Democratic senator joins Republicans to kill bill aimed at workplace harassment – By Patrick Wilson (Richmond Times – Dispatch) / Feb 22, 2023
Representatives of Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring backed a bill to strengthen Virginia’s laws against sexual harassment and workplace harassment. But a Democratic senator joined Republicans on a committee Monday to stop the proposal from moving forward this year.
The Senate had already rejected a similar bill from Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, after a hearing in which men on the Senate Judiciary Committee posed hypothetical scenarios, and McClellan repeatedly asked them to stop interrupting her.
But a House version carried by Del. Vivian Watts, D-Fairfax, made its way to the Senate where it died in that committee Monday by a vote of 7-6. Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax City, joined Republicans in opposition, citing fears of how it would affect business.
Current law requires someone who wants to file a lawsuit against a business in state court over sexual harassment or workplace harassment to first go through an administrative process in the Attorney General’s Office, with a chance for mediation. Some cases then go to court. That process is similar under federal law.
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