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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: March 13, 2013 10:22 AM
From: Representative Mark B. Cohen
To: All House members
Subject: Healthy Workplace Legislation

In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation providing for court-ordered relief to victims of workplace bullying.

Workplace bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons by one or more perpetrators that takes one of the following forms:

  • Verbal abuse;
  • Offensive conduct/behaviors (including nonverbal) which are threatening, humiliating or intimidating; and
  • Work interference – sabotage – undermining of an employee’s work performance.

Workplace bullying affects 37% of adult Americans. In its more severe forms, it triggers a host of stress-related health complications -- hypertension, auto-immune disorders, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) -- often disrupting an individual’s immediate job and career. My proposal would permit courts to provide relief to victims who do not already fit into a protected class based on race, gender, age, or national origin as outlined in the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. Courts would be permitted to order relief as they deem appropriate, including, but not limited to, reinstatement, removal of the offender from the work environment, reimbursement for lost wages, medical expenses, compensation for pain and suffering, compensation for emotional distress, punitive damages and attorney fees.

Twenty-three states have introduced Healthy Workplace Legislation and more than 300 legislators have sponsored Healthy Workplace bills since the movement began in 2001. Please join me in co-sponsoring this important initiative.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Kathy Seidl at kseidl@pahouse.net or 7-4117.

Thank you.

Introduced as HB1179