• We believe U.S. workers have a right to

    Psychologically safe workplaces
    where our mental health is a priority.

    Our lives depend on it.

    #EndWorkplaceAbuse

We believe all people —
regardless of their gender, race, disabilities, sexual orientation,
age, income, faith, and political affiliations –
deserve to lead healthy and productive lives
and to work in safe environments free from abuse and oppression.

Governments regulate environmental health, but who’s making sure employees’ well-being matters? Governments only hold employers accountable for sexual harassment and discrimination, meaning only those who can prove discriminatory intent have protections. But what about those who are in a protected class (think sex, race, or age) who can’t prove discriminatory intent? And what about the others who endure the same abuse but are in the same protected class as their abusers?

We shouldn’t have to quit our jobs to stop tolerating abuse at work of any kind.

Women’s suffrage. Civil rights. Gay marriage. Throughout U.S. history, movements have been the tool we’ve used to make social progress.

Our collective power is what will move the needle on creating psychologically safe workplaces. We’re building a movement advocating for psychological safety at work so workers can do the jobs we were hired to do — free from abuse of power.

It’s time to hold employers accountable.

We accept nothing less than basic respect at work.

We won’t stop until we eliminate abusive behaviors from the American workplace.

Take action below to let your state legislators know we deserve better.

PRIORITY WORKERS' RIGHTS ISSUES

PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE (WORKPLACE BULLYING AND MOBBING)

Psychological abuse at work ruins lives. It’s a misuse of power and control that violates workers’ right to psychological safety

Workplace bullying and mobbing are forms of psychological abuse that violate an employee’s right to dignity and other basic human rights: inappropriate, unprofessional behaviors involving words and/or actions severe or pervasive enough to create a harmful environment determined by a reasonable, objective person. A single severe incident of such behavior may also constitute psychological abuse, and behaviors need not be intentional. 

Workplace psychological abuse is an issue of employee exploitation. Employers are not explicitly liable for the psychological harm of their employees — nor do they want to be. At its root is avoidance of employer liability, so employers are negatively incentivized to address it even if they claim to value safe workplaces. 

Workplace psychological abuse is highly affiliated with physical and/or mental health injuries. It is 4x more prevalent than sexual harassment alone. The phenomenon has been dubbed a silent epidemic and is a public health threat affecting over 60 million employees in the United States in 2017 (the equivalent of the entire population of Italy).

Abuse of power is often a symptom of implicit bias — a problem anti-discrimination law stopped helping since the ‘90s when courts moved from focusing on impact to intent. Intent is a high threshold that makes the law an epic failure when it comes to disrupting hierarchies at work around demographics.

HOW IT WORKS

Workplace bullying typically begins when one employee, generally insecure and threatened by competence, targets an unsuspecting employee to minimize and/or eliminate the perceived threat the target poses. The bully often abuses their power using psychological harassment to control the narrative and convince the target and other employees that the target is a problem. Common tactics include:

Taking away responsibility without just cause
Withholding information without just cause
False accusations, including bogus reviews
Verbal abuse (put-downs, name-calling)
Persistent criticism
Rumors or otherwise damaging one’s reputation
Ignoring or excluding someone
Unreasonably heavy workloads

Employees generally don’t feel safe speaking up about abuse. They know representative employees act in the best interests of the company. In hostile work environments, higher-ups prioritize avoiding liability over well-being. When targeted employees do report abusive behavior to the proper workplace authorities in these environments, workplace mobbing begins. The employer’s representative employees typically mislead the target to believe the employer has a legitimate complaint process in place to remedy the problem.

The employer does not alter the target’s work environment. The employer/its representative employees never remove the stressor. The bully continues to harass and abuse the target without consequence or deterrent and feels emboldened. The representative employees string the target along by prolonging the complaint process. The targeted and further victimized employee voluntarily leaves, dies, or is fired after succumbing to the silent killer stress and its subsequent physical and mental injury. Game over. The employer wins. The threat of liability is gone. 

