On June 5, Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California and Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska introduced the EMPOWER Act—workplace harassment legislation designed to empower victims, put companies on notice, and spur systemic change.
Sexual harassment and misconduct must not be allowed by anyone and should not occur anywhere. The culture of fear and silence created by perpetrators of sexual harassment in the workplace has existed for far too long and must come to an end. It’s time to address the gaps in our laws that allow this misconduct to go unpunished and keep it in the shadows.
We have a choice to make; either sit on the sidelines and hope for change, or roll up our sleeves to make the change. We must work to identify where harassment is its most pervasive; where it has been allowed to foster in a culture of silence, disrespect, intimidation, and abuse. And we must empower victims to speak out about the harassment they face.
Consistent with our belief that the time is long overdue for public and private employers to address sexual harassment and a full range of workplace discrimination complaints, including those based on sex, race, disability, age, ethnicity/national origin, color, religion, marital status, and parental status, People For the American Way is a proud EMPOWER Act endorser.
Workplace harassment is a pervasive problem that threatens both the livelihood and the safety of those experiencing it—disproportionately women in low-wage jobs. We applaud Senators Harris and Murkowski for taking an important step toward addressing this urgent issue. Every person deserves to feel respected and safe in their own workplace.