Rep. O’Brien introduces Healthy Workplace Act of 2017 to combat workplace bullying
STATE HOUSE – Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) has introduced legislation (2017-H 5862) that would establish a cause of action against employers and employees for workplace bullying, harassment and other abusive behavior that may not fall into other categories that are already protected such as race, color, sex or sexual orientation.
“Unfortunately, bullying is not just confined to school yards and playgrounds and too many employees in the state are subject to terribly abusive environments in their workplaces. This legislation is needed because although there are several employee protections already on the books, such as policies against discrimination of race or sexual orientation, workplace bullying can take on many different insidious forms and our employees who are victims of this malicious behavior need legal protections to combat this abuse. As a teacher, I have witnessed the devastating effects of bullying and it must not be tolerated in any setting, educationally or professionally,” said Representative O’Brien.
The purpose of the legislation is to provide legal relief for employees who have been harmed psychologically, physically, or economically, by deliberate exposure to abusive work environments. The legislation would also provide legal incentives for employers to prevent and respond to abusive mistreatment of employees at work.
The cosponsors of the legislation are Rep. Mia A. Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln), Rep. Arthur Handy (D-Dist. 18, Cranston), Rep. Arthur J. Corvese (D-Dist. 55, North Providence), and Rep. Christopher R. Blazejewski (D-Dist. 2, Providence).
The legislation has been referred to the House Committee on Labor.
For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903