Trauma occurs in the aftermath. When the targeted and victimized employee realizes both the absence of legal recourse and the institutional complicity of tampering with their health and forcing them off the payroll to avoid liability, trauma occurs. Who’s picking up the tab for the long-term health care of millions of unemployed citizens and basic needs costs? You are: the taxpayer.

HUMAN COSTS
Psychological distress (anxiety, depression, burnout)
Physiological outcome (heart disease, obesity, sleep problems, cancer, PTSD, suicidal thoughts, suicide)
Job and/or career loss and other financial harm

ORGANIZATION COSTS
Higher absenteeism, turnover, training costs, and employee benefits costs
Lower task performance, productivity, and morale

TAKE ACTION
Massachusetts

AT-WILL EMPLOYMENT

Fear of getting pushed out or terminated for any reason except discrimination means workers can’t speak up for their rights without fear of consequences.

Employees are at the will of their employers aside from difficult-to-prove discrimination. Once employers push workers out, workers have no rights.

The at-will employment bill prohibiting constructive discharge and wrongful termination addresses this rampant issue. If passed, workers would have a baseline of rights.

TAKE ACTION
Massachusetts

PASSED
Montana

"to end sexual harassment on the job, end workplace bullying."

workplace abuse and #metoo

"Policymakers have enjoyed a free pass in discussions over what to do in response to the sexual harassment allegations taking down Hollywood producers, news media titans and actors. Because the worst of the transgressions already are illegal, lawmakers seem satisfied to call for culprits to be fired or to step down and for corporate and industry leaders to promise that they’ll crack down on offenders more quickly in the future. But legislators can do more to address the problem. They can make workplace bullying illegal. Too many corporate leaders find it expedient to look the other way when bosses — especially ones they deem indispensable — systematically intimidate and humiliate underlings. Bullies who believe that their whims matter more than other people’s dignity often don’t see why their sexual impulses shouldn’t be just as indulged."
David Lieberman
LA Times
word's getting out.

workplace abuse in the media

How Toxic Work Cultures Are Driving the Great Resignation
Brené Brown with
Dr. Donald Sull & Charlie Sull
March 7, 2022

The New York Times logo

How Scott Rudin weilded his power in show business
Michael Paulson and
Cara Buckley
April 24, 2021

survivors of workplace abuse

bill of rights

We're committed to ensuring that all workers are guaranteed working environments in which they're treated with dignity. Every worker should have a right to feel:
  1. Safe. Workers should have a right to a workplace free of verbal abuse, threats, sabotage, and abuse of any kind.
  2. A sense of belonging. Workers should have a right to feel like we are included in an organization and part of a team.
  3. Valued. Workers should have a right to feel like our contributions have worth and importance.
  4. Respected. Workers should have a right to dignity and have our human needs and individual strengths and weaknesses honored.
  5. Healthy. Workers should have a right to feel strong. We should have a right to work in environments that promote well-being.
  6. Accomplished. Workers should have a right to information and resources necessary to do our jobs well so we can feel productive.
  7. Supported. Workers should have a right to feel heard and receive appropriate responses when we voice concerns.
  8. Fairly treated. Workers should have a right to reasonable expectations and similar standards for our colleagues.
  9. Empowered. Workers should have a right to have power and control over our work for confidence and strength.
  10. Part of a greater purpose. Workers should have a right to play a meaningful role in the reason our organizations exists.

ALL WORKERS' RIGHTS ISSUES WE SUPPORT

ABUSIVE WAIVERS

In their next job search, workers might encounter employers asking them to waive their rights to basic protections. The abusive waivers bill would void provisions in contracts waiving rights or remedies relating to claims of discrimination, nonpayment of wages or benefits, retaliation, or harassment in employment. California, Maryland, New York, Vermont, and Washington have already banned these waivers.

TAKE ACTION
Massachusetts

PASSED
California

AT-WILL EMPLOYMENT

Employees are at the will of their employers aside from difficult-to-prove discrimination. Once employers push these workers out, workers have no rights. The at-will employment bill prohibiting constructive discharge and wrongful termination would address this rampant issue. Montana is the only state to ban at-will employment.

