Published from the Denver Chamber of Commerce. Positions are not from the NoCO Chapter of ASCM.
A bill we opposed and have been updating you on most of this session, Senate Bill 176, “Protecting Opportunities and Workers’ Rights Act,” was postponed indefinitely in the House Judiciary Committee on Monday.
While we agree that no employee should endure discrimination or harassment, we had concerns about a number of provisions in the bill. This legislation would have completely overhauled how workplace harassment claims are handled in our state, making numerous changes including:
We worked closely with bill sponsors Sen. Faith Winter (D-Thornton), Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood), Rep. Susan Lontine (D-Denver) and Rep. Matt Gray (D-Broomfield) on amendments to ensure the legislation would not have unintentionally created a backdoor for increased litigation. Any changes to the severe and pervasive standard would establish a new legal precedent in court. Paired with a wider definition of employee, this bill would have created an unpredictable legal environment.
Ultimately, the bill was killed in committee in a 9-2 vote, with multiple Democratic members joining all four Republicans on the committee to vote against it due to concerns about the legal policies and the number of issues the bill was trying to address at one time.