Senate legislation would protect vulnerable employees from sexual harassment

OLYMPIA – Employees who are vulnerable and isolated at work will have better protection against sexual harassment and assault as a result of legislation that passed unanimously off the Senate floor today. The bill was inspired by the personal stories of hotel housekeepers, office janitors and security guards who often work alone. A Frontline documentary, “Rape on the Night Shift,” revealed the frightening conditions isolated workers face.

“Protecting low-wage, isolated workers is the next step in ensuring harassment-free workplace for us all,” said Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines), sponsor of Senate Bill 5258.

“Housekeepers, janitors, security guards, and other individuals working alone or at night are extremely vulnerable to sexual harassment and exploitation,” Keiser said. “This unanimous bipartisan vote helps put us on our way to becoming one of the first states in the nation with expanded protections for vulnerable employees.”

SB 5258 would require certain employers that employ isolated workers to adopt a sexual harassment policy, provide mandatory sexual harassment training, provide a list of resources to employees, and provide an electronic panic button to each isolated worker.

Having passed off the Senate floor, SB 5258 now heads to the House for further consideration.


For information:    Bre Weider, Senate Democratic Communications, 360-786-7326