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Fosse Bill Removing Antiquated & Racist Terminology in Unemployment Law Heads to Governor

OLYMPIA – On Wednesday, the Senate passed House Bill 1107 unanimously. Rep. Mary Fosse, D-Everett, introduced the legislation to remove the terms ‘master’ and ‘servant’ from our state’s unemployment law. Currently, these antiquated terms are used to define the relationship between employees and employers in Washington’s statutes governing unemployment insurance and paid family and medical leave.

This legislation is critical to eliminating racist legal language in Washington law. “These terms have a long history tied to slavery and racism, and the implication that one person can be owned by another has no place in the laws of the great state of Washington,” said Fosse. “It was an honor to work with the Employment Security Department to fix this language. Now, our laws will be more reflective of the real worth of both workers and employers and the values we seek to embody today

Once implemented, the relationship between employers and employees will be more accurately defined as “any employment relationship”.

In February, this legislation passed the House of Representatives unanimously as well. It now heads to the Governor.