens the door for liability. So they mislead the reporting employee to believe there’s a complaint process in place but do nothing to address the situation. The reporting employee succumbs to the psychological stress of their toxic work environment — the unrelenting bullying and lack of response from the employer — and voluntarily leaves, is fired, or dies from the stress. This negligence violates employees’ basic human rights to fair process and to be treated with dignity and respect. Anti-discrimination law has proven ineffective to protect workers in many of these situations. Join us: WPSAct.org #EndWorkplaceAbuse #HoldEmployersAccountable #StopBullyingandMobbing
- Real change happens when workplace bullying and mobbing policies are enacted with gender and racial justice at the center. We’ll amplify stories of workplace abuse, especially of people of color and women, to show how anti-discrimination law isn’t enough. Share your story of abuse at work to #Endworkplaceabuse #HoldEmployersAccountable and #StopBullyingandMobbing:
- These #MeToo activists and whistleblowers will testify in support of the Workplace Psychological Safety Act in Massachusetts, which if passed will hold Massachusetts employers accountable for toxic work environments and eliminate their ability to use forced arbitration and non-disclosure agreements to avoid accountability for psychologically abusive behavior:
Gretchen Carlson, former TV personality and co-founder of Lift Our Voices who took on Fox News and Roger Ailes for sexual harassment and retaliation
Rowena Chiu, silence breaker and Harvey Weinstein’s former assistant
Louise Godbold, silence breaker, trauma specialist, and executive director of Echo Training
Dr. Julie Macfarlane, co-founder of Can’t Buy My Silence with Zelda Perkins, Harvey Weinstein’s former assistant
Sandra Muller, silence breaker and creator of #MeToo
Julie Roginsky, former TV personality and co-founder of Lift Our Voices
Dr. Kim Young-McLear, retired senior military officer, Coast Guard whistleblower, Congressional expert witness, and former State of the Union guest of honor
Join us to share your story of abuse at work to #HoldEmployersAccountable and #StopBullyingandMobbing:
- Healthcare tops the list of industries with the highest incidences of workplace bullying according to a 2013 Workplace Bullying Institute survey. Poor staffing ratios, heavy workloads, inadequate management skills, stress, and lack of autonomy contribute to workplace bullying according to a recent American Medical Association (AMA) report. While workplace bullying and mobbing in healthcare get in the way of workers’ ability to heal, they also affect patient care when healthcare workers are hesitant to bring up patient care issues. Join us to share your story of abuse at work to #HoldEmployersAccountable and #StopBullyingandMobbing:
- The problem of workplace abuse:
Workers (roughly one third of them according to the Workplace Bullying Institute) get abused at work through such tactics as false accusations and sabotage, and anti-discrimination law isn’t enough to help them.
In the ’80s and ’90s, anti-discrimination law moved from needing proof of impact to proof of intent, making it ineffective at disrupting the social hierarchies. People of color and women are still predominantly on the receiving end of mistreatment at work, but they can’t typically tie the mistreatment to their membership in a protected class.
The abuse results in a host of harms. Targets suffer from a wide range of physical, mental, and emotional health problems including shame, humiliation, isolation, self-blame, anxiety, depression, cardiovascular issues, and compromised immunity, up to and including death. Many are diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Bullying and mobbing are also highly affiliated with suicidal ideation and suicide. Workers are forced to choose between their health and their paycheck.
Join us to #HoldEmployersAccountable and #StopBullyingandMobbing:
- The workplace abuse playbook:
Workplace abuse typically begins when one employee, who is generally insecure and/or jealous, is threatened by the competence or demeanor of another employee. They try to convince both the target and others in the workplace that the target is incompetent by minimizing them and their work.
In toxic work environments, when employees report psychological abuse to HR or higher-ups, those authorities willfully ignore the complaints. Employers are not liable for psychological abuse nor do they want to be. The employer misleads the unsuspecting employee to believe they have a legitimate complaint process to remedy the problem.
The employer fails to alter the employee’s work environment. The employer doesn’t remove the stressor (bully) and prolongs the complaint process. The emboldened bully continues to harass and abuse the target without consequence or deterrent. The employee is further victimized. The unsuspecting employee voluntarily leaves because of the health harm, is fired due to the health harm, or dies, succumbing to the silent killer stress of the work environment. There is significant physical, mental, and emotional injury as well as severe economic harm.
The abuser wins. Their perceived competition is gone. The employer wins. Their perceived threat of liability is gone. The unsuspecting employee had done nothing to provoke either.
Trauma occurs. When the employee realizes the full perpetration and institutional complicity of tampering with their health and livelihood, forcing them off the payroll to avoid liability, and that there’s no legal recourse for any of it, trauma upon trauma occurs.
Join us to share your story of abuse at work to #Endworkplaceabuse #HoldEmployersAccountable and #StopBullyingandMobbing: WPSAct.org
Suggested RESPONSES TO COMMENTS
- We already have laws to protect us.
