BILL REQ. #: S-0932.1
|State of Washington||62nd Legislature||2011 Regular Session|
Read first time 01/28/11. Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce & Consumer Protection.
AN ACT Relating to protections against workplace harassment in antiharassment protection orders; and amending RCW 10.14.010, 10.14.020, 10.14.040, and 10.14.080; and adding new sections to chapter 10.14 RCW.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
Sec. 1 RCW 10.14.010 and 1987 c 280 s 1 are each amended to read
The legislature finds that serious, personal harassment through repeated invasions of a person's privacy by acts and words showing a pattern of harassment designed to coerce, intimidate, or humiliate the victim is increasing. The legislature further finds that the prevention of such harassment is an important governmental objective. This chapter is intended to provide victims and, with respect to harassment affecting the workplace, employers with a speedy and inexpensive method of obtaining civil antiharassment protection orders preventing all further unwanted contact between the victim and the perpetrator.
Sec. 2 RCW 10.14.020 and 2001 c 260 s 2 are each amended to read
Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter.
(1) "Unlawful harassment" means a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person or employer which seriously alarms, annoys, harasses, or is detrimental to such person or employer, and which serves no legitimate or lawful purpose. The course of conduct shall be such as would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and shall actually cause substantial emotional distress to the petitioner, or, when the course of conduct would cause a reasonable parent to fear for the well-being of their child.
(2) "Course of conduct" means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose. "Course of conduct" includes, in addition to any other form of communication, contact, or conduct, the sending of an electronic communication. Constitutionally protected activity is not included within the meaning of "course of conduct."
(3) "Employer" means an individual, partnership, association, or corporation, or a person or group of persons who act, directly or indirectly, on behalf of or in the interest of an employer and with the consent of the employer. "Employer" includes the state, a political subdivision of the state, and any school district or other special district.
(4) "Domestic violence" has the same meaning as defined in RCW 26.50.010.
(5) "Sexual assault" has the same meaning as defined in RCW 70.125.030.
(6) "Stalking" has the same meaning as defined in RCW 9A.46.110.
Sec. 3 RCW 10.14.040 and 2002 c 117 s 1 are each amended to read
There shall exist an action known as a petition for an order for protection in cases of unlawful harassment.
(1) A petition for relief shall allege the existence of harassment and shall be accompanied by an affidavit made under oath stating the specific facts and circumstances from which relief is sought.
(2) A petition for relief may be made regardless of whether or not there is a pending lawsuit, complaint, petition, or other action between the parties.
(3) All court clerks' offices shall make available simplified forms and instructional brochures. Any assistance or information provided by clerks under this section does not constitute the practice of law and clerks are not responsible for incorrect information contained in a petition.
(4) Filing fees are set in RCW 36.18.020, but no filing fee may be charged for a petition filed in an existing action or under an existing cause number brought under this chapter in the jurisdiction where the relief is sought or as provided in RCW 10.14.055. Forms and instructional brochures shall be provided free of charge.
(5) A person is not required to post a bond to obtain relief in any proceeding under this section.
(6) The parent or guardian of a child under age eighteen may petition for an order of protection to restrain a person age eighteen years or over from contact with that child upon a showing that contact with the person to be enjoined is detrimental to the welfare of the child.
(7) The parent or guardian of a child under the age of eighteen may petition in superior court for an order of protection to restrain a person under the age of eighteen years from contact with that child only in cases where the person to be restrained has been adjudicated of an offense against the child protected by the order, or is under investigation or has been investigated for such an offense. In issuing a protection order under this subsection, the court shall consider, among the other facts of the case, the severity of the alleged offense, any continuing physical danger or emotional distress to the alleged victim, and the expense, difficulty, and educational disruption that would be caused by a transfer of the alleged offender to another school. The court may order that the person restrained in the order not attend the public or approved private elementary, middle, or high school attended by the person under the age of eighteen years protected by the order. In the event that the court orders a transfer of the restrained person to another school, the parents or legal guardians of the person restrained in the order are responsible for transportation and other costs associated with the change of school by the person restrained in the order. The court shall send notice of the restriction on attending the same school as the person protected by the order to the public or approved private school the person restrained by the order will attend and to the school the person protected by the order attends.
(8) An employer or an authorized agent of an employer may petition for an order for protection to restrain a person from engaging in unlawful harassment affecting the workplace. In issuing a protection order under this subsection, the court may consider a respondent's unlawful harassment of an employer, employee, and other persons affecting a workplace, place of business, or persons performing official work duties.
Sec. 4 RCW 10.14.080 and 2001 c 311 s 1 are each amended to read
(1) Upon filing a petition for a civil antiharassment protection order under this chapter, the petitioner may obtain an ex parte temporary antiharassment protection order. An ex parte temporary antiharassment protection order may be granted with or without notice upon the filing of an affidavit which, to the satisfaction of the court, shows reasonable proof of unlawful harassment of the petitioner by the respondent and that great or irreparable harm will result to the petitioner if the temporary antiharassment protection order is not granted.
