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House OKs Bills Extending Time to Report Abuse, Discrimination

The Rhode Island State House is located at 82 Smith St. Providence.

STATE HOUSE — The House of Representatives has passed two bills providing more time for victims to report abuse, sexual harassment and discrimination.

The Rhode Island State House is located at 82 Smith St. Providence.

The bills, recommended by a House commission that studied sexual harassment and discrimination laws last year, are the first of the bills recommended by the commission to pass the House.

The sponsors, Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) and Rep. Evan P. Shanley (D-Dist. 24, Warwick), were both members of the commission, along with the commission’s chairwoman, Rep. Teresa Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett), and Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick).

On Wednesday the House passed (2019-H 5341) sponsored by Representative Shanley to extend the timeframe within which a person can file a complaint about an alleged unlawful employment practice with the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights from one year to two years.

“People who suffer discrimination or harassment often don’t report it immediately. Sometimes they have no idea who to tell, or that there is a commission that handles these matters in Rhode Island, or sometimes they struggle to get the courage to tell anyone at all. Victims deserve more than a 12-month window to start the process. We hope this will enable more victims to seek the justice they deserve,” said Representative Shanley.

Thursday, the House approved (2019-H 5340) sponsored by Representative McEntee to exclude the period of investigation of a discrimination case by the Human Rights Commission from counting toward the legal statute of limitations on any other legal notice, claim or lawsuit concerning the matter of a complaint.

“Filing a complaint with the Human Rights Commission is a good first step for anyone who believes he or she has been discriminated against. But doing so shouldn’t have any negative effect on the victim’s ability to pursue all other available legal courses of action. This legislation allows that process to run its course before the clock starts ticking on the statute of limitations for victims to pursue justice in Superior Court,” said McEntee.

Both bills now go to the Senate.

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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