Lisa Blunt Rochester Intros Workplace Harassment Bill
Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) is introducing a bipartisan, bicameral, and comprehensive bill to address workplace harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) estimates that 90% of individuals who say they have experienced harassment never take formal action, such as filing a charge or complaint. And roughly three in four never speak to a superior about the conduct. In many workplaces, there is an expectation of silence reinforced by non-disparagement and non-disclosure clauses (NDAs) in their contracts that employees are effectively forced to sign as a condition of their employment. The Ending the Monopoly of Power Over Workplace harassment through Education and Reporting (EMPOWER) Act aims to address this by prohibiting non-disparagement and NDAs in workplace contracts. The bill requires public companies to disclose numbers of settlements and judgments to the SEC, and establishes a confidential tip-line for reporting at the EEOC. It also reforms the tax code so that survivors aren’t penalized and taxpayer money doesn’t subsidize payments for harassment claims, among other provisions. Rochester is joined in introducing the legislation by members Lois Frankel (D-FL),Ted Poe (R-TX), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and Barbara Comstock (R-VA). A companion bill was introduced in the Senate by Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). More here.