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Anti-Harrassment Law Passes Assembly

Employers could be sued for failing to stop harassment of their employees by customers, clients and others under a bill approved today by the California Assembly. The measure by Assemblywoman Ellen Corbett of San Leandro would

overturn a state appeals court ruling that said California´s law does not cover workplace harassment by outsiders.

The case involved a bus driver who said her employer failed to respond to her repeated complaints about being sexually harassed by a developmentally disabled rider.

Opponents said the bill would put employers in a difficult position and result in frivolous litigation that would drive jobs out of the sate. But supporters said the bill would merely reaffirm the Legislature´s intent when it passed the state´s fair employment law in 1975. They said it would cover cases where the employer knew about the harassment and failed to do something to protect the employee.

The bill now goes to the State Senate.