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 MurraySenate Health Committee advances bipartisan package to lower health costs Overnight Health Care: Trump officials defend changes to family planning program | Senators unveil bipartisan package on health costs | Democrats pass T spending bill with HHS funds Chris Murphy may oppose bipartisan health bill unless it addresses ObamaCare 'sabotage' MORE (D-Wash.) and Democratic Reps. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkDemocrats already jockeying for House leadership posts Overnight Health Care: Major doctors group votes to oppose single-payer | Panel recommends wider use of HIV prevention pill | New lawsuit over Trump 'conscience protection' rule Democrats scuttle attempt to strike Hyde Amendment from spending bill MORE (Mass.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyThe four House Democrats who voted against the border funding bill Wayfair employees plan walkout over sales to migrant detention centers Progressive group endorses three House freshmen MORE (Mass.), Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinKlobuchar, Warner introduce bill to limit foreign involvement in US political ads Bipartisan House duo unveils amendment to block Iran strike without Congress's approval Chaos within the EPA exposes Americans to toxins like asbestos MORE (Mich.) and Debbie Mucarsel-PowellDebbie Mucarsel-Powell Biz groups target Florida voters ahead of Democratic debates in Miami Lawmakers congratulate US women's soccer team on winning opening World Cup match Steyer group targeting 12 congressional Democrats over impeachment 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 HarrisPoll: Biden leads Democratic field by 6 points, Warren in second place 2020 Dems say they will visit Homestead facility holding migrant children Warren visits migrant care shelter, says children being marched 'like little prisoners' MORE (D-Calif.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDon't expect Trump-sized ratings for Democratic debates Poll: Biden leads Democratic field by 6 points, Warren in second place Senate Health Committee advances bipartisan package to lower health costs MORE (D-Mass.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandWarren visits migrant care shelter, says children being marched 'like little prisoners' Where 2020 Democrats stand in betting markets ahead of first debate GOP lays debate trap for 2020 Democrats MORE (D-N.Y.), Bernie SandersBernie Sanders2020 Democrats spar over socialism ahead of first debate 'Teflon Don' avoids the scorn of the 'family values' GOP — again Don't expect Trump-sized ratings for Democratic debates MORE (I-Vt.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharPelosi: Congress will receive election security briefing in July 2020 Dems say they will visit Homestead facility holding migrant children The Hill's 12:30 Report: Anticipation high ahead of first debate MORE (D-Minn.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBooker calls for hearings on reports of ICE using solitary confinement Poll: Biden leads Democratic field by 6 points, Warren in second place The Hill's 12:30 Report: Anticipation high ahead of first debate MORE (D-N.J.), among other senators.

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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.