The ACLU supported two bills, H 7080 and H 7226, introduced by Representatives Camille Vella-Wilkinson and John Edwards, respectively, which would strengthen the Fair Employment Practices Act by making individual employee-supervisors, and not just the company employing them, subject to personal liability for their own acts of discrimination. This personal liability is particularly important for deterring sexual and other forms of harassment. H 7080 also positively revises the definition of employee to include elected officials, volunteers, and unpaid interns, and eliminates an archaic exemption for domestic workers. Similar legislation, also supported by the ACLU, was introduced by Representative Teresa Tanzi.
Another bill that was recently heard and is designed to protect domestic workers – encompassing occupations such as housecleaners, nannies, and other caregiving positions – is H 7156, introduced by Representative Anastasia Williams and supported by the ACLU. It would include them as an employees for purposes of the state’s minimum wage laws.
We additionally supported S 2140, introduced by Senator Dawn Euer, which would prevent an employer from requiring an employee to sign a non-disclosure agreement as a requirement for employment. Companion bills in the House were introduced on this issue (H 5718, H 5853) by Representative Carol McEntee and Representative Teresa Tanzi.