H.B. NO.



H.D. 1
















     SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that healthy and productive employees are the cornerstones of successful businesses and a prosperous economy.  Unfortunately, many employees are subjected to unhealthy, abusive work environments where workplace bullying, abuse, and harassment are prevalent occurrences.  As a result, these employees may experience physical and psychological harm, which negatively impacts job performance and job safety, often manifesting in injuries and illnesses.  The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recognizes general harassment, including workplace bullying, as a form of workplace violence.

     Workplace bullying has been defined by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health as the repeated intimidation, slandering, social isolation, or humiliation by one or more persons against another.  Congress has found that employee injuries and illness that arise out of work situations impose a substantial burden on businesses.  The legislature further finds that many employers have policies in place to address such problems in the workplace, but employees may be unaware of their resources when faced with an abusive workplace environment. 

     Accordingly, the purpose of this Act is to require public employers to post notices in their offices to better inform employees of what abusive conduct is and what redress is available to those suffering from such abuse.

     SECTION 2.  Chapter 78, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"§78-      Abusive conduct in the workplace; posting; requirements.  (a)  Every employer shall post and keep posted in a conspicuous place in the workplace that is readily accessible to employees a poster no smaller than eight and one-half inches by eleven inches in size that includes:

     (1)  A description of conduct that qualifies as abusive conduct; 

     (2)  An explanation of the remedies available to an employee who is experiencing abusive conduct in the workplace; and

     (3)  The actions necessary for an employee to take to pursue those remedies, including the contact information of the primary person responsible for handling complaints of alleged abusive conduct in the workplace, and for an alternative contact in cases where the primary person is the perpetrator of the alleged abusive conduct.

     (b)  As used in this section:

     "Abusive conduct" means:

     (1)  Conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace that a reasonable person would find hostile, threatening, humiliating, intimidating, or offensive;

     (2)  Subjection of an employee by the employee's employer to an abusive work environment; or

     (3)  Retaliation in any manner against an employee because the employee filed a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation or proceeding relating to abusive conduct or abusive work environment, including internal proceedings, arbitration or mediation proceedings, and legal actions.

     Abusive conduct includes repeated infliction of:

     (1)  Verbal abuse, such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults, and epithets;

     (2)  Verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find hostile, threatening, humiliating, intimidating, or offensive;

     (3)  Sabotage or undermining of a person's work performance; or

     (4)  Interference with subsequent work opportunities by defamatory evaluation. 

A single act normally may constitute abusive conduct if the act is especially severe and egregious; provided that the severity, nature, and frequency of any conduct objected to shall be considered in determining whether acts constitute abusive conduct.

     "Abusive work environment" means a workplace where an employee is subjected to abusive conduct that is so severe that it causes physical or psychological harm to the employee.

     "Conduct" means all forms of behavior, including acts and omissions of acts.

     "Employee" means any public employee of the State or any county, and the political subdivisions and agencies thereof, any employees under contract with the State or county, any civil service employees, and any probationary or provisional employees of the State or county."

     SECTION 3.  New statutory material is underscored.

     SECTION 4.  This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2014



Report Title:

Abusive Work Environment; Public Employment



Requires public employers to post a poster with information describing what actions constitute abusive conduct in the workplace and what redress is available to public employees experiencing abusive conduct in the workplace.  (HB272 HD1)




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