Rabb says his non-discrimination bill could have prevented Starbucks incident

Would require training on workplace harassment, sexual misconduct, discrimination

PHILADELPHIA, April 25 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., said a bill he recently introduced could have prevented the recent racist incident at a Center City Starbucks that did nationwide damage to the images of Philadelphia and the company.

"My bill would require all employers with payrolls of four or more workers to provide training for their workforce regarding all forms of discrimination and harassment. I believe that, if this were already state law, it could have prevented the racist incident at Starbucks," Rabb said.

"I am confident this bill will be a win-win-win for workers, employers and customers. In the long run, my bill would save money for businesses. Think of it as prevention – spend a much smaller amount now on training, so you don't have to spend a lot more later on lawsuits and settlements, not to mention all the lost business from public-relations damage. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Rabb's legislation (H.B. 2282) also would include interns in the definition of "employee" in Pennsylvania's non-discrimination law.

"We can't allow discrimination or harassment to take place against any employee. Interns are often the most vulnerable, since they are just starting out in their careers and don't want to risk getting a bad reference. They can become easy targets because of their age, low rank in office settings, and because they often lack knowledge about their employment rights. These young adults are our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and our laws must be changed to afford them the same workplace protections as other employees," he said.

Rabb testified about his bill this week to the House Labor and Industry Committee. Video of his testimony can be viewed at https://youtu.be/hN9PAZezlRc.

In addition to bipartisan support in the House, Rabb also recently gained support for his bill from Gov. Tom Wolf.