THE MAGAZINE

State Legislation: Washington: Bullying

Lawmakers in Washington are considering a bill (H.B. 1928) that would make it illegal for companies to subject employees to an “abusive work environment,” defined as a workplace where abuse is so severe as to cause physical or psychological harm to an employee. The bill provides a defense for employers. It states that a company must prove that it took reasonable care to correct the abusive conduct and that the employee failed to take advantage of the corrective measures offered by the company. Companies also have a defense if the bullying allegation is based on a legitimate, negative employment decision, such as a demotion or termination, or if the allegation is in response to a company’s investigation of potentially illegal or unethical activity.

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