HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 802        FILED ON: 1/14/2019

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1416

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Denise C. Garlick and Kimberly N. Ferguson

_________________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act requiring health care employers to develop and implement programs to prevent workplace violence.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Denise C. Garlick

13th Norfolk

Kimberly N. Ferguson

1st Worcester

Brian M. Ashe

2nd Hampden

Bruce J. Ayers

1st Norfolk

Ruth B. Balser

12th Middlesex

Christine P. Barber

34th Middlesex

F. Jay Barrows

1st Bristol

David Biele

4th Suffolk

Paul Brodeur

32nd Middlesex

Antonio F. D. Cabral

13th Bristol

Peter Capano

11th Essex

Gerard J. Cassidy

9th Plymouth

Tackey Chan

2nd Norfolk

Mike Connolly

26th Middlesex

Edward F. Coppinger

10th Suffolk

William L. Crocker, Jr.

2nd Barnstable

Daniel R. Cullinane

12th Suffolk

Mark J. Cusack

5th Norfolk

Josh S. Cutler

6th Plymouth

Angelo L. D'Emilia

8th Plymouth

Michael S. Day

31st Middlesex

Marjorie C. Decker

25th Middlesex

Daniel M. Donahue

16th Worcester

Shawn Dooley

9th Norfolk

Michelle M. DuBois

10th Plymouth

Carolyn C. Dykema

8th Middlesex

Nika C. Elugardo

15th Suffolk

Tricia Farley-Bouvier

3rd Berkshire

Dylan A. Fernandes

Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket

Sean Garballey

23rd Middlesex

Colleen M. Garry

36th Middlesex

Carmine Lawrence Gentile

13th Middlesex

Susan Williams Gifford

2nd Plymouth

Thomas A. Golden, Jr.

16th Middlesex

Carlos González

10th Hampden

Kenneth I. Gordon

21st Middlesex

Tami L. Gouveia

14th Middlesex

Danielle W. Gregoire

4th Middlesex

Patricia A. Haddad

5th Bristol

James K. Hawkins

2nd Bristol

Stephan Hay

3rd Worcester

Jonathan Hecht

29th Middlesex

Natalie M. Higgins

4th Worcester

Kate Hogan

3rd Middlesex

Kevin G. Honan

17th Suffolk

Louis L. Kafka

8th Norfolk

Hannah Kane

11th Worcester

Patrick Joseph Kearney

4th Plymouth

Mary S. Keefe

15th Worcester

Kay Khan

11th Middlesex

Kathleen R. LaNatra

12th Plymouth

John J. Lawn, Jr.

10th Middlesex

David Henry Argosky LeBoeuf

17th Worcester

Jack Patrick Lewis

7th Middlesex

David Paul Linsky

5th Middlesex

Jay D. Livingstone

8th Suffolk

Adrian C. Madaro

1st Suffolk

John J. Mahoney

13th Worcester

Elizabeth A. Malia

11th Suffolk

Paul W. Mark

2nd Berkshire

Joseph W. McGonagle, Jr.

28th Middlesex

Paul McMurtry

11th Norfolk

Joan Meschino

3rd Plymouth

Christina A. Minicucci

14th Essex

Rady Mom

18th Middlesex

Mathew J. Muratore

1st Plymouth

James M. Murphy

4th Norfolk

Brian W. Murray

10th Worcester

David M. Nangle

17th Middlesex

Harold P. Naughton, Jr.

12th Worcester

Tram T. Nguyen

18th Essex

Sarah K. Peake

4th Barnstable

Elizabeth A. Poirier

14th Bristol

Denise Provost

27th Middlesex

Angelo J. Puppolo, Jr.

12th Hampden

David Allen Robertson

19th Middlesex

David M. Rogers

24th Middlesex

John H. Rogers

12th Norfolk

Daniel J. Ryan

2nd Suffolk

Lindsay N. Sabadosa

1st Hampshire

Jon Santiago

9th Suffolk

Alan Silvia

7th Bristol

Thomas M. Stanley

9th Middlesex

José F. Tosado

9th Hampden

Steven Ultrino

33rd Middlesex

Aaron Vega

5th Hampden

John C. Velis

4th Hampden

RoseLee Vincent

16th Suffolk

Thomas P. Walsh

12th Essex

Timothy R. Whelan

1st Barnstable

Susannah M. Whipps

2nd Franklin

Jonathan D. Zlotnik

2nd Worcester

Walter F. Timilty

Norfolk, Bristol and Plymouth

Patrick M. O'Connor

Plymouth and Norfolk

Diana DiZoglio

First Essex

Michael D. Brady

Second Plymouth and Bristol

James B. Eldridge

Middlesex and Worcester

Marc R. Pacheco

First Plymouth and Bristol

Rebecca L. Rausch

Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex

Julian Cyr

Cape and Islands

Paul R. Feeney

Bristol and Norfolk

Jason M. Lewis

Fifth Middlesex


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 802        FILED ON: 1/14/2019

