Whistleblower Rights Extended in California
There are many improvements that need to be made in employment law, especially in California’s state capitol in Sacramento. One such improvement was passed yesterday in the California Senate. The senate passed Assembly Bill 403, co-authored by more than half of senate lawmakers, with a 38-0 vote. This bill will extend whistleblower protections to legislative employees. More specifically, this bill will make it illegal for lawmakers to retaliate against a whistleblower.
AB 403 is just one step forward in creating a hostile free work environment for legislative employees. Before the bill was passed, a letter came out in October detailing sexual harassment that these 140 women faced while working in California’s state capital. These women claimed they faced sexual harassment in the form of “groping, lewd comments and suggestions of trading sexual favors for legislation while doing business in Sacramento.” A common reason cited as to why these women did not come forward was out fear of retaliation. This letter, along with the Harvey Weinstein scandal, seemed to help AB 403 find traction this year when it had been killed for the past four years. The bill will be amended and a final vote will be made on Monday.
AB 403 is the second bill to pass to help protect legislative employees. Earlier this week, the senate passed Senate Bill 419, granting lobbyists whistleblower protections as well. Furthermore, Senate Bill 419 will require the Legislature to keep records citing sexual harassment for a minimum of 12 years.
While AB 403 and Senate Bill 419 provide necessary protections to legislative employees, there’s still more that needs to be done.