What States Are Doing.

AuthorJohnson, Sharon
PositionLaws on sexual harassment

According to a report released in May by the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization based in Denver, Colorado, an "unprecedented amount of legislation on sexual harassment and sexual harassment policies" is being introduced on the state level. Thirty-two states have introduced more than 125 pieces of legislation. Limitations on the use of confidentiality agreements have received attention by six states: Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, California, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. Like Washington, which revised its use of non-disclosure agreements in 2018, these states have been leaders in labor law and women's rights. Here are some examples:

Vermont: Governor Phil Scott, a Republican, signed a comprehensive law May 28 to ban provisions in employment contracts that prevent the filing of sexual harassment claims. The legislation also requires employers who enter into a confidential settlement of sexual harassment charges to file notice of the settlement with the state attorney general's office. These records would not be open to the public but they would allow policymakers to track the scope of the problem.

The state attorney general's office may review records relating to sexual harassment and, if necessary, order employers to hold sexual harassment training or send out working-climate surveys. An online portal will be created to make the filing of sexual harassment claims easier.

New Jersey: The state senate passed a bill June 7, by a margin of 34 to 1, to outlaw the boilerplate clauses in employment contracts that have prevented victims at Miramax and other companies from speaking out. The bill would...

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