Advocates, state officials and impacted workers speak out in support of HB 1389 and HB 1390
ATLANTA — Today, 9to5 Georgia, the state chapter of 9to5, National Association of Working Women, joined Georgia State Rep. Teri Anulewicz, the Respect Georgia Workers Alliance — a coalition of advocacy groups from across the state working to support Georgia working families — and impacted workers to call on state lawmakers to pass two new pieces of legislation to protect against workplace harassment and discrimination.
“Georgia is one of only three states with zero statewide protections against harassment and discrimination in the workplace,” said 9to5 Georgia State Director Mica Whitfield. “At a minimum, all Georgians deserve to feel safe while doing their job. Everyone should have the right to basic workplace protections against harassment, discrimination, physical injury and medical insecurity.”
This morning, Rep. Anulewicz, the lead sponsor of both bills, presented House Bills 1389 and 1390 for a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee. House Bill 1389, or the Georgia Safe Workplaces Act, seeks to ensure that employees at private companies are protected from workplace harassment by providing legal protections for those who report harassment. This bill would also protect whistleblowers who fear retaliation in the workplace. House Bill 1390, which has bipartisan support, would also give city and county employees in Georgia the right of action to protect against retaliation from their employers.
Rep. Anulewicz introduced H.B. 1390 to protect sexual harassment whistleblowers in the wake of an investigation into the Lawrenceville Police Department, the subject of a federal discrimination complaint the LPD’s only female captain recently filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for retaliation after coming forward last year to expose the hostile work environment and sexual harassment she and other women in the department experienced.
Moreover, according to a recent Time’s Up study, almost 72% of workers who reported workplace sexual harassment faced some form of retaliation, including termination, being sued for defamation and denial of promotions. The most common form of retaliation was termination.
The need for strong workplace anti-harassment laws and whistleblower protections in Georgia is clear and urgent. Georgia is one of only a few states across the country with no state law protecting private-sector workers from harassment at work. Currently, Georgia workers do not have the legal framework to hold perpetrators accountable for discrimination or harassment on the job. In fact, it’s quite common for judges to throw out legitimate complaints without any support for the survivors.
“Our elected representatives have a duty and obligation to take a stand for working families and for worker safety,” said Whitfield. “It’s time for our leaders to respect Georgia workers and give them the support they need by passing H.B. 1389 and H.B. 1390!”
Respect Georgia Workers Alliance organizational members advocating for the legislation include: 9to5 Georgia, ACLU GA, Amplify GA, Atlanta North Georgia Labor Council, Atlanta Women for Equality, Feminist Women’s Health Center, GA Coalition Against Domestic Violence, GA Familias Unidas, GA Network to End Sexual Assault, Small Business Majority, NAPAWF GA Chapter, National Women’s Law Center, New Georgia Project, Poder Latinx, United 4 Respect and YWCA of Greater Atlanta.
9to5, National Association of Working Women is a national grassroots organization on the frontlines working for economic security for all women — particularly women of color. The organization has a national network of advocates and offices in Colorado, Georgia and Wisconsin.