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Hearing Held on Workplace Bullying Bill at General Assembly

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Legislative Developments

The General Assembly’s Labor & Public Employee Hearing on various labor bills went forward as scheduled on Tuesday.  Among the topics –  the workplace bullying bill that I first reported on on Monday.

Senate Bill 60 would create a private cause of action for workplace bullying. However, even if the bill passes the labor committee, it would still need to pass mA solution to workplace bullying?uster with the judiciary committee, according to state Senator Edith Prague.

The Hartford Courant had a report in Wednesday’s editions:

The bill, which has the support of committee chair state Sen. Edith Prague, D-Columbia, is actually a revised version of a similar bill that failed to reach a full vote of the assembly last year because of concerns about how it might affect businesses. In particular, opponents worried that the bill, which would allow workplace bullying victims to sue their tormentors, could expose employers to potential damages even if they had consistently tried to create a safe environment for workers.

The new legislation aims to protect employers who have acted in good faith by making them exempt from liability if they can show they took steps to prevent bullying behavior on the part of individual employees or supervisors.

Last week, The Word on Employment Law discussed the possibility that these types of bills were being introduced across the United States.  Earlier this month, Ohio Employer’s Law Blog touched the subject as well.  But for a more in-depth look at the subject, the ABA Journal did a nice piece earlier this month. The article quotes from a Tennessee case that perhaps touches on the problem with workplace bullying laws and perhaps over-legislating the workplace. 

The fact that a supervisor is mean, hard to get along with, overbearing, belligerent or otherwise hostile and abusive, does not violate civil rights statutes…

It’ll be interesting to see what happens with this bill in the upcoming months. And for the record, i don’t think hiring bodyguards for the workplace, as the movie poster suggests, is a good idea.  Stay tuned.

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