It is a challenge for public employees to stand up to workplace discrimination when they are not aware of the tools available to them. While most employees understand that it is illegal for their employers to discriminate against various protected statuses, they might not know precisely what they can do about it.

The Oregon Senate recently passed a bill that aims to change that.

What does the new bill contain?

According to KTVZ News, the new bill provides many levels of protection to employees, as it obligates public employers to:

  • Give employees easy access to discrimination laws and policies
  • Implement new standards to prevent workplace discrimination
  • Establish a process of prompt investigations regarding discrimination
  • Provide employees with information about claim deadlines and support services

It also extends these protections to both volunteer workers, elected officials and interns. 

Does knowledge give power?

The bill strives to provide employees with critical knowledge they can use to protect their rights in their workplace.

Sen. Sara Gelser—the representative who carried the bill—states that if this bill passes, it will empower employees who experience discrimination. Many public employees might hesitate to file a workplace discrimination claim simply because they do not understand all of the options they have. Supplying them with the full details about policies and processes could give them the power they need to advocate for themselves.

The bill is not a law yet

Senate Bill 479 passed the state Senate in late April, but the House of Representatives has yet to deliberate and vote on it. If the bill does become law, it may still take some time before it goes into effect. However, public employees could expect more information they can use to their benefit to stop workplace discrimination.