In a Nail Biter Finish, #MeToo Bill SB 1300 Heads to Governor | Equal Rights Advocates
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In a Nail Biter Finish, #MeToo Bill SB 1300 Heads to Governor

August 31, 2018 | by

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 31, 2018

CONTACTS

Jess Eagle
Equal Rights Advocates
415.575.2380
jeagle@equalrights.org

Jasmin Tuffaha
CA Employment Lawyers Association
818.274.6649
jasmin@cela.org

 

In a Nail Biter Finish, #MeToo Bill SB 1300 Heads to Governor

 

San Francisco, CA  — Yesterday legal and advocacy groups declared victory as the California Assembly narrowly passed SB 1300, an innovative sexual harassment bill co-sponsored by Equal Rights Advocates and the California Employment Lawyers Association.

“Workers have had to endure sexual harassment in the workplace for far too long, with little or no recourse. SB 1300 will help bring justice to more victims of sexual harassment,” said Mariko Yoshihara, Policy Director for the California Employment Lawyers Association, a cosponsor of the bill. “SB 1300 will combat underhanded legal tactics that employers have used to strip workers of their right to speak out and fight sexual harassment in the workplace.”

In a final push this week that contributed to the bill’s success, Academy-Award winning actress and survivor advocate Mira Sorvino called and tweeted at California lawmakers, raising awareness about the bill’s importance.

 

SB 1300 closes loopholes in California’s current sexual harassment laws, proposing several important reforms:

  • Provides guidance to California courts on the “severe or pervasive” legal standard for sexual harassment claims, to ensure the standard is consistently and fairly applied to better protect victims. This clarification addresses the “one free grope” standard that was confirmed by the 9th Circuit federal court in 2000.

  • Bans non-disparagement agreements that — as we have seen in some recent high-profile cases — keep workers from speaking out about sexual harassment and other workplace violations. These agreements are often sneaked into contracts that workers sign when accepting a job offer, or receiving a promotion, raise, or bonus. In many cases, workers unknowingly sign away their rights to bring harassment or discrimination claims to court in the future.

 

“This is a major victory for workers across the state,” said Jessica Stender, Senior Counsel for Workplace Justice & Public Policy at Equal Rights Advocates, a cosponsor of the bill. “In passing this bill, the legislature has shown a clear commitment to all those who face sexual harassment in the workplace.”

The bill is now headed to Governor Brown’s desk for his signature.

SB 1300 is part of a package known as the #TakeTheLead bills, the boldest slate of anti-sexual harassment bills in the country.

 

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Equal Rights Advocates (ERA) is a national civil rights organization dedicated to protecting and expanding economic and educational access and opportunities for women and girls.

California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA) exists to protect and expand the legal rights and opportunities of all California workers and to strengthen the community of lawyers who represent them.

 

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