Archive for November, 2014

Trayvon Martin Act Report

November 27, 2014

There will be no Community Party Hartford News column this week, due to a Hartford Arts & Heritage special edition of the paper. Next week’s column will feature commentary on the Michael Brown case and the accompanying social justice movement in Ferguson. I’ll also talk about a recent Central Connecticut State University forum on policing in the Black community, which included a display of hypocrisy by the Black Misleadership Class. This week we’ll share the video from an October 2013 racial profiling forum in Hartford. Mary Sanders, who wrote CP’s Trayvon Martin Act, talks about the REAL history of this issue in Connecticut, specifically CP’s role in reforming the Alvin W. Penn Act, the state racial profiling law. In August I talked about how Courant reporter Daniela Altimari and Christine Stuart of CT News Junkie engaged in revisionist history with members of the so-called Racial Profiling Prohibition Project.

Mary appears at about the 1 hour, 44 minute mark of the Connecticut Network video, followed by Adam Osmond. The shooting of Michael Brown by patrol officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson has resulted in a nationwide push to pass a federal law requiring state, county and local police to wear cameras. CP will add a camera provision to the 2015 Trayvon Act. State Representative Matt Ritter’s 2015 racial profiling legislation will include CP’s traffic stop receipt provision.  Stay tuned!


Safe Work Environment Act Report

November 20, 2014

This column appears in the November 20 – 26 edition of the Hartford News… Sen. Gary Holder-Winfield will introduce the Community Party’s Safe Work Environment Act in 2015.   In the coming months we’ll share information on the legal aspects of workplace bullying. Workers must educate themselves about the law in order to empower themselves. A study found that 15% of total adult suicides in the U.S.are related to abusive workplace conduct, which the Department of Health and Human Services says is the equivalent of domestic violence.

This week we’ll share Part 1 of a three-part series from the Undercover Lawyer website ( on the definition of a hostile workplace environment. Check out our Resources section for an Undercover Lawyer podcast on what defense lawyers tell bully bosses.
What Is the Definition of a Hostile Work Environment? (PART 1 of 3)
Question: What is the Definition of a Hostile Work Environment?
Answer: There are actually two types of “Hostile Work Environments”: 1) legal; and 2) illegal.  To see which you are experiencing, consider the story of Lenora.
Perhaps you have experienced something like Lenora, a conscientious nurse who loved her patients and felt valued at work — until her co-worker became her boss.
Lenora worked as a nurse at a hospital in California and felt fortunate to have her job, until administration promoted Lenora’s co-worker Michelle to be the new Head Nurse. Sure Michelle was a good nurse, but after her promotion Michelle dramatically changed from a pleasant if shy co-worker into an angry tyrant. Michelle raised her voice at many of the nurses, but singled Lenora out for particularly harsh bouts of yelling, often in front of other employees. If two or more nurses were standing and talking, or, assisting in an emergency, then Michelle would yell only at Lenora and not the other nurse.
Being Singled Out For Abuse Contributes to a Hostile Work Environment

A Co-Worker Can Become a Bully Boss
Michelle began talking like Lenora was in serious trouble for her performance. Lenora, however, had no idea what she was doing wrong. One day Lenora was looking at a patient’s records on a computer when she stopped and turned around to answer a question by a CNA. Michelle came swooping over and exploded at Lenora for “violating HIPAA.” Lenora just said “What are you talking about?”, which only made Michelle more angry. Michelle said “I’m talking about patient rights. I’m talking about none of your co-workers want to work with you! I’m talking about you better shape up or you are out of here!” Lenora looked at the CNA who just shrugged his shoulders. Lenora felt confused and unfairly singled out and alone. She started to cry. Michelle just walked away.
The next day Lenora called in sick for the first time in 10 years. Over her 18 year nursing career Lenora knew that she had never received a “bad” appraisal; each year her performance reviews, if one was done at all, were positive. But now she felt attacked for doing the same things that had made her a good nurse. Lenora felt so sick at the idea of going back to work that she was thinking of going to see her own doctor. She wondered if she needed to consider anti-depressants. She called in sick a second day in a row and decided to call her brother-in-law, Curt, who was a lawyer in a big firm.
Nitpicking and Yelling Contribute to a Hostile Workplace

Nitpicking Boss Causes Hostile Work Environment

Does it feel like you can’t do anything right?
Two Definitions of Hostile Work Environment
What Curt first said to Lenora shocked her: “There’s nothing illegal about a hostile work environment.” Lenora was mad. That didn’t seem right at all. She knew that what she was going through was wrong. No one should be harassed at work the way she was.
Curt tried to explain. “There’s really two types of hostile work environments: legal and illegal. A legal hostile work environment is when a jerk of a boss causes an employee to feel so completely stressed out with unfair, mean treatment that the employee feels he or she may have to quit to save their health. The bully boss yells, treats the employee unfairly, blames the employee for anything that goes wrong, and constantly threatens discipline or even termination.
“An illegal hostile work environment is caused by a boss who is not just a jerk, but also a bigot. The work environment must be stressful because the boss is hostile toward a protected class like race, religion, national origin, gender, age, disability and the like. In other words, to be illegal the boss must treat you unfairly because you are part of one of these legally protected classes. Treating you unfairly for any other reason is not legally prohibited.
The Law Does Not Require Supervisors to be Civil
“So” Lenora said to Curt, “my boss Michelle can single me out to be her scape goat, and there’s nothing wrong with that unless I’m a minority or something like that?”
“Exactly,” said Curt. “Unless you are part of a protected class, there’s no legal action you can take. Courts do not want to require that everyone be nice and polite to each other at work. The Supreme Court even said in a case called Oncale v. Sundowner that federal employment law is not “a general civility code for the American workplace.” Getting people to treat one another with respect is something an employer can choose to require, but the law does not outlaw rude people.”
A boss who is merely rude and unfair, or even a real bully who is randomly mean, is acting legally as long as his or her bad behavior is not directed at people because of their protected class status.”
Lenora said “This is horrible. I thought the law was supposed to protect me!”
“Well maybe it does,” said Curt.
People Feel Huge Relief When They Learn Their Workplace Rights

