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1/16/2018 Rep. O’Brien reintroduces Healthy Workplace Act to combat workplace bullying; Sen. Ciccone to introduce in Senate
STATE HOUSE – Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) has reintroduced legislation (2018-H 7024) 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.  Sen. Frank A. Ciccone III (D-Dist. 7, Providence, North Providence) will be reintroducing the companion legislation in the Senate.

“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. 

“I have been introducing this legislation for three years and in today’s climate of accountability being brought upon harassers, bullies, and abusers, now is the time to pass this protective legislation for all employees in Rhode Island.  I look forward to working with Representative O’Brien to ensure that the Healthy Workplace Act of 2018 becomes law,” said Senator Ciccone.

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.

 “This legislation has a wide variety of support in the chamber and I am honored that many members of leadership cosponsored this bill last legislative session. I am very eager to fight for its passage so that we as a state can send a clear message that any type of bullying in Rhode Island is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” added Representative O’Brien.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903