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1416

By Representatives Garlick of Needham and Ferguson of Holden, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 1416) of Denise C. Garlick, Kimberly N. Ferguson and others relative to providing protections for health care employees who are victims of violence or assault and battery.  The Judiciary.

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 

_______________

In the One Hundred and Ninety-First General Court
(2019-2020)

_______________

 

An Act requiring health care employers to develop and implement programs to prevent workplace violence.

 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

SECTION 1. Chapter 111 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2018 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after section 236, the following new section:-

Section 237. (a) As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:-

“Employee”, an individual employed by a health care employer as defined in this section.

“Health care employer”, any individual, partnership, association, corporation or, trust or any person or group of persons operating a health care facility as defined in this section.

“Health care facility”, a hospital, licensed under section fifty-one of chapter one hundred and eleven, the teaching hospital of the University of Massachusetts medical school, or any state facility operated, funded, or subject to oversight by the Department of Public Health, the Department of Mental Health or the Department of Developmental Services.

“Workplace Violence”, any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site ranging from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and homicide.

(b) Each health care employer shall annually perform a risk assessment, in cooperation with the employees of the health care employer and any labor organization or organizations representing the employees, examining all factors, which may put any of the employees at risk of workplace violence. The factors shall include, but not be limited to: working in public settings; guarding or maintaining property or possessions; working in high-crime areas; working late night or early morning hours; working alone or in small numbers; uncontrolled public access to the workplace; working in public areas where people are in crisis; working in areas where a patient or resident may exhibit violent behavior; working in areas with known security problems and working with a staffing pattern insufficient to address foreseeable risk factors.

(c) Based on the findings of the risk assessment, the health care employer shall develop and implement a program to minimize the danger of workplace violence to employees, which shall include appropriate employee training, and a system for the ongoing reporting and monitoring of incidents and situations involving violence or the risk of violence. Employee training shall include, in addition to all employer training program policies, methods of reporting to appropriate public safety officials, bodies or agencies and processes necessary for the filing of criminal charges. Each health care employer shall develop a written violence prevention plan setting forth the employer’s workplace violence prevention plan. The health care employer shall make the plan available to each employee and provide the plan to any of its employees upon request. The health care employer shall provide the plan to any labor organization or organizations representing any of its employees. The plan shall include: (i) a list of those factors and circumstances that may pose a danger to employees; (ii) a description of the methods that the health care employer will use to alleviate hazards associated with each factor; including, but not limited to, employee training and any appropriate changes in job design, staffing, security, equipment or facilities; (iii) a post-incident debriefing process with affected staff; and (iv) a description of the reporting and monitoring system.

(d) Each health care employer shall designate a senior manager responsible for the development and support of an in-house crisis response team for employee-victims of workplace violence. Said team shall implement an assaulted staff action program that includes, but is not limited to, group crisis interventions, individual crisis counseling, staff victims’ support groups, employee victims’ family crisis intervention, peer-help and professional referrals.

(e) The commissioner of public health shall adopt rules and regulations necessary to implement the purposes of this act. The rules and regulations shall include such guidelines as the commissioner deems appropriate regarding workplace violence prevention programs required pursuant to this act, and related reporting and monitoring systems and employee training.

(f) Any health care employer who violates any rule, regulation or requirement made by the department under authority hereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than two thousand dollars for each offense. The department or its representative or any person aggrieved, any interested party or any officer of any labor union or association, whether incorporated or otherwise, may file a written complaint with the district court in the jurisdiction of which the violation occurs and shall promptly notify the attorney general in writing of such complaint. The attorney general, upon determination that there is a violation of any workplace standard relative to the protection of the occupational health and safety of employees or of any standard of requirement of licensure, may order any work site to be closed by way of the issuance of a cease and desist order enforceable in the appropriate courts of the commonwealth.

(g) No employee shall be penalized by a health care employer in any way as a result of such employee’s filing of a complaint or otherwise providing notice to the department in regard to the occupational health and safety of such employee or their fellow employees exposed to workplace violence risk factors.