Learn more about what U.S. laws exist and why they don’t work: https://workplacepsychologicalsafetyact.org/the-bill/
- Isn’t bullying how managers get things done?
Not good managers. “Power with” is a much more effective management style than “power over,” backed by research.
- We have to accept the way it is with capitalism.
Countries that operate on capitalism often incorporate human-centered regulations. The U.S. needs to catch up.
- Targets need to toughen up. It’s just how work is.
Not true. All individuals deserve to work in a culture of respect and dignity.
- It’s just harmless teasing. Targets should learn to take a joke.
If it continues, it is not harmless. If bullying is not addressed early, then behaviors escalate into more aggressive forms.
- Targets deserve the mistreatment because they’re not a good fit for the team.
Bad behavior is never acceptable. This behavior negatively impacts the team, employee well-being, and the business itself.
- Bullying is how we get results and make employees work harder.
Not true. There are better motivational leadership techniques backed by significant research: setting clear expectations, providing respectful and clear feedback, recognition, and opportunities for development.
- I’ve been through bullying, so why shouldn’t other workers?
Perpetuating a problem only makes it worse for everyone. Employers should establish a culture where bullying is not tolerated and instead build a culture where individuals are respected and supported.
- As a manager, I’m trying to weed out poor workers.
It’s good to have high expectations of employees, but they can be achieved without diminishing well-being. Focusing on fair assessment while setting clear expectations and providing respectful and clear feedback, recognition, and opportunities for development give employees a respectful culture and a psychologically healthier workplace.
- If employees can’t handle bullying, they should just quit.
No one should have to “handle” being bullied. Bullying is abusive behavior. Every worker has a basic human right to an inclusive workplace where they are treated with respect and dignity. Not all workers have safety nets (spousal income, a trust fund, or savings, for example) and can’t “just quit.” Some industries are rampant with abuse, so workers will simply move to another toxic environment. We need to focus on prevention in the first place.
- It’s too costly for my company to implement a workplace anti-abuse policy.
It’s too costly to NOT have a policy. A single litigation case can cost an organization about $150,000. Additionally, there is a reputation risk for negative publicity to the organization’s brand (https://mydisabilityjobs.com/tips-for-employers/costs-of-bullying-in-the-workplace/#how-much-does-bullying-cost-to-companies). Toxic work environments have legal departments (often the highest paid employees) that prize avoiding liability over human well-being. Instead of obeying the law, they skirt the law.
- Bullying and mobbing don’t happen at our company.
According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, 48.6 million Americans or 30% of the workforce experience workplace bullying. There are healthy workplaces that don’t tolerate bullying. A complaint of abusive behavior handled promptly and correctly (addressed immediately and brought quickly to an end) is the telltale sign.
- It’s not government’s responsibility to regulate work culture.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employers have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace. Employers control the work environment. Laws and regulations control the employer. We believe employers not only have a responsibility for workers’ physical safety, but they also have a responsibility for workers’ psychological safety (https://www.osha.gov/workers/employer-responsibilities).
take action if there’s an active workplace psychological safety act in youR state
Asking your state legislators for change is simple. It involves telling your story (optional), communicating the problem, and outlining the Workplace Psychological Safety Act as the solution.
Here are the actions you can take in order of effectiveness if your state shows a purple icon in the map below. Using multiple methods is THE most effective way to reach your state legislators and put the issue on your legislators’ radar among the hundreds of bother bills introduced each legislative session.
2Call and ask them to sign onto the bill. Tell whoever answers the phone “Hi! My name is (YOUR NAME). I live in (NAME OF YOUR TOWN). I’m calling to ask (NAME OF THE LEGISLATOR) to sign onto (BILL NUMBER — SEE THE MAP BELOW), the Workplace Psychological Safety Act.” They may ask you your address.
3Email a custom email. If your state shows a purple icon on the map below, click on the icon, then the link to take action. Follow the quick and simple steps, then replace the email with your own reasons for wanting the bill to pass.
States in which we’re working on introducing the Workplace Psychological Safety Act
take action no matter what state you’re in
- Spread the word. Ask others to do the same. Teachers, nurses, government workers, and workers in the non-profit sector are the most likely to get abused at work, but abuse can happen anywhere. Here’s how you can help spread the word:
- Share flyers above with workers to spread the word about workplace abuse and the Workplace Psychological Safety Act. Then post flyers around your nearest city and take photos of them for social media.
- Like, comment, and share posts on social media or share your story using #endworkplaceabuse:
- Share this Facebook post:
- Share this TikTok post:
- Join the private Facebook group.
- Post this flyer in local cities, especially outside toxic workplaces. Take a photo, post to social media, and tag with the name of the city and @endworkplaceabusenow. You can get 200 copies for $20 at Best Value Copy:
- Testify and lobby. We’re taking our army on the virtual road. When there are virtual hearings and direct actions you can take in a state, we’ll let you know so you can virtually testify (in under three minutes) or share your story or talking points with decision-makers. Sign up for an action team to be the first to learn about actions you can take to make a difference.