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

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

Posted: May 3, 2018 5:39 AM
Updated: May 3, 2018 5:39 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.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 730969

Reported Deaths: 13434
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1000031743
Lake53771970
Allen40668678
St. Joseph35733552
Hamilton35629408
Elkhart28577442
Tippecanoe22402219
Vanderburgh22310397
Porter18776308
Johnson17970379
Hendricks17244315
Clark12985191
Madison12673339
Vigo12449247
LaPorte11928211
Monroe11893170
Delaware10696186
Howard9924216
Kosciusko9410117
Hancock8284141
Bartholomew8070156
Warrick7784155
Floyd7669178
Grant7060174
Wayne7051199
Boone6700101
Morgan6576139
Dubois6156117
Marshall6050111
Dearborn581378
Cass5808105
Henry5720103
Noble561384
Jackson501773
Shelby491996
Lawrence4546120
Harrison435872
Gibson435492
DeKalb428485
Clinton427453
Montgomery424189
Whitley396139
Huntington391980
Steuben387857
Miami381866
Knox371990
Jasper366047
Putnam360760
Wabash354179
Adams341354
Ripley339770
Jefferson330981
White314354
Daviess297399
Wells291581
Decatur285492
Fayette280762
Greene278985
Posey271533
LaGrange266770
Scott266354
Clay260247
Randolph240781
Washington240732
Spencer232131
Jennings230149
Starke216654
Fountain212346
Sullivan211942
Owen200256
Fulton195440
Jay195130
Carroll189320
Orange183654
Perry183037
Rush173425
Vermillion169143
Franklin168135
Tipton162845
Parke146316
Blackford134932
Pike134334
Pulaski116845
Newton107834
Brown102141
Crawford99814
Benton98614
Martin89115
Warren82115
Switzerland7918
Union71010
Ohio56811
Unassigned0416

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1085733

Reported Deaths: 19441
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1261201400
Cuyahoga1124072120
Hamilton801491206
Montgomery515591014
Summit47292946
Lucas42275788
Butler38396584
Stark32412907
Lorain25046481
Warren24313300
Mahoning21629588
Lake20725369
Clermont19803238
Delaware18537133
Licking16436212
Fairfield16230200
Trumbull16082468
Medina15309264
Greene15099244
Clark14017299
Wood13113189
Portage12890203
Allen11675232
Richland11382199
Miami10686217
Wayne8843211
Columbiana8816229
Muskingum8815133
Pickaway8582121
Marion8539135
Tuscarawas8487244
Erie7917154
Hancock6929127
Ross6858155
Ashtabula6830170
Geauga6697148
Scioto6417101
Belmont5920167
Union571048
Lawrence5560102
Jefferson5544151
Huron5439119
Darke5364123
Sandusky5359121
Seneca5290121
Athens520058
Washington5160109
Auglaize491984
Mercer480885
Shelby470093
Knox4495110
Madison436661
Putnam4287100
Fulton423969
Ashland423189
Defiance421097
Crawford3978107
Brown395057
Logan382376
Preble379898
Clinton372963
Ottawa367479
Highland355662
Williams340275
Champaign333458
Guernsey316253
Jackson312652
Perry295350
Morrow285639
Fayette282250
Hardin271464
Henry269366
Coshocton265357
Holmes2611101
Van Wert243763
Adams238552
Pike237734
Gallia235949
Wyandot231555
Hocking215462
Carroll191647
Paulding173340
Meigs144940
Noble133337
Monroe132342
Harrison108537
Morgan108523
Vinton83515
Unassigned02
Fort Wayne
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 43°
Angola
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 41°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 41°
Decatur
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 43°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 42°
High pressure will pave the way to another mostly sunny and pleasant day.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events