TAKE ACTION
Massachusetts

BEREAVEMENT LEAVE

Workers deserve time off to properly grieve a loved one without worrying about losing their jobs. Bereavement leave bills would give workers time off to address the death.

TAKE ACTION
California
Indiana
Massachusetts

CREDIT REPORTS

Employers should not use credit reports or ask candidates to disclose their credit worthiness, standing, or capacity as criteria for employment.

TAKE ACTION
Iowa
Massachusetts

PASSED
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Hawaii
Illinois

CRIMINAL HISTORY

Employers shouldn’t be able to ask about criminal history if it doesn’t apply directly to the role.

TAKE ACTION
Alabama
Arizona
Iowa

PASSED
California
Illinois

DISCRIMINATION AGAINST NATURAL HAIRSTYLES

Rules about hairstyles are too often downright racist. The Crown Act aims to make discrimination against natural hairstyles illegal.

TAKE ACTION
Alabama
Alaska
Arkansas
Georgia

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Victims of domestic violence and family members of them sometimes experience discharge or others forms of discrimination at work or in the hiring process. But they deserve reasonable accommodations at work rather than forced to take leave if the accommodations won’t impose undue hardships on employers.

TAKE ACTION
Georgia
Massachusetts

PASSED
Illinois

INJURED WORKERS

We need stronger anti-retaliation law. This bill provides for an administrative complaint and investigation mechanism for enforcement and otherwise addresses employer misconduct that prevents workers from receiving timely medical care and benefits.

TAKE ACTION
Massachusetts

MEDICARE FOR ALL

Guaranteed equitable health care access for all through a single payer health care financing system will ensure healthcare without regard to financial or employment status, ethnicity, race, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, previous health problems, or geographic location. This safety net will make it easier for workers to leave toxic workplaces. The act will provide access to healthcare services that are continuous, without the current need for repeated re-enrollments or changes when employers choose new plans and residents change jobs. Coverage shall be comprehensive and affordable, with no co-insurance, co-payments, or deductibles.

TAKE ACTION
California
Massachusetts

MINIMUM WAGE

Workers shouldn’t have to work multiple jobs to pay for basic living expenses. This bill would raise the minimum wage over several years to $15 per hour.

TAKE ACTION
Alabama
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Indiana
Iowa
Massachusetts
Rhode Island

PASSED
California
Illinois

NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS

When employers use settlements with their presumed guilt and/or to save money, they often add gag clauses to protect their reputations. Yet those gag clauses silence targets and embolden serial abusers. The Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) bill would ban NDAs, protections that 12 other states already have.

TAKE ACTION
Hawaii
Massachusetts
Rhode Island

PASSED
California
Illinois

ONE FAIR WAGE FOR
TIPPED EMPLOYEES

Our tipped workers (restaurant workers, drivers, and grocery pickers and deliverers) don’t make enough money to qualify for unemployment insurance in ways that non-tipped workers do. The One Fair Wage bill phases out the discriminatory subminimum wage for tipped workers that disproportionately affected women, making it gradually match the regular minimum wage.

TAKE ACTION
Massachusetts

PAID FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE AND PAID SICK LEAVE

We all do better when the underrepresented and vulnerable are protected under the law and treated with dignity and respect. We have the resources to provide a high quality of life for all, as long as we have the political will. Support paid family and medical leave and paid sick leave.

TAKE ACTION
Arizona
Georgia
Idaho
Indiana
Iowa

PASSED
California
Connecticut
Massachusetts

PAY DISCLOSURE

When workers disclose their pay history, employers can continue past discriminatory practices. This bill would ban employers from asking about pay history so workers in certain demographics can make salaries equitable to workers in more privileged demographics. Variations allow employees to talk about their pay with co-workers.

TAKE ACTION
Arizona
Georgia
Indiana
Iowa
Rhode Island

PAY EQUITY

This bill would require employers to assess and correct pay disparities based on race, sex, and other characteristics.

