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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: May 17, 2017 03:36 PM
From: Representative Patrick J. Harkins
To: All House members
Subject: Healthy Workplace Act
In the near future, I plan to re-introduce legislation (HB 1041) 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 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-nine states have introduced Healthy Workplace Legislation. This legislation was previously introduced last session as the former House Bill 1041 by Rep. Cohen. Please join me in co-sponsoring this important initiative.

Introduced as HB1687