Senate Bill 601, which damages workers’ rights in the grievance process, has passed the Senate by a close 18-15 vote. It advances to the House of Delegates.

A recap of what this bill would do:

  • It will prohibit grievances over “actions taken by the employer in accordance with Executive Orders issued by the Governor related to declared states of preparedness or states of emergency.”
  • It will require grievance statements to be notarized, and signed by the grievant. (And not the representative.)
  • It will allow any party to file a motion to dismiss, citing a number of possible reasons. The administrative law judge would have to halt other proceedings and has 10 days to rule on the motion or set a hearing date on the matter. (This will give agencies another delay tactic.)
  • It will open up the possibility for grievants to be forced to pay the respondent’s legal fees. The text: “The prevailing party at level three may move for and request actual attorney’s fees and costs. If the administrative law judge finds that the opposing party presented a grievance or defense that lacked any basis in fact or law, was not brought in good faith, or was brought with malice or wrongful purpose, including but not limited to delay or harassment, then the administrative law judge may award attorney’s fees and costs to the movant.”

To illustrate further how state workers have been treated this session, consider SB 607, which would grant such employees 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave. MetroNews has a story on this.

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