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King County Workers Now Have Two Years to Report Discrimination

Summary

The statute of limitations for reporting sexual harassment and other forms of employment discrimination in King County was extended to two years under an ordinance approved Wednesday by the King County Council.

Story

Many workers in King County now have a much larger window of time to report employment discrimination or workplace misconduct.

The statute of limitations for reporting sexual harassment and other forms of employment discrimination in King County was extended to two years under an ordinance approved Wednesday by the King County Council.

Under current code, employees of King County and other agencies within unincorporated King County have 180 days to file complaints of employment discrimination with the Office of Civil Rights.

“The #MeToo movement is a watershed moment in history that marks a culture shift toward greater justice for victims and survivors of harassment and discrimination including sexual harassment and assault,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, who sponsored the legislation. “Extending the statute of limitations for victims and survivors to report to the County’s Office of Civil Rights is one tool in a myriad of responses to #MeToo that will hopefully give people greater flexibility in identifying harassment or discrimination they may wish to report.”   

While similar to legislation passed in Seattle that extended the reporting window up to 18 months, the approved ordinance takes it a step further, allowing employees up to two years to report such incidents.

Analysis of past reporting found that in 2017, just two cases were reported, while in 2018 only eight were reported. Many employees may not even be aware of their options for reporting such incidents, or may learn about those options long after the 180-day deadline has passed.

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