Fighting for Women's Equality

Stronger California Advocates Network Launches 2018 Legislative Agenda to Combat Sexual Harassment

March 19, 2018 | by

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

CONTACT: Delia Coleman, dcoleman@equalrights.org, 312-961-0033

Stronger California Advocates Network Launches Ambitious 2018 Legislative Agenda to Combat Sexual Harassment & Ensure Women’s Economic Security

Priority Legislation Includes the Strongest Slate of Anti-Sexual Harassment and Violence Bills in the Nation

 

SACRAMENTO – At a press conference alongside members of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, statewide advocates and advocacy coalitions announced an ambitious 2018 Stronger California Advocates Network legislative agenda to combat rampant sexual harassment and violence in the workplace and to advance women’s economic security across the state. Now in its fourth year, the Stronger California Advocates Network has prioritized five bills that represent the strongest answer to sexual harassment in the nation, as well as legislation and budget priorities that keep California at the forefront in the fight against poverty and in leading efforts to advance pay equity, quality affordable child care, and family-friendly workplaces.

“California must take a strong, immediate stand against sexual harassment and violence in the workplace. At its core, sexual harassment is about more than sexual misconduct – it is a threat to women’s place in the workplace and our economic security. We must topple the systems that perpetuate and profit from the devaluation of women and exploitation of people across genders,” said Noreen Farrell, Chair of the Stronger California Advocates Network and Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates. “This legislative agenda drives reform on all threats to the economic security of women and families with bills and budget asks that not only combat harassment and violence, but also address poverty, expand access to child care, support working families, and combat intersecting forms of discrimination against women in the workplace. What happens in California instigates change across the country, so now is the time to pass the Stronger California Advocates Network Agenda, the nation’s strongest slate of bills valuing women, families, and entire communities. It is about justice, and it is about time.”

The Stronger California Advocates Network has prioritized 15 bills in the 2018 legislative cycle that take a comprehensive approach to ensuring the economic security of women and families.

Priority 2018 legislation for the advocates includes:

  • SB 1300 (Jackson): Strengthen sexual harassment training, prohibit non-disparagement agreements, and provide guidance to the courts on the “severe or pervasive” legal standard for sexual harassment.
  • AB 1870 (Reyes, Friedman, Waldron): Extend the statute of limitations for harassment and other discrimination claims from one to three years.
  • SB 1038 (Leyva): Clarify that individuals may be held personally liable for not just sexual harassment, but also retaliation against an employee who has exercised her or his legal rights against workplace harassment and others forms of discrimination.
  • SB 224 (Jackson): Clarify that sexual harassment by investors, elected officials, lobbyists, directors, and producers in business relationships is unlawful.
  • AB 2314 (Ting): Establish a program to enforce the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights.
  • SB 937 (Wiener, Leyva): Create the strongest lactation accommodation standards in the nation.
  • SB 10 (Hertzberg, Allen, Atkins, Beall, Bradford, Lara, Mitchell, Monning, Skinner, Wieckowski, Wiener): Reform the money bail system to make it more just and make communities safer.
  • SB 982 (Mitchell): Combat deep childhood poverty.

For a complete list of bills, visit strongercalifornia.org.

“We need to fight for policies that empower women to overcome the barriers that prevent us from achieving our goals and dreams, to make our families healthier and have a truly Stronger California. With so much uncertainty at the federal level, we are looking to the legislature to ensure California’s working families are stable and secure. Additional funding in the budget for affordable child care would do just that,” said Mary Ignatius, Statewide Organizer of Parent Voices

“The 2016 Domestic Workers Bill of Rights was the culmination of years of organizing by domestic workers demanding dignity in this industry. We are committed to ensuring that promise for dignity at work becomes a reality. Assembly Bill 2314 ensures that these important protections are effectively implemented and enforced for domestic workers across the state,” said Kimberly Alvarenga, Director of the California Domestic Worker Coalition.

“Salary history has been a barrier to equal pay that has spanned generations of women in the workforce. AB 2282 will continue the progress made towards eliminating wage discrimination among women by clarifying that prior salary cannot be used to justify a wage disparity under our Equal Pay laws,” said Assemblymember Susan Eggman, Acting-Interim Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus.

“The time is now to further strengthen legal protections for victims. I am thankful that the Stronger California Advocates Network has prioritized SB 1038 this year as it will clarify that individuals can be held personally liable for retaliating against an employee for exercising her or his legal rights against discrimination and harassment under the law. I am also proud to serve as joint author of Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 937, which supports women by requiring that lactation facilities and resources be provided to employees in California. These bills, along with the rest of the Stronger California priority legislation, help women to achieve economic and personal security for both themselves and their families, said Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino), Vice Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus.

“Women’s rights are human rights. When we empower women in the workplace, it’s good for our families, our economy, and our future,” said Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson. “But bringing gender equality into the workplace will take more than closing the pay gap. We have to combat the cultural and systemic discrimination that strips women of their right to pursue a career free from sexual harassment and abuse.”

“We have reached a real turning point where so many brave people have found their voice to resist and reform the status quo.  Women are taking the lead in speaking up to bring change to our society and institutions.  I am proud to be working with my colleagues in the Legislature and with the Stronger California Advocates Network on legislation that will bring about real change in the lives of women across our state,” said Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes.

For the past three years, the Stronger California Advocates Network – a historic collaboration of organizations and advocacy coalitions that have deep experience advocating on behalf of women’s economic equality – has worked with policymakers on both sides of the aisle in the legislature to pass bills that have advanced economic, educational, and civil rights for women and families around the state. 

Past legislative and budget successes include: passage of the 2015 California Fair Pay Act and the Domestic Worker’s Bill of Rights, repeal of the Maximum Family Grant Rule, and increases to child care spending in the state budget. Visit strongercalifornia.org for previous legislative agendas and wins.

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The Stronger California Advocates Network is a historic collaboration of organizations and advocate coalitions with deep experience working with communities affected by the four pillars of the Stronger California Agenda. We seek to promote policy reform in order to 1) meet basic needs and provide better income support, 2) achieve fair pay and working conditions, 3) support workforce development, encourage asset building, and 4) ensure work-family flexibility and access to quality child care.

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