On MLK Day, January 21 2019, workers testified in the state senate on behalf of SB 5258, on why protections against sexual assault and harassment are so badly needed in janitorial, security, and hotel housekeeping.
Women in Washington State experience the third-highest rate of sexual violence victimization in the country, behind Alaska and Oregon. According to the CDC, 53.2% of women in Washington have experienced sexual violence.
Sexual violence and sexual harassment are pervasive issues across all employment sectors, however, these issues are particularly acute in the janitorial sector where female janitors often work after-hours, alone, and without direct supervision.
Two weeks later, on February 5, members came out again to testify on behalf of the companion house bill, HB 1728. Members like Rahama and Corin bravely stepped forward to provide personal testimony about the importance of protecting isolated workers in the janitorial and security industries.
What exactly will this bill do?
This bill would require employers to have proven, working proficiency in preventing sexual harassment and violence.
It would require that a property services contractor provide professional training through or approved by the Department of Labor and Industries to managers, supervisors, and employees:
1. To prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment in the workplace
2. To prevent discrimination in the workplace and promote cultural competency
3. To educate the workforce regarding protection for employees who report a violation of a state or federal law, rule, or regulation
To ensure property services contractors are held accountable, they must provide the following information to the Department of Labor and Industries:
1. Total number of employees employed by the property services contractor who perform janitorial services
2. Physical address of the work location or locations at which janitorial services are provided by an employee of the property services contractor
3. Demographic data that is voluntarily provided by employees relating to race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, and age