Workplace harassment; policies for legislative branch. (HB553)

Introduced By

Del. Vivian Watts (D-Annandale)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Policies against workplace harassment; legislative branch. Requires each legislative branch agency to adopt and implement the Commonwealth Workplace Harassment Policy established by the Department of Human Resource Management. The bill provides that the Policy applies to legislative branch employees, including General Assembly members and members-elect, when undertaking meetings with other state employees, contract employees, applicants for employment, customers, vendors, members of the media, members of the public, volunteers, or lobbyists or when conducting or performing election activities in the scope of official duties. Under the bill, a victim of alleged workplace harassment will be able to file a complaint against a legislative branch employee, other than a member of the General Assembly, in accordance with the procedures of the Policy or with the Division of Human Rights in the Office of the Attorney General. The Division of Human Rights is authorized to investigate the complaint and use any other powers with regard to the complaint granted to it under law. The bill requires each house of the General Assembly to adopt rules governing procedures and disciplinary sanctions for General Assembly members and members-elect violating policies against workplace harassment. The 2018 Session of the General Assembly enacted legislation requiring full-time legislative branch employees to complete a sexual harassment training course once every two calendar years beginning January 1, 2020. In addition to other differences, this bill broadens the scope of training for legislative branch employees and provides for punitive damages if a party complaining of workplace harassment demonstrates that the defendant engaged in a discriminatory practice with malice or reckless indifference. The bill contains a reenactment clause and has a delayed effective date of January 1, 2022. Read the Bill »


12/04/2020: Failed to Pass in Committee


01/05/2020Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20101894D
01/05/2020Referred to Committee on Rules
01/29/2020Impact statement from DPB (HB553)
02/07/2020House committee, floor amendments and substitutes offered
02/07/2020Reported from Rules with amendments (17-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/09/2020Read first time
02/10/2020Read second time
02/10/2020Committee amendments agreed to
02/10/2020Engrossed by House as amended HB553E
02/10/2020Printed as engrossed 20101894D-E
02/11/2020Impact statement from DPB (HB553E)
02/11/2020Read third time and passed House BLOCK VOTE (99-Y 0-N)
02/11/2020VOTE: Block Vote Passage (99-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/12/2020Constitutional reading dispensed
02/12/2020Referred to Committee on Rules
02/28/2020Committee amendments
02/28/2020Continued to 2021 in Rules (12-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
12/04/2020Left in Rules