Dec. 6, 2017

Bipartisan Legislation Would Give Voice to Victims of Workplace Harassment

Public Citizen Endorses Legislation That Would Protect Workers, Not Abusers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – New legislation introduced today in Congress would help stop employers from keeping incidents of discrimination and harassment in the shadows, Public Citizen said today.

The watchdog group endorsed the bipartisan legislation, which was introduced by U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

It comes as the U.S. House of Representatives Administration Committee plans a hearing Thursday to examine reforms to the Congressional Accountability Act (CAA), a law that requires Congress to follow many workplace laws that other employers must follow. The CAA, however, includes an arcane process that blocks justice for congressional staffers who seek to report incidents of discrimination.

Lisa Gilbert, Public Citizen’s vice president of legislative affairs, said, “We strongly support efforts to remove forced arbitration provisions from employment contracts. These insidious provisions prevent victims of discrimination and sexual harassment from getting the justice they deserve.”

Remington A. Gregg, Public Citizen’s counsel for civil justice and consumer rights, said, “Congress has a responsibility not only to protect workers around the country from forced arbitration provisions that allow systemic discrimination to persist, but also to reform its own system to better protect congressional staffers from workplace discrimination and harassment.”