In the News

Denver Post: Controversial workplace harassment reform collapses — again — at the Colorado legislature

By Alex Burness for The Denver Post

A bill to combat workplace harassment in Colorado is dead for the second time since June.

Sponsors of the Protecting Opportunities And Workers’ Rights Act, known as POWR, told The Denver Post they are abandoning their planned bill because they have no apparent path to pass it. They said they are writing a new and much different bill they expect will be less controversial.

One of the most powerful people in the business lobby, Colorado Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Loren Furman, told The Post that she basically agrees with lawmakers on workplace protections — in concept, that is.

“Nobody supports harassment happening at the job site, right? We support trying to find a balanced solution for employers and employees when these circumstances happen,” Furman said. “What employers have relied on for decades are court cases that have relied on a “severe, pervasive” standard. … To create a brand new definition of harassment is incredibly challenging because we don’t have anything to rely on.”

But it wasn’t just the business lobby opposing the bill. Advocates for people living with disabilities had concerns, too. Lontine said her side decided to kill POWR after a meeting with those advocates last week.