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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 5, 2019 - Volume 47 Issue 27
Sen. Murray joins LGBTQIA+ workers, business leaders, and advocates for roundtable on workplace harassment and discrimination
Section One
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Sen. Murray joins LGBTQIA+ workers, business leaders, and advocates for roundtable on workplace harassment and discrimination

WASHINGTON, DC (June 28, 2019) - Helping kick off this weekend's celebration of Pride in Seattle, today, US Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) met with members of the LGBTQIA+ community and discussed her plan to eliminate workplace discrimination and harassment, still a serious challenge for LGBTQIA+ and other workers.

Sen. Murray participated in a roundtable discussion at Repair Revolution, an LGBTQIA+-owned auto repair shop in Sodo, where she heard directly from members of the community, including local workers, business leaders, and civil rights advocates and discussed her recently introduced anti-workplace harassment legislation, the BE HEARD Act. This legislation draws from experiences shared by workers in Washington state and nationwide, including LGBTQIA+ workers, and would safeguard existing antidiscrimination laws, broaden protections, ensure greater transparency, and empower workers who have come forward.

At the roundtable, Sen. Murray heard firsthand stories from workers who have experienced harassment and discrimination on the job, and learned more on how the BE HEARD Act is especially important for LGBTQIA+ workers. Eli Allison, who hosted the event at their auto shop, Repair Revolution, talked about how after experiencing harassment that almost drove them out of the auto repair industry, they decided to open their own auto shop that would be welcoming and safe for the LGBTQIA+ community. Louise Chernin, president of the Greater Seattle Business Association, the largest LGBTQIA+ chamber of commerce in North America, highlighted a number of issues that the LGBTQIA+ people face in the workplace, including fear of retaliation or discrimination due to their sexual orientation or gender identity, which leads many to not come out at work.

'Anyone, no matter where they work, who they love, what their background is, or what they look like, should be treated with respect and dignity here in this country,' Sen. Murray said. 'I was overwhelmed by the number of people that we talked to and heard from who worked in a hotel, or who worked at a garage who were fearful of going to work and what kind of harassment they might experience. So we started working on legislation called the BE HEARD Act, and it does a number of really important things to make sure that people can go to work and have a place to go, the knowledge, the experience, the support behind them, and the law behind them that will give them the assurance that they're powerful too when they speak up.'

The top Democrat on the Senate labor committee and a longtime champion for equal rights for all, Sen. Murray has been a leader on the issue of workplace harassment, spearheading a report on how workplace harassment is impacting workers in industries across the country, including LGBTQIA+ workers.

Courtesy of Sen. Patty Murray

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