By The Vanguard Staff
SACRAMENTO, CA – The CA State Assembly here last Friday approved 50-0 a measure “to help large businesses better protect customers from race and gender-based harassment, including by other customers, through training, signage, reporting, and a pilot program that recognizes exceptional businesses,” according to bill author Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-SF).
Co-sponsor Stop AAPI Hate Coalition announced the vote of the Expanding Civil Rights Protections at Businesses in the California State Assembly (AB 2448), who authorizes the California Dept. of Fair Employment and Housing to provide help to businesses protect people from harassment based on race or gender.
The legislation was, according to a statement by supporters, “created in response to an analysis of more than 4,000 hate incidents reported in California during the past two years, out of the 11,000 reports received nationwide.”
The study, they said, showed nearly two-thirds of the incidents were “verbal harassment and about three-quarters occurred in publicly accessible spaces — on the street, public transit, and in businesses.”
Ting’s office said “women, especially women of color, as well as LGBTQ+ people, elderly and young folks, and other vulnerable people are common targets of harassment while in publicly accessible spaces necessary to daily life, like the gym, banks, department stores, and other large businesses.”
“Subjected to unwanted sexualized and racialized comments and slurs, and other intimidating actions, customers bear too much of the responsibility and the burden of keeping themselves safe,” the author’s office statement noted.
“Right now, people who are verbally harassed and intimidated while shopping for groceries or denied service when they go to a restaurant are not adequately protected by civil rights laws,” said Ting.
Ting added, “Customers have the right to feel safe in businesses, and workers need training about the responsibilities they have to ensure their safety. This bill will provide the infrastructure and support businesses and their employees need to create a more welcoming and safe space for all Californians.”
“We all deserve to feel safe and move about freely without becoming targets of hate and harassment,” said Cynthia Choi, Co-Executive Director of Chinese for Affirmative Action and Co-Founder of Stop AAPI Hate.
Choi added, “We are hopeful that the No Place for Hate policy agenda will become a reality. The passage of AB 2448 on the Assembly floor is a good first step for people to feel safer in businesses that are essential for daily living.”