(Washington, D.C.) Two-hundred and ninety-six legislators—representing 40 states—have signed a letter of commitment to strengthen protections against sexual harassment and violence at work, in schools, homes, and communities by 2020. Legislators signing onto the 20 States by 2020 initiative pledge to work with survivors and the communities most seriously affected by sexual violence—including women of color, immigrants, and LBGTQIA individuals—to create concrete solutions to end sexual abuse. The effort responds to a call for state legislative action released in October 2018 by over 300 organizations from across the country in response to the #MeToo movement.
The 20 States by 2020 effort will build on and expand the reforms that state legislators spearheaded in 2018 when they introduced over 100 bills that toughen protections against workplace harassment. Five states passed legislation that bars employers from requiring employees to sign nondisclosure agreements as a condition of employment. Four states now prohibit employers from requiring employees to agree to forced arbitration. Four jurisdictions have expanded protections to include independent contractors, interns, or graduate students.
“In the wake of so many brave individuals sharing their stories of harassment and abuse over the past year, we now need policy reform to ensure that their bravery creates lasting change,” said Emily Martin, Vice President for Education & Workplace Justice at the National Women’s Law Center. “The states have been at the forefront of this effort, and it is inspiring to see nearly three hundred legislators—from both sides of the aisle—declare war on a culture of abuse and silence and pledge to fight to combat sexual violence wherever it occurs by 2020. We don’t have time to waste.”
For immediate release: January 23, 2019
Contact: Maria Patrick (firstname.lastname@example.org)