Policy Recommendations: Workplace Sexual Harassment
New laws and policies are needed to battle the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace. AAUW urges Congress to:
- Pass the Bringing an End to Harassment by Enhancing Accountability and Rejecting Discrimination (BE HEARD) Act, which would strengthen and expand workplace harassment protections for workers.
- Pass the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act, which would address discrimination against older workers in the workplace.
- Pass the EMPOWER Act, which would increase workplace training and transparency.
- Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would protect against sex-based pay discrimination; as well as the Fair Pay Act, which would require equal pay for work of equivalent value.
- Codify strong anti-retaliation provisions, prohibit non-disparagement and non-disclosure agreements, ban pre-dispute mandatory arbitration, expand protections to cover all employees and eliminate caps on damages.
Action Needed on State Level, Too
Many states are working to pass strong bills designed to stop workplace harassment and close the gender pay gap. For example:
- Maryland has a law that extends protections from workplace harassment to all employers, regardless of size.
- In Virginia, it is illegal for employers to require employees to sign a nondisclosure agreement that would cover up the details of a sexual assault.
- California passed laws creating robust training requirements.
- Nevada instituted higher fines and more robust damages to deter employers from engaging in pay discrimination and make wronged employees whole.
Other states should follow their lead in passing bills designed to stop workplace harassment.