Sending Office: Honorable Carolyn B. Maloney
I write to invite you to cosponsor H.R. 1828, the Ending Secrecy About Workplace Sexual Harassment Act to increase corporate transparency and accountability for preventing sexual misconduct to persist in the workplace.
For too long, systemic secrecy around cases of workplace sexual assault and harassment in the workplace has allowed them to be concealed for years – even decades – through out-of-court settlements that may contain confidentiality clauses. If a company never
has to disclose that it had to respond to such claims, it allows the abuse to continue and endangers current and prospective employees. When these incidents come to the attention of corporate leadership, the incentive is to pay out a settlement and keep the
incident a secret. That needs to change so that companies prioritize prevention and not simply covering up incidents as they occur.
The Ending Secrecy About Workplace Sexual Harassment Act addresses these problems by:
- Requiring companies to disclose to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) the number of settlements reached (including out-of-court settlements) in the resolution of claims of sexual harassment, sexual assault or discrimination on the basis
of sex as part of the Employer Information Report EEO-1. The data submitted would not include personally identifiable information, but simply disclose that an internal settlement was reached in response to such a complaint.
- Directing the EEOC to report to Congress annually on the reports of complaints and settlements received by the Commission, compiling information from EEO-1 submissions, individual complaints made directly to the EEOC, and public court records of litigation
against employers. The EEOC must also report to Congress any agency action taken in response to the data collected.
- Prohibits retaliation against any employee who raises a complaint about any violation of the reporting requirement.
- Instructing the GAO to conduct a comprehensive study within one year of enactment with recommendations to Congress on improving transparency and prevention of workplace sexual misconduct claims.
The EEOC currently publishes aggregate statistics about the individual charges of alleged sexual harassment it receives every year, but this information is incomplete without information on claims against employers that are resolved internally. More complete
data and a transparency requirement will help identify institutional problems that should elicit further investigation by EEOC. This bill also has the potential to spark a change in the workplace, inspiring corporate leaders to focus on prevention if they
know that complete secrecy is no longer an option regardless of how a claim is addressed and resolved.
If you have questions about the bill or would like to cosponsor H.R. 1828, the Ending Secrecy About Workplace Sexual Harassment Act, please have your staff contact Christina Parisi in my office at
firstname.lastname@example.org or x5-7944.
CAROLYN B. MALONEY
Member of Congress
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