Congress Reintroduces BE HEARD Act that Covers All Workers, Regardless of Size of Workplace

(Washington, D.C.) The Bringing an End to Harassment by Enhancing Accountability and Rejecting Discrimination (BE HEARD) in the Workplace Act of 2021 was reintroduced today in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives with the support of 22 Senators and 73 Representatives. The comprehensive BE HEARD legislation would extend federal laws against workplace harassment and other forms of discrimination to cover all workers, regardless of the size of their workplace. This bill would cover independent contractors, interns, fellows, volunteers, and trainees. Among other provisions, it would clarify that unlawful sex discrimination at work includes harassment and other forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity—and it raises the minimum wage for tipped employees so that they are paid the same minimum wage as everyone else.

The following is a statement by Emily Martin, NWLC Vice President for Education and Workplace Justice:

“Women know all too well that workplace harassment is still commonplace in every industry and every type of job. The pandemic and economic uncertainty exacerbate vulnerability to abuse, especially among low-paid women of color who often must remain silent and endure the harassment to hold on to their jobs. Finally, there’s help on the way: the BE HEARD in the Workplace Act ensures that all workers have legal protections against harassment and abuse, activates bold reforms to promote transparency and accountability in the workplace, and removes barriers to securing justice—like ending short statutes of limitations. This bill is long overdue. Every working person deserves to have safety and dignity at work.”