Pass the Healthy Workplace Bill in Pennsylvania
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We stand up against Cyber Bullying, children bullying each other but there is no voice for the people in Pennsylvania who everyday suffer at the hands of their managers, directors and vice presidents who either are the bullies or turning a blind eye to what is happening in their companies.
This level of abuse has far reaching effect to the persons mental health, bodily health and the health of their family unit. These situations can be stopped but we all know that being the little guy in a world ruled by corporations we have little to no chance of getting our representatives to take our side and not the campaign contributions for their election campaigns from the very companies that are contributing to the amount of people on disability and social security due to workplace bullying.
We must speak up and demand that this bill be passed and have our voices heard.
Below is the Bill please consider signing it.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
No. 1041 Session of
INTRODUCED BY COHEN, BISHOP, FREEMAN, HARKINS, KINSEY, KIRKLAND,
KORTZ, O'BRIEN AND THOMAS, APRIL 21, 2015
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON LABOR AND INDUSTRY, APRIL 21, 2015
Providing legal protections from abusive work environments and
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Short title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Healthy
Section 2. Declaration of purpose.
The General Assembly finds and declares as follows:
(1) The purpose of this act is to provide legal redress
for employees who have been harmed psychologically,
physically or economically by deliberate exposure to abusive
work environments and to provide legal incentives for
employers to prevent and respond to abusive treatment of
employees at work.
(2) The social and economic well-being of this
Commonwealth is dependent upon healthy and productive
(3) At least one-third of all employees directly
experience health endangering workplace bullying, abuse and
harassment during their working lives.
(4) Workplace bullying, abuse and harassment is four
times more prevalent than sexual harassment alone.
(5) Workplace bullying, mobbing and harassment can
inflict serious harm upon targeted employees, including
feelings of shame and humiliation, severe anxiety,
depression, suicidal tendencies, impaired immune systems,
hypertension, increased risk of cardiovascular disease and
symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder.
(6) Abusive work environments can have serious
consequences for employers, including reduced employee
productivity and morale, higher turnover and absenteeism
rates and significant increases in medical and workers'
(7) Legal protection from abusive work environments
should not be limited to behavior grounded in a protected
class status as required by the act of October 27, 1955
(P.L.744, No.222), known as the Pennsylvania Human Relations
(8) Existing workers' compensation provisions and tort
law are inadequate to discourage abusive work environments or
to provide adequate redress to employees who have been harmed
by abusive work environments.
Section 3. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
(1) An act or omission intended to inflict and resulting
in physical or psychological injury, which is not injury
compensable under the act of June 2, 1915 (P.L.736, No.338),
known as the Workers' Compensation Act, if the injury
necessitates treatment by a qualified, licensed medical,
mental health or rehabilitative professional and is inflicted
by means of acts or omissions that a reasonable individual
would find abusive, based on the severity, nature and
frequency of the conduct, including, but not limited to:
(i) Repeated verbal abuse by the use of derogatory
remarks, insults and epithets.
(ii) Verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct of a
threatening, intimidating or humiliating nature.
(iii) The sabotage or undermining of an employee's
(2) It shall be considered an aggravating factor if the
conduct exploited an employee's known psychological or
physical illness or disability.
(3) A single act normally shall not constitute abusive
conduct, but an especially severe and egregious act may meet
"Abusive work environment." An employment condition when an
employer or one or more of its employees, acting with intent to
cause pain or distress to an employee, subjects an employee to
"Adverse employment action." Any materially and objectively
adverse reduction in terms, conditions or privileges of
employment, including, but not limited to:
(1) a termination, demotion, unfavorable reassignment or
failure to promote;
(2) disciplinary action; or
(3) reduction in compensation.
"Constructive discharge." An adverse employment action
(1) the employee reasonably believes that he was
subjected to an abusive work environment;
(2) the employee resigns because of the abusive conduct;
(3) the employer was aware of the abusive conduct before
the employee's resignation and fails to respond to and
prevent the abusive conduct from recurring.
"Employee." A person who performs a service for wages or
other remuneration under a contract of hire, written or oral,
express or implied, for an employer. The term does not include:
(1) Any individual employed in agriculture or in the
domestic service of any person.
(2) An individual who, as a part of the individual's
employment, resides in the personal residence of the
(3) Any individual employed by the individual's parents,
spouse or child.