SECTION 2. Section 13I of Chapter 265 of the General Laws as appearing in the 2018 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting at the end the following section:-

Section XX: Any emergency medical technician, ambulance operator, ambulance attendant or a health care provider as defined in section 1 of chapter 111, who is the victim of assault or assault and battery in the line of duty shall be given the option of providing the address of the health care facility where the assault or assault and battery occurred. In instances where the address of the health care facility is used, the health care facility shall ensure that the individual receives any documents pertaining to the assault or assault and battery within 24 hours of receipt by the health care facility. The health care facility shall demonstrate that it has provided any and all documentation by obtaining a signature from the individual acknowledging receipt.

SECTION 3. Each health care employer shall report every six months all incidents of assault and assault and battery under Section 13I of Chapter 265 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2018 Official Edition, to the department and the office of the district attorney. These reports shall be made publicly available within 90 days of receipt by these departments and the office of the district attorney.

SECTION 4. Chapter 265 of the General Laws as so appearing, is hereby amended after Section 13I by inserting at the end the following sections:-

Section XX. (a) For purposes of this section, the following words shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

“Employee”, an individual employed by a health care employer as defined in this section.

“Health care employer”, any individual, partnership, association, corporation or, trust or any person or group of persons operating a health care facility as defined in this section.

“Health care facility”, a hospital, licensed under section fifty-one of chapter one hundred and eleven, the teaching hospital of the University of Massachusetts medical school, or any state facility operated, funded, or subject to oversight by the Department of Public Health, the Department of Mental Health or the Department of Developmental Services.

(b) A health care employer shall permit an employee to take up to 7 days of leave from work in any 12 month period if: (i) the employee is a victim of assault or assault and battery which occurred in the line of duty; (ii) the employee is using the leave from work to: seek or obtain victim services or legal assistance; obtain a protective order from a court; appear in court or before a grand jury; meet with a district attorney or other law enforcement official or to address other issues directly related to the assault and battery.

(c) The leave taken under this section shall be paid.

(d) An employee seeking leave from work under this section shall provide appropriate advance notice of the leave to the employer as required by the employer's leave policy.

(e) A health care employer may require an employee to provide documentation evidencing that the employee has been a victim of assault or assault and battery sustained in the line of duty and that the leave taken is consistent with the conditions of clauses (i) and (ii).

(f) If an unscheduled absence occurs, the health care employer shall not take any negative action against the employee if the employee, within 30 days from the unauthorized absence or within 30 days from the last unauthorized absence in the instance of consecutive days of unauthorized absences, provides documentation that the unscheduled absence meets the criteria of clauses (i) and (ii).

(g) An employee shall provide such documentation to the health care employer within a reasonable period after the health care employer requests documentation relative to the employee’s absence.

(h) All information related to the employee's leave under this section shall be kept confidential by the health care employer and shall not be disclosed, except to the extent that disclosure is: (i) requested or consented to, in writing, by the employee; (ii) ordered to be released by a court of competent jurisdiction; (iii) otherwise required by applicable federal or state law; (iv) required in the course of an investigation authorized by law enforcement, including, but not limited to, an investigation by the attorney general; or (v) necessary to protect the safety of the employee or others employed at the workplace.

(i) An employee seeking leave under this section shall not have to exhaust all annual leave, vacation leave, personal leave or sick leave available to the employee, prior to requesting or taking leave under this section.

(j) No health care employer shall coerce, interfere with, restrain or deny the exercise of, or any attempt to exercise, any rights provided under this section or to make leave requested or taken hereunder contingent upon whether or not the victim maintains contact with the alleged abuser.

(k) No health care employer shall discharge or in any other manner discriminate against an employee for exercising the employee’s rights under this section. The taking of leave under this section shall not result in the loss of any employment benefit accrued prior to the date on which the leave taken under this section commenced. Upon the employee’s return from such leave, the employee shall be entitled to restoration to the employee’s original job or to an equivalent position.

(l) The attorney general shall enforce this section and may seek injunctive relief or other equitable relief to enforce this section.

(m) Health care employers shall notify each employee of the rights and responsibilities provided by this section including those related to notification requirements and confidentiality.

(n) This section shall not be construed to exempt an employer from complying with chapter 258B, section 14B of chapter 268 or any other general or special law or to limit the rights of any employee under said chapter 258B, said section 14B of chapter 268 or any other general or special law.