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Bills to address sexual harassment pass off Senate floor, now advance to the House

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OLYMPIA, WA - Three bills related to combating workplace sexual harassment passed off the Senate floor unanimously today.

“I have been working on addressing sexual harassment for quite some time, and passing this group of bills off the floor is great news for the women of Washington,“ said Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines, sponsor of two of the three bills. “Right now, we are seeing a cultural shift when it comes to what is acceptable in the workplace. Women are demanding a change, and it is incumbent that those with power listen. The fact that these bills were passed unanimously by both Democrats and Republicans shows how seriously the Legislature is taking this issue.”

“In recent months, we’ve all been struck by the sheer volume and national discussion of prominent sexual harassment incidents across the country,” said Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, sponsor of Senate Bill 6068. “We have seen that powerful perpetrators and enablers on company boards and other entities have hidden behind non-disclosure agreements to prevent the truth about patterns of behavior from coming out. This bill will lead to more truth and justice for victims.”

Brief Summary:

  •  Senate Bill 5996 prohibits an employer from requiring an employee, as a condition of employment, to sign a nondisclosure agreement that prevents the employee from disclosing sexual harassment or sexual assault.
  • Senate Bill 6471 relates to developing model policies to create workplaces that are safe from sexual harassment.
  • Senate Bill 6068 would shed light on repeat sexual harassers by removing barriers to lawsuits created by non-disclosure agreements.

All three bills will now move to the House for further consideration.

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