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Bill unveiled to combat sexual harassment at work


A group of Democratic congressional lawmakers on April 9 introduced a bill aimed at strengthening protections against harassment in the workplace.

The BE HEARD Act — which stands for Bringing an End to Harassment by Enhancing Accountability and Rejecting Discrimination in the Workplace — was introduced by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Democratic Reps. Katherine Clark (Mass.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Elissa Slotkin (Mich.) and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (Fla.,) The Hill reported. Several Democratic hopefuls also signed the legislation. 

The BE HEARD Act would do several things, Vox reports, including:

  • Close loopholes in federal discrimination law that leave many domestic workers without legal protections from sexual harassment.
  • Authorize grants for low-income workers to help them seek legal recourse if they are harassed.
  • Eliminate the lower minimum wage for tipped workers, which many say makes servers vulnerable to harassment by customers.

While the legislation faces an uncertain future, it has attracted some Republican support, according to the Vox article. Republicans held a committee hearing early this month on the issue of mandatory arbitration, and others expressed concern about the use of arbitration clauses. Meanwhile, Republicans in the House and Senate joined with Democrats to introduce legislation barring employers from forcing employees to sign nondisclosure agreements.

The BE HEARD Act now moves to the Senate.

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