Did You Know Over 200 New Laws Start This Week in Washington?
Yes, there are over 200 new laws that go into effect this week in Washington State. The most talked about laws for this week have to be the about sexual misconduct at the workplace and net neutrality.
Of the over 200 new laws this week, I am picking five to highlight that I think will affect the most people in our area.
Sexual Misconduct at the Workplace
There has been a lot of talk this last year about sexual harassment of woman with the #metoo movement. These new laws are a reflection of that conversation. The first law prohibits nondisclosure agreements that stop employees from disclosing sexual harassment or assault at work. Another asks a Human Rights Commission to create a work group to develop ideas to keep our workplace safe from sexual harassment in Washington. The third voids any employment contract that don’t protect any employee’s rights to file sexual harassment with authorities.
Laws for Equal Pay
There is a bill that hopes to reduce the wage gap between men and women and provide equal growth opportunities and fair treatment in the workplace. It protects employees from retaliation when they ask about how much other employees are paid. It also prevents discrimination in advancement because of a persons gender.
This new law protects minors from being influenced to change or adapt a minors sexual orientation or gender identity by a doctor or health care provider. It will be deemed "unprofessional conduct". It does not include protection from non-licensed religious council or religious denomination or church.
Students Free Speech
Students are now protected to be able to express their beliefs and thoughts in school-sponsored media. Administrators at the college level cannot read or edit work, making editors responsible for that decision. High School administrators are different, being allowed to review the content but not edit unless it is proven libelous or slanderous material, obscene, or has students breaking the law.
U.S. regulators repealed Obama-era rules about Net Neutrality and Washington is the first state to pass their own laws to replace them. This law makes internet providers to disclose information about management practices, performance and commercial terms. The law doesn't go into effect until June 11th when the old rules expire.