Fifteen States Have Passed New Laws Protecting Workers from Sexual Harassment in Wake of #MeToo, NWLC Report Reveals

(Washington, D.C.) Since #MeToo went viral in 2017, fifteen states have passed new laws protecting workers from sexual harassment and state legislators across the country have introduced close to 200 bills to strengthen protections against workplace harassment, according to a report released today by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). New York City, a leader among cities in strengthening its anti-harassment laws since 2017, is also highlighted in the report.

The report describes the specific legislation that has been passed and provides an overview of the progress that has been made in advancing workplace harassment reforms. Over 300 state legislators representing 40 states and the District of Columbia have declared their commitment to support survivors and work towards the goal of strengthening protections against sexual harassment in 20 states by 2020.

“Momentum is building among both conservative and progressive state legislators to pass reforms to fight harassment and abuse in the workplace—and that’s exciting to see,” said Emily Martin, NWLC Vice President for Education & Workplace Justice. “State legislatures across the country are leading in responding to the courage of survivors demanding change with structural reform to move the needle on workplace harassment. This is a movement that’s shifting workplace culture and the laws that shape it—and we are on the path to achieving real change in 20 states by 2020.”

Topline legislative accomplishments in the states include:

  • 13 states limited or prohibited employers from requiring employees to sign nondisclosure agreements as a condition of employment or as part of a settlement agreement. (Arizona, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington)
  • 5 states and New York City expanded workplace harassment protections to include independent contractors, interns, or graduate students for the first time. (Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Vermont)
  • 4 states and New York City extended their statute of limitations for filing a harassment or discrimination claim. (Connecticut, Maryland, New York, Oregon)
  • 10 states and New York City enacted key prevention measures, including mandatory training and policy requirement for employers. (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington)

NWLC sexual harassment experts are available to discuss the report’s findings.

For immediate release: July 25, 2019
Contact: LySaundra Campbell ([email protected])