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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 MurrayNational reading, math tests postponed to 2022 amid coronavirus surge Democratic anger rises over Trump obstacles to Biden transition DOJ investigation into Epstein deal ends without recommended action MORE (D-Wash.) and Democratic Reps. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkFive House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet House Democrats pick Aguilar as No. 6 leader in next Congress Nominated for another Speaker term, Pelosi says it's her last MORE (Mass.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyGOP congresswoman-elect wants to form Republican 'Squad' called 'The Force' Pelosi faces caucus divisions in Biden era Record number of Black women elected to Congress in 2020 MORE (Mass.), Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinBickering Democrats return with divisions Questions swirl at Pentagon after wave of departures Overnight Defense: Another Defense official resigns | Pentagon chief says military 'remains strong' despite purge | Top contender for Biden DOD secretary would be historic pick MORE (Mich.) and Debbie Mucarsel-PowellDebbie Mucarsel-PowellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Coast-to-coast fears about post-holiday COVID-19 spread The Memo: Democrats see warning signs beyond 2020 Florida Democrat breaks down loss: 'It's not just about socialism' 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 HarrisWho will replace Harris in Senate? 'Rising' discusses Wisconsin formally declares Biden won election following recount Moderate Democrats: Everyone's older siblings MORE (D-Calif.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate Warren, Brown voice support for controversial Biden budget office pick Biden's economic team gets mixed reviews from Senate Republicans MORE (D-Mass.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandOvernight Defense: Defense bill among Congress's year-end scramble | Iranian scientist's assassination adds hurdles to Biden's plan on nuclear deal | Navy scrapping USS Bonhomme Richard after fire Democratic senators urge Facebook to take action on anti-Muslim bigotry Social media responds to Harris making history: 'I feel like our ancestors are rejoicing' MORE (D-N.Y.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate Overnight Defense: Defense bill among Congress's year-end scramble | Iranian scientist's assassination adds hurdles to Biden's plan on nuclear deal | Navy scrapping USS Bonhomme Richard after fire Biden faces new Iran challenges after nuclear scientist killed MORE (I-Vt.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff YouTube temporarily suspends OANN account after spreading coronavirus misinformation MORE (D-Minn.) and Cory BookerCory BookerBiden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate Policy center calls for new lawmakers to make diverse hires Dangerously fast slaughter speeds are putting animals, people at greater risk during COVID-19 crisis 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.