PA representative introduces two bills addressing sexual harassment in the workplace

HARRISBURG — State Rep. Margo Davidson introduced two bills Monday addressing sexual harassment in the workplace.

The first bill, “Preventing Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace,” would extend the amount of time a person has to file discrimination complaints with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission in order to give victims and whistleblowers more time to come forward, according to a news release from the House Democratic Communications Office.

“The majority of sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace goes unreported,” Davidson said.  “Potential whistleblowers may fear the threat of retaliation or be uncertain whether the incident qualifies as harassment or discrimination. Often, it takes time for whistleblowers to build up the courage to come forward, but it is vitally important to the safety and productivity of our workplaces that they do so.”

The second — “#TimesUP – Sexual Harassment by Public Officials” — would expand the duties of the State Ethics Commission, an independent state agency, to include investigating sexual harassment claims against officials and public employees at all levels of government in Pennsylvania, the news release states.

“For those who commit sexual harassment, we say, ‘Time’s Up,’” Davidson said. “Victims of sexual harassment involving people in positions of power must have the assurance that their complaints will be investigated by bipartisan, independent bodies rather than negotiated in secret.

“With these legislative proposals, we hope to establish clear procedures for reporting sexual harassment and discrimination by elected officials or public employees in order to ensure those found guilty of the behavior are punished appropriately.”

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