(2) An ex parte temporary antiharassment protection order shall be effective for a fixed period not to exceed fourteen days or twenty-four days if the court has permitted service by publication under RCW 10.14.085. The ex parte order may be reissued. A full hearing, as provided in this chapter, shall be set for not later than fourteen days from the issuance of the temporary order or not later than twenty-four days if service by publication is permitted. Except as provided in RCW 10.14.070 and 10.14.085, the respondent shall be personally served with a copy of the ex parte order along with a copy of the petition and notice of the date set for the hearing. The ex parte order and notice of hearing shall include at a minimum the date and time of the hearing set by the court to determine if the temporary order should be made effective for one year or more, and notice that if the respondent should fail to appear or otherwise not respond, an order for protection will be issued against the respondent pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, for a minimum of one year from the date of the hearing. The notice shall also include a brief statement of the provisions of the ex parte order and notify the respondent that a copy of the ex parte order and notice of hearing has been filed with the clerk of the court.
(3) At the hearing, if the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that unlawful harassment exists, a civil antiharassment protection order shall issue prohibiting such unlawful harassment.
(4) An order issued under this chapter shall be effective for not more than one year unless the court finds that the respondent is likely to resume unlawful harassment of the petitioner when the order expires. If so, the court may enter an order for a fixed time exceeding one year or may enter a permanent antiharassment protection order. The court shall not enter an order that is effective for more than one year if the order restrains the respondent from contacting the respondent's minor children. This limitation is not applicable to civil antiharassment protection orders issued under chapter 26.09, 26.10, or 26.26 RCW. If the petitioner seeks relief for a period longer than one year on behalf of the respondent's minor children, the court shall advise the petitioner that the petitioner may apply for renewal of the order as provided in this chapter or if appropriate may seek relief pursuant to chapter 26.09 or 26.10 RCW.
(5) At any time within the three months before the expiration of the order, the petitioner may apply for a renewal of the order by filing a petition for renewal. The petition for renewal shall state the reasons why the petitioner seeks to renew the protection order. Upon receipt of the petition for renewal, the court shall order a hearing which shall be not later than fourteen days from the date of the order. Except as provided in RCW 10.14.085, personal service shall be made upon the respondent not less than five days before the hearing. If timely service cannot be made the court shall set a new hearing date and shall either require additional attempts at obtaining personal service or permit service by publication as provided by RCW 10.14.085. If the court permits service by publication, the court shall set the new hearing date not later than twenty-four days from the date of the order. If the order expires because timely service cannot be made the court shall grant an ex parte order of protection as provided in this section. The court shall grant the petition for renewal unless the respondent proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the respondent will not resume harassment of the petitioner when the order expires. The court may renew the protection order for another fixed time period or may enter a permanent order as provided in subsection (4) of this section.
(6) The court, in granting an ex parte temporary antiharassment protection order or a civil antiharassment protection order, shall have broad discretion to grant such relief as the court deems proper, including an order:
(a) Restraining the respondent from making any attempts to contact the petitioner;
(b) Restraining the respondent from making any attempts to keep the petitioner under surveillance;
(c) Requiring the respondent to stay a stated distance from the petitioner's residence ((
and)), workplace, or other place of business;
(d) Considering the provisions of RCW 9.41.800.
(7) If the court grants a petition under this chapter based on unlawful harassment affecting the workplace, the court may, in addition to relief granted under subsection (6) of this section:
(a) Restrain the respondent from contacting the employer, employee, or other person while that person is performing official work duties; and
(b) Grant any other relief necessary for the protection of the employer, the workplace, the employer's employees, or any other person who is on or at the employer's property or place of business or who is performing official work duties.
(8) A petitioner may not obtain an ex parte temporary antiharassment protection order against a respondent if the petitioner has previously obtained two such ex parte orders against the same respondent but has failed to obtain the issuance of a civil antiharassment protection order unless good cause for such failure can be shown.
(8))) (9) The court order shall specify the date an order issued
pursuant to subsections (4) and (5) of this section expires if any.
The court order shall also state whether the court issued the
protection order following personal service or service by publication
and whether the court has approved service by publication of an order
issued under this section.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 5 A new section is added to chapter 10.14 RCW
to read as follows:
(1) When an employer has knowledge that a specific person or persons are the target of unlawful harassment, the employer shall make a good faith effort to provide notice to the person or persons that the employer intends to petition the court for an order of protection under this chapter. If the employer has knowledge that the unlawful harassment arises from an act or acts of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, the employer shall, before seeking an order of protection under this chapter, provide actual notice to the person and obtain his or her consent prior to making a petition.
(2) The ability of an employer to petition for a protective order under RCW 10.14.020 shall not be construed to expand, diminish, alter, or modify the duty of an employer to provide a safe workplace for its employees and other persons.
(3) No employer may discharge, threaten to discharge, demote, deny a promotion to, sanction, discipline, retaliate against, harass, or otherwise discriminate against an employee because the employee is a target of unlawful harassment affecting the workplace or does not consent, as applicable, to the petition for an order of protection.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 6 A new section is added to chapter 10.14 RCW
to read as follows:
An employer is immune from civil liability for seeking or failing to seek a petition for relief under this chapter for unlawful harassment in the workplace unless the employer is seeking a petition for relief primarily to accomplish a purpose for which the petition was not designed. An action or statement by an employer under this chapter shall not be deemed an admission by the employer of any fact. An action or statement by an employer under this chapter may not be used for impeachment purposes.