Overview: Washington has enacted a new law regarding sexual harassment training in certain industries. Specifically, it requires employers in the hotel, motel, retail, security guard and property services industries to adopt a sexual harassment policy, provide training and submit certain information to the state Department of Labor and Industries. Hotels and motels with 60 or more rooms must comply with the new law by January 1, 2020. All other covered employers must comply by January 1, 2021.
Covered Employers and Employees
The new law applies to employers in the hotel, motel, retail, security guard, and property services contractor industries that employ at least one person. A property services contractor is a person or entity that employs workers that provide commercial janitorial services, with some exceptions.
The law defines an employee as an individual employed as a janitor, security guard, hotel or motel housekeeper, or room service attendant, and who spends a majority of working hours alone, or whose primary responsibility involves working without another coworker present. An individual employed as a security guard is covered under the law, regardless of whether the individual is employed by a private security company or by a single employer.
Covered employers must:
· adopt a sexual harassment policy;
· provide mandatory training to managers, supervisors, and employees in order to:
· prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment;
· prevent sexual discrimination; and
· educate the workforce about protections for employees that report violations of a state or federal law, rule, or regulation;
· provide a list of resources for the employees to utilize, including the contact information of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the state human rights commission, and local advocacy groups that focus on preventing sexual harassment and sexual assault; and
· provide a panic button to each employee. A panic button is an emergency contact device that the employee carries, which can summon immediate assistance from another worker, security guard, or employer representative. This requirement does not apply to contracted security guard companies licensed under state law.
The law also requires property services contractors to submit information to the state Department of Labor and Industries, including:
· the date the employer adopted a sexual harassment policy;
· the number of managers, supervisors, and employees that underwent training; and
· the address of the location(s) where janitorial services are provided by the property service contractor’s workers. For each location, the property service contractor must provide the total of workers or contractors and the total hours worked.
Hotels and motels with 60 or more rooms must comply with the new law by January 1, 2020. All other covered employers must comply by January 1, 2021.
The new law will be codified in chapter 49.60 of the Revised Code of Washington.
Action Required: Washington employers in aforementioned industries should review and revise, if necessary, harassment-related polities, trainings, and procedures. They should develop and disseminate the required list of agencies and organizations. And, they should train HR and supervisory staff on the law’s requirements.
Please contact your dedicated service professional with any questions.
* Produced in Partnership with LittlerMendelson, P.C.
This content provides practical information concerning the subject matter covered and is provided with the understanding that ADP is not rendering legal advice.