TAKE ACTION
Arkansas
California (next step only)
Florida
Indiana
Rhode Island

PASSED
California
Illinois

PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE
(WORKPLACE BULLYING AND MOBBING)

Workplace bullying is a severe and pervasive phenomenon in the US involving a violation of the basic human right to dignity. Bullying tactics include false accusations, exclusion, withholding necessary resources, sabotage, verbal abuse, put-downs, and unreasonable demands — resulting in a host of stress-related symptoms including anxiety, depression, PTSD, and suicide ideation. This bill would hold employers accountable for abusive conduct.

TAKE ACTION
Massachusetts

PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION

Pregnant employees deserve rights. Variations of this bill require that employers provide reasonable accommodations for employees related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions unless the accommodation would cause an undue hardship on the employer.

TAKE ACTION
Alabama
Iowa

PTSD AND
FIRST RESPONDERS

This bill requires compensation for police officers, correction officers, firefighters, and other emergency personnel diagnosed with PTSD for their mental health injuries on the job. Passage of this bill would say psychological injury on the job deserves compensation.

TAKE ACTION
Alabama
Arkansas
Florida
Georgia

RIGHT TO STRIKE FOR PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

Withholding labor is a fundamental human right. Strikes and the threat of them are a part of the collective bargaining process, especially for teachers, police, and firefighters. This bill calls for a repeal of a state law that bans public sector workers from going on strike.

TAKE ACTION
Massachusetts

SCHEDULING FOR
HOURLY EMPLOYEES

Hourly workers deserve respect for their time and their ability to pay basic living expenses. The Fair Scheduling/Fair Workweek bill would provide workers the right to 14 days advance notice of hours, request specific hours without retaliation from the employer, rest for 11 hours between shifts, the offering of additional available hours before an employer can hire a new employee to fill them, and collect unemployment benefits when an employer’s failure to comply with Fair Scheduling practices is the worker’s reason for leaving a job.

TAKE ACTION
Massachusetts

PASSED
California (San Francisco only)
Illinois (Chicago only)

 

SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY DISCRIMINATION

Variations of legislation add sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression to protected class status.

TAKE ACTION
Arizona

WAGE DATA REPORTING

Public reporting of the gender and racial makeup of workforces and de-identified wage and salary data available by protected category is crucial for employer accountability for bias. If the data were made public, it would allow potential plaintiffs and attorneys an opportunity to assess the likelihood that illegal discrimination plays a role in the reward structures of employers. While the data may reveal equity, in many cases it could reveal disparities that employers could voluntarily remedy or allow workers to file suit. California has already passed the Fair Pay Act that protects the rights of workers to ask about the compensation of coworkers in similar jobs.

TAKE ACTION
Iowa
Massachusetts

WAGE THEFT

This bill would hold lead contractors accountable for the wage theft violations of their subcontractors as long as there is a significant connection to their business activities or operations. It would also protect workers from wage theft violations such as failure to make wage payments, failure to abide by minimum wage, prevailing wage and overtime laws, and independent contractor misclassification and strengthen workers’ protection against retaliation. Ultimately, it would promote fair competition by ensuring that all businesses, including lead contractors, play by the rules and give their workers an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work.

TAKE ACTION
Arkansas
Connecticut
Illinois
Iowa
Massachusetts
Rhode Island

PASSED
California
Florida

WAGE TRANSPARENCY

Massachusetts lawmakers made it illegal to ask about salary history, understanding the discriminatory impact of the question with accumulative differences among demographics. But employers can still ask for desired salary ranges, having the same effect. Instead, this bill calls for employer providing the pay scale for a particular employment position, which also benefits employers.

TAKE ACTION
Massachusetts

KNOW OF OTHER WORKERS' RIGHTS BILLS IN YOUR STATE?

Email us with corrections and additions at info@endworkplaceabuse.com.

Be part of history.

take action in your state.

It's time to end

the abuse.

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