BATs TIME TO SUPPORT HEALTHY WORKPLACE LEGISLATION- TAKE ACTION!
BATS!!! WE NEED YOUR HELP! THIS PAST SUMMER BATS TESTIFIED TO THE MASSACHUSETTS LABOR COMMITTEE IN SUPPORT OF HEALTHY WORK PLACE LEGISLATION!!! OUR EMAILS WORKED BUT THIS IS GOING DOWN FOR A VOTE WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 14th!!!!!! PLEASE CUT AND PASTE THE EMAIL ADDRESSES ALONG WITH THE LETTER BELOW and HIT SEND!!!
I am writing to ask you to support the Healthy Workplace Bill, House Bill 1771. The purpose of this bill is to provide workers with a legal claim for malicious bullying behavior that has caused physical or psychological harm without regard to protected class status. It imposes liability on both individual aggressors and employers while encouraging employers to prevent bullying from occurring. (This bill also discourages weak and frivolous claims from clogging our courts.) This bill is considered a job-killing bill by some pro-business groups, when in reality the current gap in the law severely hurts the bottom line for businesses. The amount of money businesses spend on bullies can fund several other positions.
The workplace bullying problem
According to a 2014 national survey by Zogby International and the Workplace Bullying Institute, 27 percent of workers have experienced workplace bullying, and almost half of these workers were eventually pushed out of their jobs. More than 72 percent of employers who received complaints about workplace bullying either ignored the problem or made it worse.
More than half of workplace bullies are supervisors. They make false accusations of errors and mistakes, yell, shout, and scream, exclude their victims, withhold resources and information necessary to the job, sabotage and defame behind-the-back, use put-downs, insults, and excessively harsh criticism, and make unreasonably heavy work demands.
The costs for businesses
Workplace bullying costs add up and hurt bottom lines. Costs incurred by a company holding onto a bully include:
• High turnover. Surveys estimate that 20-30 percent of targets and witnesses quit as a direct result of workplace bullying (Financial Week, 2007). According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, businesses spend at least 1.5 times a worker’s salary to replace him, including costs in recruiting, interviewing, and training. So a position earning $100,000 annually results in $400,000 in costs to a company if the position is vacated twice in five years because of a workplace bully.
• Lost productivity. Targets lose motivation, spend time looking for other work, and talk about bullying behavior instead of work. Bullies withhold information targets need to perform their jobs sufficiently, witnesses calm targets, and managers reorganize groups. According to Yahoo Finance, productivity declines as much as 40 percent in workplaces with bullies.
• Increased healthcare. Mental and physical illness from stress (heart disease and clinical depression, for example) result in higher health insurance and workers compensation costs.
• Absenteeism and short-term disability. According to Yahoo Finance, employees who work for bullies call out sick more often. In fact, 12-18 percent of short-term disability claims are psychological claims related to bullying, with each absent employee out of work 60-80 days on average. One large employer spent more than $1 million in a two-year period to cover short-term disability costs related to bullying.
The cost breakdown. Businesses can calculate costs of keeping a bully on board. Civility Partners LLC calculates these potential costs:
• Bully’s direct manager counseling bully: 80 hours, $8,000
• Witnesses talking with target about the bullying experience: 100 hours, $6,000
• HR talking with managers, bully, and target: 10 hours, $1,500
• HR talking with Executives about the problem: 5 hours, $1,500
• HR recruiting and training target’s replacement: $40,000
• Team and department members training new employee: 160 hours, $10,000
Estimated total cost of bully: $67,000
How the Healthy Workplace Bill will solve the problem
Managers who get rid of bullies benefit financially. One study shows that “companies who focus on effective internal functioning and communication enjoy a 57 percent higher total return, are more than 4.5 times more likely to have highly engaged employees, and are 20 percent more likely to report reduced turnover when compared to competitors who demonstrate ineffective communication practices” (Civility Partners LLC, 2009).
Passage of the bill will help businesses by reducing absenteeism and turnover, increasing work productivity and morale, and reducing employee benefit costs. This bill will encourage employers to prevent behaviors that destroy productivity and morale and will support public health by reducing mistreatment that harms workers and their families and adds costs to our health care system.
Holding employers accountable for creating healthy workplaces creates more jobs and is simply better for our economy.