9to5GA applauds H.B. 1390 protections for city and county workers against harassment, intimidation and retaliation

H.B. 1390 is a positive step, but needs to be expanded to protect all workers


ATLANTA — Today, 9to5 Georgia, the state chapter of 9to5, National Association of Working Women — a leader in the fight for women’s economic security and equity for nearly 50 years —  praised the passage of House Bill 1390, which protects city and county employees in Georgia who report sexual harassment and provides a right of action against an employer for retaliation.

Georgia State Rep. Teri Anulewicz introduced H.B. 1390 last month 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 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.

“H.B. 1390 is a positive step toward ensuring city and county employees in Georgia feel safe at work and free from harassment, intimidation and retaliation. However, all workers face these challenges and broader protections are needed,” 9to5 Georgia State Director Mica Whitfield said. “We will continue to work with our elected representatives in the coming legislative sessions to advance H.B. 1389 and enshrine all Georgia workers’ rights to basic workplace protections against harassment, discrimination, physical injury and medical insecurity.”

“Low-paid workers in Georgia — almost 65% of whom are women — are especially at risk of harassment given the stark power imbalances they experience at work. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed an economic recession that is hitting women hardest, with especially high levels of job loss for Black women and Latinas. Without a safety net or optimism about finding another job, workers are more desperate to keep a paycheck at any cost and less willing to report workplace abuses. This increases their vulnerability to harassment, discrimination, exploitation, abuse and retaliation at work.” 

9to5 Georgia leads the Respect Georgia Workers Alliance (RGWA), a coalition of advocates and directly impacted people working to realize workplaces free from discrimination and harassment in Georgia. RWGA fellow Nafeesah Robinson experienced workplace harassment and retaliation first hand after being injured on the job in 2016.

“After my injury and when the mistreatment began to be a pattern, I tried to advocate for myself and others who were being discriminated against,” Robinson said. “Despite having a track record as a model employee prior to my injury, I was retaliated against and ultimately fired without cause. There were no laws to protect me. Having workplace protections would mean that I could go to work every day in a safe environment instead of having to worry about intimidation and a hostile work environment.”

Pamela Grisham of Decatur, Georgia is also an RGWA fellow and survivor of workplace harassment and discrimination. She testified in support of H.B. 1389, the Georgia Safe Workplaces Act, which expands the protections of H.B. 1390 to include all employees in the state.

“I was racially discriminated against by my co-workers and retaliated against by management once I reported the discrimination,” Grisham said. “These experiences led to me leaving my job, which had negative consequences for my family and myself and a big impact on my future career — and caused stress and anxiety. Although I was forced to leave my job, I know that the harassment continues at this place of business. I was never told about my legal rights when I reported the discrimination I experienced. This is why state level protections are needed for all workers.”

Worker protections benefit businesses by creating a business climate that respects workers, leading to higher productivity, employee retention and higher employee morale. 

According to the National Women’s Law Center, 83% of voters surveyed nationwide want policymakers to focus on ending sexual harassment at work and a Time’s Up survey found that 68% of voters think addressing sexual harassment and assault should be a major or top priority for elected officials.

Scroll to Top