NJ State Lawmakers to Examine Sexual Harassment PoliciesFebruary 14, 2018
The social media campaign, MeToo, encourages women who have been sexually harassed to post a hashtag on their social media pages. The campaign went viral in October 2017 when powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of credible accounts of sexual harassment. Shortly afterwards, he was terminated from the company he founded. Since then, millions of women who have suffered in silence after experiencing sexual harassment have retweeted the movement in solidarity. Several famous celebrities have been called out as a result.
Sexual Harassment in the Political Arena
Reports of similar misconduct in the political arena have been making headlines. The Associated Press (AP) recently conducted a 50-state review of state legislatures across the country. It found that in the past year, at least 14 legislators in 10 states have resigned from office after being accused of sexual harassment. More legislators have voluntarily or forcibly been removed from leadership positions because of similar accusations.
Most state legislatures have begun to examine their own policies and procedures on dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace. However, New Jersey is not among them. The AP review found that New Jersey is one of only 16 states where lawmakers were not actively reviewing their sexual harassment policies, and is among only 17 states that does not mandate anti-sexual harassment training for state legislators and their employees.
Time for New Jersey to Act
New Jersey’s legislature has a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Complaints can be filed with a human resources officer who may either hire an investigator or use internal staff to investigate. A written report of findings is provided to the Senate president, the Assembly speaker, their executive directors, and the director of the Office of Legislative Services. They determine if the findings will be accepted. A final letter of determination is provided to the complainant within 120 days after the complaint is made.
Senator Weinberg, the ranking female Senator in the New Jersey Assembly, has called for a re-examination and update of the state’s policy. Weinberg is a member of the Legislative Services Commission and says that the first order of business of the commission next session will be to examine the policy. Newly elected Assembly Speaker, Craig Coughlin, believes the policy must be modernized and training needs to be improved to ensure everything is done to prevent harassment and protect victims.
Senator Weinberg is also working on a bill to prevent employers from entering into non-disclosure agreements with employees. Such agreements have been used in settlements to prevent victims from speaking about the harassment. She believes that the culture of secrecy has allowed people to get away with harassment.
Cherry Hill Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Assist Victims of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Our experienced team of Cherry Hill sexual harassment lawyers are here to assist you. If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, call Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. today at 215-569-1999, or contact us online for a free, confidential consultation. We are centrally located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and we proudly serve clients from the surrounding areas, including New Jersey.