"Employer." Any person, partnership, association,
organization, corporation, legal representative, trustee in
bankruptcy or receiver employing another person within this
Commonwealth. The term includes the Commonwealth and any
political subdivision, authority, board or commission of the
Commonwealth. The term does not include religious, fraternal,
charitable or sectarian corporations or associations, except
those corporations or associations supported, in whole or in
part, by governmental appropriations.
"Physical injury." The impairment of an individual's
physical health or bodily integrity, as established by competent
evidence to the satisfaction of the court.
"Psychological injury." The impairment of an individual's
mental health, as established by competent evidence to the
satisfaction of the court.
Section 4. Abusive work environment.
(a) Prohibition.--An employee may not be subjected to an
abusive work environment by an employer or other employee.
(b) Retaliation prohibited.--An employer or employee may not
retaliate in any manner against an employee who has opposed an
unlawful employment practice under this act or who has made a
charge, testified, assisted or participated in any manner in an
investigation or proceeding under this act, including, but not
limited to, by:
(1) internal complaints and proceedings;
(2) arbitration and mediation proceedings; or
(3) legal actions.
Section 5. Employer liability.
An employer shall be liable for a violation of section 4
committed by its employee. If the alleged violation of section 4
does not include an adverse employment action, it shall be an
affirmative defense for an employer only that:
(1) the employer exercised reasonable care to promptly
prevent and correct any actionable behavior; and
(2) the complainant employee unreasonably failed to take
advantage of appropriate preventive or corrective
opportunities provided by the employer.
Section 6. Employee liability.
An employee may be individually liable for a violation of
section 4. It shall be an affirmative defense for an employee
only that the employee committed a violation of section 4 at the
direction of the employer, under actual or implied threat of an
adverse employment action.
Section 7. Affirmative defenses.
An affirmative defense shall be any of the following:
(1) The complaint is based on an adverse employment
action reasonably made for poor performance, misconduct or
(2) The complaint is based on a reasonable performance
(3) The complaint is based on an employer's reasonable
investigation about potentially illegal or unethical
(4) The complaint is based on an action taken by the
employer which it was required by law to take.
Section 8. Remedies.
(a) Relief.--If a defendant has been found liable for a
violation of section 4, the court may enjoin the defendant from
engaging in the unlawful employment practice and may order any
other relief that is deemed appropriate, including, but not
limited to, any one or more of the following:
(1) Rehire, reinstatement to a position and rescission
of an adverse employment action.
(2) Removal of the offending party from the plaintiff's
(3) Payment of back pay, front pay and medical expenses.
(4) Damages for pain and suffering.
(5) Damages for emotional distress.
(6) Punitive damages.
(7) Reasonable attorney fees.
(b) Limitation.--If an employer is liable for a violation of
section 4 that did not include an adverse employment action,
emotional distress damages and punitive damages may be awarded
only when the actionable conduct was extreme and outrageous.
The limitation does not apply to individually named employee
Section 9. Enforcement.
Any person aggrieved by a violation of this act may initiate
a civil action or other proceeding in a court of competent
jurisdiction no later than one year from the date of the last
alleged violation of section 4.
Section 10. Collective bargaining or arbitration agreements.
This act shall not prevent, interfere, exempt or supersede
provisions of an employee's collective bargaining or arbitration
agreement which provides greater rights and protections than
prescribed in this act. This act shall not prevent new
provisions of the collective bargaining or arbitration agreement
that provide greater rights, remedies and protections from being
implemented and applicable to the employee within the collective
bargaining or arbitration agreement.
Section 11. Effect of other laws.
(a) Effect.--Except as provided for in subsection (b),
provisions of this act may not be deemed to exempt a person from
a liability, duty or penalty provided by any other provision of
law. The remedies provided under section 8 shall be in addition
to remedies provided under any other provision of law.
(b) Exception.--Payments of workers' compensation shall be
reimbursed from damages paid under this act if an employee
(1) for medical costs for the same injury or illness
under this act and the act of June 2, 1915 (P.L.736, No.338),
known as the Workers' Compensation Act; or
(2) in cash payments under this act and the Workers'
Compensation Act for the same period of time not working as a
result of the compensable injury or illness or unlawful
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