The Colorado House is working on a bill that helps workers who see something to say something before they come down with something.
Saturday the Senate Finance Committee gave a 7-4 party-line approval to House Bill 1415, legislation that would bar employers from discriminating, retaliating or otherwise acting against any worker who raises concerns about workplace health, safety or hazards.
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment will manage the complaints.
The bill goes next to the House Appropriations Committee before it can go to the House floor. With a state budget deep in the red, the bill is tabbed to cost $270,153 this year and $251,553 in the next fiscal year to cover legal services and staff.
Like all legislation, it's in a race against the clock, if legislators wrap up the session in the next week. If the bill passes in the House, it would have to start over in the Senate.
The legislation sponsored by Reps. Tom Sullivan of Centennial and Leslie Herod of Denver, and in the upper chamber by fellow Democats, Sens. Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood and Robert Rodriguez of Denver.
“We’re working to get Colorado back to work and back on track as safely and responsibly as we can,” Sullivan said in a statement. “That means making sure that all workplaces put health and safety first, and protecting employees who speak out when they see wrongdoing. This bill will hopefully give workers the confidence to make their voices heard without fear of losing their jobs.”
Herod said the bill would empower workers to put health and safety first.
“As this pandemic has shown us, this policy will not only benefit workers, it will benefit our communities and the broader public," she stated. "Public health is a collective effort, and we need everyone to know that they won’t face workplace retaliation for doing the right thing.”
The bill protect any worker who "[v]oluntarily wears at the worker's workplace the worker's own personal protective equipment, such as a mask, faceguard, or gloves."
A worker could still take the case to district court, after exhausting administrative remedies through the state.