Issues 2016: Workplace Bullying

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Workplace Bullying
Senate Bill 689 / House Bill 1104: SUPPORT

Workplace bullying and intimidation by management has been a consistent complaint by employees of state agencies for years. To address this matter, AFT-Maryland is proposing a bill that will provide a framework for curtailing and preventing inappropriate behavior on the parts of the state’s supervisory personnel.

AFT-Maryland’s proposed legislation seeks to establish a Task Force on Workplace Bullying in state agencies. The bill provides for the composition, chair, and staffing of the Task Force and requires the Task Force to study, make recommendations, report those findings and recommendations to the Governor and to certain standing committees of the General Assembly.

The legislation calls for the Task Force to consist of the cochairs (or their designees) of the Joint Committees on Fair Practices and State Personnel Oversight; the Secretary of Budget and Management; the Secretary of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation; an assistant Attorney General with experience in labor and employment law, appointed by the Attorney General; the Executive Director of AFT-Maryland, (or the Executive Director’s designee); the Executive Director of AFSCME Maryland (or the Executive Director’s designee); and six representatives of stakeholder organizations, including labor organizations, appointed by the Governor.

The legislation calls for Secretary of Budget and Management (or the Secretary’s designee), to chair the Task Force and for the that Department to provide staff for the Task Force. Specifically, the legislation calls for the Task Force to study the effects of workplace bullying in state agencies, and to develop a survey that can be used to collect data regarding the prevalence of workplace bullying in State agencies and statistics on the characteristics of employees who are bullied. Such characteristics will include age, gender, ethnicity, and education level.

The Task Force is to make recommendations regarding methods of reporting and tracking workplace bullying in state agencies, to develop a definition of workplace bullying that can be used uniformly across state agencies; and to address practices and procedures to prevent workplace bullying in state agencies, including the possibility of implementing training and bullying awareness programs.

The Task Force shall report its findings and recommendations to the Governor and to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Economic Matters Committee.

AFT-Maryland believes that the bullying, intimidation, and/or harassment of employees is counter-productive and unprofessional, and that the state needs to develop specific mechanisms to address and end such behaviors. AFT-Maryland has secured the assistance of Senator C. Anthony Muse to introduce SB689 and Delegate Pat Young to introduce HB1104 to address these issues.

 

AFT-Maryland Legislative Issues 2016
For more information, contact Terence Cooper, Director of Legislative Affairs, AFT-Maryland, tcooper@aftmd.org, or Todd Reynolds, Political Coordinator, treynolds@aftmd.org.