WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), on August 1 reintroduced two pieces of legislation to combat workplace harassment, including sexual harassment: the Ending Secrecy about Workplace Harassment Act and the No Tax Deductions for Workplace Harasser Buyouts Act. Greek-American Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV) is also an original co-sponsor of both bills.
The No Tax Deductions for Workplace Harasser Buyouts Act prohibits companies from using buyouts paid to perpetrators of workplace harassment as a tax deduction. The Ending Secrecy about Workplace Harassment Act requires companies to submit an annual report that specifies the total number of settlements with employees involving workplace harassment and the number of such settlements by protected category, which includes race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, genetic information, or any combination of such factors. The two bills, first introduced in December 2017, are designed to end the corporate culture of secrecy surrounding workplace harassment settlements and to no longer allow companies to treat Bill O’Reilly-like severances as an ordinary cost of doing business. If passed, companies will have stronger incentives to prevent workplace harassment, including sexual harassment, from happening in the first place.
“Workplace harassment should no longer be an issue that is whispered about behind closed doors. It is long past time to pass legislation to create permanent incentives for employers to foster safe work environments,” said Rep. Maloney. “For far too long, corporations have allowed harassment to permeate company culture and have used the money paid to perpetrators of harassment as a tax deduction. These bills are important steps toward helping make sure employers do the right thing and protect people from harassment in the workplace.”
“A workplace is only truly safe when workers are free from harassment, including sexual harassment, on the job,” said AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler. “No one should be subjected to unwanted behavior or abuse at work, but far too many people still live in fear or struggle to do their jobs because of harassment and retaliation for speaking out. Sexual harassment is discrimination, and it negatively impacts a person’s ability to advance or excel at work. These bills hold employers accountable for creating a safer, more transparent work environment, implementing stronger policies that root out harmful behavior and fostering a culture that supports all working people.
“Workplace harassment should have no place on the job, but lack of transparency and accountability allows workplace abuses, including sexual harassment, to thrive. We commend Representative Maloney for introducing measures that shine a light on workplace harassment, encourage prevention, and promote safety and dignity at work,” Gaylynn Burroughs, Director of Workplace Equality at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC).
“Women have fewer rights today than they did 50 years ago, and workplace harassment and discrimination are still rampant within U.S. workplace culture. We’re grateful for Chairwoman Maloney’s leadership on the No Tax Deductions for Workplace Harassment Act and the Ending Secrecy About Workplace Harassment Act. These pieces of legislation will give victims of workplace harassment the ability to fight back against their harassers and also hopefully protect others from going through that same experience,” said Zakiya Thomas, President and CEO of the ERA Coalition and Fund for Women’s Equality. “The United States does not yet fully protect against sex discrimination under the law, but with advocates like the Chairwoman, we’re getting closer every day.”
Endorsing Organizations: A Better Balance, AFL-CIO, American Association of University of Women, Center for Law and Social Policy, Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues, Downtown Women for Change, Economic Policy Institute, Equal Rights Advocates, ERA Coalition, Feminist Majority Foundation, Justice for Migrant Women, Legal Momentum, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, National Council of Jewish Women, National Employment Law Project, National Employment Lawyers Association, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Women’s Law Center, National Organization for Women, Public Citizen, The Purple Campaign, Women Employed, and Workplace Fairness.
Original Co-Sponsors of the Ending Secrecy about Workplace Harassment Act: Andre Carson (D-IN), Jesus G. “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Mondaire Jones (D-NY), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Katie Porter (D-CA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Adam Smith (D-WA), Mark Takano (D-CA), Dina Titus (D-NV), and Nydia Velazquez (D-NY).
Original Co-Sponsors of the No Tax Deductions for Workplace Harasser Buyouts Act: Andre Carson (D-IN), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Jesus G. “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Mondaire Jones (D-NY), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Katie Porter (D-CA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Adam Smith (D-WA), Mark Takano (D-CA), Dina Titus (D-NV), and Nydia Velazquez (D-NY).