Bill would boost punishment for assaulting retail workers

As retail theft continues to climb, advocates are pushing for more protection for retail workers.

State lawmakers and retail workers Tuesday introduced the Retail Workers Protection Act. It would make assaulting a retail employee or owner a Class D felony, punishable by up to seven years behind bars.

Assemblywoman Pat Fahy is a co-sponsor of the bill. She says retail theft and these attacks are undoing years of progress in downtown Albany when it comes to pharmacies and access to food for many residents.

“We’re going backwards. And we’re going back to having pharmacy deserts, back to having food deserts,” she said, adding, “The bottom line is theft is absolutely a part of it.”

Under current law, assaults on workers are charged as a Class A misdemeanor.