STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Sen. Warren & Rep. Rosen: How Congress can combat sexual harassment

Sexual harassment isn't new. Every day, women ...

Posted: May 3, 2018 2:39 AM
Updated: May 3, 2018 2:39 AM

Sexual harassment isn't new. Every day, women across the country are catcalled on the street, groped by strangers and bullied online. Thanks to the brave women (and men) who have spoken out about this abuse, our country is taking a long overdue look at how to stop harassment once and for all.

Preventing harassment requires a cultural shift in how we think about women, power and the right of all people to live their lives with dignity -- and Congress has a role to play.

That's why we introduced the Sunlight in Workplace Harassment Act, a bill to increase the transparency of harassment in workplaces.

In recent months, one woman after another has come forward to expose the inappropriate sexual behavior of powerful men in the workplace. Some of those women initially reported their harassers and eventually received settlements, but only if they agreed to keep their mouths shut. Those secret settlements protected the harassers and their companies, allowing some perpetrators to continue harassing other employees year after year.

And while many stories have centered on sexual harassment in the entertainment industry, harassment occurs in workplaces across the country -- including Congress.

Bipartisan bills like the ME TOO Congress Act, the Congressional Accountability and Hush Fund Elimination Act and the Congressional Harassment Reform Act would force Congress to improve its harassment reporting procedures and disclose harassment settlements, including those that involve members of Congress.

Though those bills are currently in committee, Congress has taken a few positive steps forward already.

In February, the House passed legislation reforming its complaint process. The bipartisan legislation eliminates counseling and mediation requirements and requires all members, both current and past, to reimburse the Treasury for any money used to settle workplace misconduct or discrimination complaints. And in March, all 22 women senators called on Senators Mitch McConnell and Charles Schumer to take up legislation to reform its reporting procedures -- though the Senate has yet to take action.

Disclosing sexual harassment in Congress is important -- but it's not enough. People who work outside of Washington should have the same protection from harassment. The Sunlight in Workplace Harassment Act would help root out the problem by publicly exposing workplace harassment.

Our bill would require publicly traded companies to disclose in their Securities and Exchange Commission filings the total number and aggregate dollar amount of disputes settled by the company related to sexual abuse and harassment. To ensure that companies don't let settlements languish in internal HR reviews, our bill would force companies to disclose the average length of time it takes to settle harassment disputes and the number of disputes it has pending.

The bill also explicitly prohibits companies and the SEC from disclosing accusers' names. Finally, it requires companies to tell the public what steps they take to prevent harassment in their workplaces.

Sexual harassment is in the spotlight now, but it's not the only type of workplace discrimination that women -- and men -- face. Discrimination based on race, disability, religion, national origin and age often go hand in hand with sex discrimination. By requiring companies to disclose the total number and dollar amounts of settlements related to multiple types of harassment, our bill would help expose and prevent these types of discrimination, too.

Tackling sexual harassment requires a concerted and long-lasting effort from politicians, employers and everyday Americans alike. Congress should pass our bill -- and others like it -- to put harassers on notice: enough is enough.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 44388

Reported Deaths: 675
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah9653167
Washington608278
Marion6068109
Umatilla346145
Clackamas330966
Lane250127
Malheur196738
Jackson18657
Deschutes120913
Yamhill102515
Linn86316
Polk67515
Jefferson60910
Morrow5547
Lincoln51913
Union4872
Benton4646
Klamath4313
Douglas3738
Wasco35216
Hood River2861
Columbia2751
Josephine2733
Coos2621
Clatsop2510
Baker1433
Crook1162
Tillamook750
Curry581
Wallowa512
Lake470
Harney370
Sherman220
Gilliam120
Grant120
Wheeler10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 928028

Reported Deaths: 17618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles3063277056
Riverside680501319
San Bernardino643671074
Orange597181475
San Diego56369888
Kern34154422
Fresno31321443
Sacramento26018500
Santa Clara24867406
Alameda23775463
San Joaquin21994492
Contra Costa18981246
Stanislaus17872401
Tulare17800292
Ventura14486166
Imperial13038338
San Francisco12320147
Monterey1161695
San Mateo11341161
Santa Barbara9919126
Sonoma9646136
Merced9623155
Kings850283
Solano763476
Marin7121127
Madera509476
Placer435359
San Luis Obispo426532
Yolo326660
Butte314353
Santa Cruz286125
Shasta204631
Napa200916
Sutter189712
San Benito146115
El Dorado13804
Yuba134610
Mendocino115621
Tehama9259
Lassen7721
Lake70417
Glenn6823
Nevada6358
Humboldt57110
Colusa5556
Calaveras34721
Amador33816
Tuolumne2886
Inyo24115
Siskiyou2210
Mono1822
Del Norte1811
Mariposa812
Plumas790
Modoc480
Trinity280
Alpine80
Sierra60
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 48°
Brookings
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 50°
Crater Lake
Clear
33° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 33°
Grants Pass
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 45°
Klamath Falls
Clear
33° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 33°
Sunny and pleasant Halloween
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events