EMPOWER Act Would Help Correct Power Imbalances That Lead to Sexual Harassment

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families

“More than 50 years after being prohibited by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, workplace sexual harassment remains pervasive and diminishes women’s opportunities to thrive. It affects women and men across occupations, contributes to the persistent gender wage gap, and can have especially severe consequences for women who face other forms of discrimination, including women of color, LGBTQ women and women with disabilities.

Today, U.S. Senators Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Representatives from both parties, led by Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), took a step toward preventing and addressing workplace sexual harassment by introducing the Ending the Monopoly of Power Over Workplace Harassment through Education and Reporting (EMPOWER) Act. By increasing transparency, creating disincentives for companies to protect harassers and ending the use of nondisparagement and nondisclosure agreements, the EMPOWER Act would help to correct the power imbalances that lead to sexual harassment — including for those workers who face the most severe inequities — domestic workers, farmworkers, and restaurant and retail workers.

Members of Congress should pass the EMPOWER Act, as well as other legislation that would lead to greater economic security for women. These policies include paid family and medical leave, paid sick days, higher wages and protections against pregnancy discrimination. Women voters united to elect the most diverse, female Congress in history. These voters have created a mandate to pass a progressive agenda that strengthens women and families. It’s past time to prioritize their needs.”

About the National Partnership

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.

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