Dems unveil anti-workplace harassment bill

A group of Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday unveiled a bill aimed at strengthening protections against harassment in the workplace, including sexual harassment.

Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments Obstacles remain for deal on surprise medical bills Key House and Senate health leaders reach deal to stop surprise medical bills MORE (D-Wash.) and Democratic Reps. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkThe Hill's Morning Report - Fallout from day one of Trump impeachment hearing 'Squad' members recruit Raskin to run for Oversight gavel House passes third bill aimed at preventing foreign election interference MORE (Mass.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleySanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire Booker unveils legislation for federal bill to ban discrimination against natural hair House approves two-state resolution in implicit rebuke of Trump MORE (Mass.), Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinPro-trade group launches media buy as Trump and Democrats near deal on new NAFTA Iran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report Democrats debate scope of impeachment charges MORE (Mich.) and Debbie Mucarsel-PowellDebbie Mucarsel-PowellLawmakers to watch during Wednesday's impeachment hearing Democrats set to open new chapter in impeachment Congress extends flood insurance program for 14th time since 2017 MORE (Fla.) introduced the "Be HEARD Act," which stands for Bringing an End to Harassment by Enhancing Accountability and Rejecting Discrimination in the Workplace.

Several 2020 Democratic presidential contenders have also signed onto the legislation, including Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisThe media have fallen out of love with Bernie, but have voters? Krystal Ball: Media turns on Buttigieg, will this end him? Senate Democrats demand Trump fire Stephen Miller MORE (D-Calif.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenThe media have fallen out of love with Bernie, but have voters? Buttigieg surrogate on candidate's past consulting work: 'I don't think it matters' Steyer rolls out 5B plan to invest in historically black colleges MORE (D-Mass.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandOvernight Defense: Bombshell report reveals officials misled public over progress in Afghanistan | Amazon accuses Trump of 'improper pressure' in Pentagon contract decision | House Judiciary holds final impeachment hearing Gillibrand demands hearing following release of 'Afghanistan Papers' White House, Congress near deal to give 12 weeks paid parental leave to all federal workers MORE (D-N.Y.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders urges impeachment trial 'quickly' in the Senate The media have fallen out of love with Bernie, but have voters? Steyer rolls out 5B plan to invest in historically black colleges MORE (I-Vt.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharPoll: Biden leads Democratic field, Warren drops to third place 'Minor league cities' need new federal partnership The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - Democrats to release articles of impeachment today MORE (D-Minn.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSanders urges impeachment trial 'quickly' in the Senate Steyer rolls out 5B plan to invest in historically black colleges The great AI debate: What candidates are (finally) saying about artificial intelligence MORE (D-N.J.), among other senators.


The legislation aims to eliminate the tipped minimum wage, which largely leaves service worker pay up to customers, as well as end mandatory arbitration and pre-employment nondisclosure agreements and give workers more time to report harassment, among other provisions.

"Millions of workers are not protected under our civil rights laws. Far too many are still silenced by mandatory disclosure agreements that prevent them from discussing sexual harassment and longstanding practices like the tipped wages that keep workers in certain industries especially vulnerable," Murray said at a press conference. 

"The Be HEARD Act will take strong new steps to address all of this and more," she said.

The legislation draws from recommendations outlined late last year by Murray, the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Clark emphasized at the press conference Tuesday that "no matter your race, income or job, you have a right to be safe in your workplace."

“Our bill ... will put us one step closer to making toxic workplace harassment and discrimination a dark memory of the past,” Pressley added.

The bill follows other legislation introduced on Capitol Hill because of the "Me Too" movement that has put a focus on combatting sexual harassment.

Last month, bipartisan lawmakers introduced a bill aiming to establish a confidential tip-line for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and require public companies to disclose the number of settlements and judgments it is subject to for reasons of harassment, among other provisions.