Advocates and victims alike testified before the Senate Labor, Commerce & Consumer Protection Committee on Tuesday to bring to light the need for a system that addresses the problem of bullying in the workplace.
“The intent of this bill is to create a more predictable and a more safe environment, not just for workers but also for employers,” said Sen. Nick Harper, the prime sponsor of SB 5789. “This type of behavior doesn’t end when we graduate from high school. Unfortunately it exists wherever we live and work.”
The bill defines abuse in the workplace as, “an unfair practice and a behavior that causes physical or psychological harm to an employee and that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive and unrelated to the employers legitimate business interests.”
Many victims of workplace bullying testified about the impact such abuse has had on their lives, well after their employment has ended. Several described suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, heart problems and other physical and mental ailments.
“The bullying we’re talking about goes well beyond normal office politics,” said Gary Namie of the Workplace Bullying Institute. “These people have had their lives and livelihoods put at risk.”
You can watch testimony from the hearing below: