July-August 2012
June 28, 2012

Healthy Workplace bill addresses bullying

Author: — Wendy Hord, NYSUT Health & Safety specialist
Source: NYSUT United

Much-deserved attention has been given to students. What about workplace bullying?

It's a significant problem that can cause or contribute to depression, hypertension and other stress-related illnesses.

At the NYSUT Representative Assembly, 99 members completed a survey about workplace bullying: 50 percent said they were victims of work-related bullying; more than 82 percent said they'd witnessed co-workers being bullied. Asked how employers deal with the issue, 60 percent said either no policies existed to deal with workplace bullying or existing policies were not enforced.

The NY Healthy Workplace Act (S.4289/A.4258) would fill this void by allowing employees a civil cause of action if they have been harmed psychologically, physically or economically by workplace bullying. We need a strong incentive for employers to act when bullying is reported, and to be proactive in discouraging abusive behavior at work. Employers that intervene to prevent or correct abusive conditions would be protected from liability under the proposed law.

Contact your state legislator and let them know this is a bill you want passed. To find your lawmakers, go to www.assembly.state.ny.us and www.nysenate.gov. Visit Go to http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/ for info on the bill.