The First Step in Fighting Back
Curt continued, “Protected classes can be powerful weapons in fighting back against a boss who causes a hostile work environment that seems legal at first.”
“Listen,” said Curt, his voice dropping to a whisper, “at this firm we defend companies; I’m supposed to be on your boss’s side. But… but why don’t you drive downtown and meet me for lunch. I’ll explain a bit more about protected classes and at-will employment.”
“Great!” said Lenora. “I’ll call you when I get close to your office.”
Follow CP on Twitter @CommunityParty1 for state, national and global headlines and updates on the Trayvon Martin, Safe Work Environment and Jane Doe Acts. Visit our No Sellout blog for the archive of CP Hartford News columns ( and Northend Agent’s for selected columns.  Check out the CP Facebook page. Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcement on our social justice platform. Contact us at 860-206-8879 or
Undercover Lawyer podcast – What lawyers tell bully bosses:
David Samuels
Community Party

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English Korean Japanese Mandarin Translators Interpreters in Seoul Tokyo Beijing

November 18, 2014

Check it out… More info:

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Malloy Defeats Foley! Big Deal, Both Represent the Status Quo

November 5, 2014

Gov. Dan Malloy’s victory over Republican Tom Foley was not the cliffhanger pundits anticipated, which really is more an indicator of voters rejecting Foley’s opaque campaign than it is a vote of confidence for Malloy. Foley’s strategy was to say as little as possible, hope that voters didn’t notice, and count on the state’s poor economy and Malloy’s personality issues to sweep him into office. Foley never explained how he was going to wipe out a projected budget deficit of over $1 billion, while delivering on his promise to cut taxes. The math simply didn’t add up. Malloy’s bullying of state employees (I’m a state worker) and public school teachers without a doubt resulted in the poll numbers which made the 2014 gubernatorial election too close to call. Apparently voters were pissed off at Malloy, but not enough to take the plunge and elect a billionaire who was going to do God knows what if he won. The reality is that both Malloy and Foley are corporatists who have more in common than they have differences.

When Tom Foley made the ridiculous assertion that the insurance company friendly Affordable Care Act was a step toward a single payer system, Malloy’s lieutenant governor Nancy Wyman actually boasted about how the ACA catered to the health insurance industry. Not a good look when a new study found that the United States ranks last among other industrialized nations in affordability and access to health care. Neither Foley nor Malloy talked about implementing a progressive tax code or closing corporate tax loopholes as a means of generating much needed revenue for the state. Instead we heard about the likelihood of tolls returning to Connecticut, which would be yet another tax on the working class and the poor. The urban policy plans of Malloy and Foley were both laughable, as neither addressed poverty, Black/Latino unemployment, racial wage/wealth disparity, mass incarceration or police containment of low income communities of color.

While Malloy takes his victory lap, state residents face ‘four more years’ of the corporatist policies which keep this country’s economy in the toilet. The only hope for change is that the left grows a spine and pushes Malloy and the Democrats to implement egalitarian policies that will address the growing class and racial disparities in Connecticut. Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen. Meanwhile on the national level, voters continued their futile strategy of switching their support back and forth between the Democrats and Republicans, hoping for positive change in Congress. Putting the Republicans in charge of the Senate is the equivalent of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. While liberals and conservatives scream at each other, the Dems and the GOP are counting their money. The Center for Responsive Politics projects that $3.67 billion (that’s BILLION, with a B) was spent on the 2014 election cycle. The two parties are swimming in corporate cash. Do you really think that corporations are donating all of this money so elected officials will look out for you? We need a third party movement that will represent the interests of the working class and the poor.

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Race for Governor: Malloy Declares Victory

November 5, 2014

Gov. Dan Malloy declared victory and Republican challenger Tom Foley said, “We’ve probably lost the race.” CNN has Malloy up 51% to 48% with several precincts yet to report. An anonymous source at the State Capitol told me that Malloy is the winner. Stay tuned for an update.

David Samuels
Community Party

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Election 2014: Urban Agenda Analysis/CT Polling Locations/Media Coverage

November 2, 2014

See below for the Community Party’s three-part Hartford News analysis of the urban policy plans that were presented by Gov. Dannel Malloy and Republican challenger Tom Foley. Includes commentary by Spanish Speaking Center Executive Director Mary Sanders on poverty and the need to reform the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Mary wrote the language for our 2015 Trayvon Martin Act, which addresses racial profiling and police containment of low income communities of color. Election Day is Tuesday, November 4. Don’t allow 30-second attack ads to influence your vote. Visit the nonpartisan Vote Smart website instead. Check out the Connecticut Secretary of the State website for polling places statewide. Polls are open from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm. Democracy Now! will provide coverage of the midterm congressional elections starting at 7:00 pm EST.
The Connecticut Network will report on the state races starting at 8:00 pm.

Urban Agenda Analysis

Part I –

Part II –

Part III

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