#MeToo sparks poignant hearing

Our priority #MeToo campaign sparks poignant House hearing

Thanks to the increased awareness from the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, the effort to expand the mission to purge Washington’s worksites of non-sexual harassment as well sparked a poignant hearing Monday (Jan. 29) in the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee.

House Bill 2888 addresses workplace bullying by making it an unfair labor practice to subject an employee to an abusive work environment.

“I have seen many of my co-workers bullied,” Patricia Bailey, an Ecology Local 872 member from Lacey, told the committee.

“I have seen a change in their behavior, their medical status, I have seen them become paranoid and unproductive.

“It saddens me to see that adults (the abusers) behave in this manner.”

Bailey is a member of the AFSCME Council 28 (WFES) General Government Bargaining Team.

The bill would expand the Washington Law Against Discrimination to include workplace actions where an employee is subjected to abusive conduct that is so severe it causes physical, psychological or economic hardship to the employee.

It shouldn’t have to be this way, Bailey said as the first of many supporters who testified for the bill.

The bill also provides legal incentives for employers to prevent and respond to mistreatment of employees at work.

When asked by a member of the committee, staff emphasized that labor unions that employ workers would be subject to the stricter anti-bullying standards, too.

HB 2888 is scheduled for a committee vote Thursday (Feb. 1).