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New laws to smash sexual harassment

As tough as they are, laws alone are never enough to stop sexual harassment in the workplace. Women have to stand up and take their own action, a process which can be long and painful.

The California legislature is considering several laws right now which would make it easier for victims of sexual harassment to reclaim their lives and put a stop to the practice. Some will also make the process more open and public, taking sexual harassment out of the shadows for good. It’s all part of the #MeToo movement creating a new era in California and around the world.

Three years to file a claim

One of the most important bills pending is Assembly Bill 1870, sponsored by a bipartisan group of assemblywomen. It would increase the time allowed to file a claim under California’s Fair Employment Law to three years, from the current one.

This is critical because it often takes a long time for victims of sexual harassment to become fed up enough to brave potential retaliation and take action. The one year timeline currently in place has been a barrier to filing claims in situations where employees have been putting up with a toxic environment out of necessity, a common situation.

Other pending bills

Another important bill pending is Assembly Bill 1867, which would require all employers of 50 or more to keep records of sexual harassment complains for a full ten years.

This is important, because in sexual harassment suits the employer’s actions are critical. They have an obligation to investigate all claims and respond appropriately. Requiring a record of their action or inaction will help establish a pattern of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Also pending is Senate bill 820, which would prohibit any settlement of a sexual harassment claim from including a non-disclosure agreement. While this does not benefit any individual victim of unwanted advances on the job, it does force sexual harassment out of the shadows for the world to see. It is an important addition to changing the climate and making the action desperately needed after #MeToo a reality.

A cultural shift

Every day, more women are empowered to stand up and take action to end sexual harassment. If you have been suffering from this on the job, you need to know you are not alone. A consultation with an attorney experienced in sexual harassment cases  can make all the difference.  It's important that they stay on top of the changes as the #MeToo movement gathers momentum.

You need to have the burden lifted from you, and know that you are not alone. Taking action today will give you the peace of mind you have been desperate for since this started. It is your right, and there are many people ready to stand with you and take action.

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