Testimony of Maya Raghu
Director of Workplace Equality and Senior Counsel National Women’s Law Center
Regarding the Sexual Misconduct Sunshine Amendment Act of 2018 (B22-0907)
Before the District of Columbia Council Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety
October 4, 2018
Thank you for the opportunity to submit this testimony regarding B22-0907, the Sexual Misconduct Sunshine Amendment Act of 2018, on behalf of the National Women’s Law Center. The National Women’s Law Center has been working since 1972 to secure and defend women’s legal rights and has long worked to remove barriers to equal treatment of women in the workplace, including workplace harassment.
The timing of today’s hearing is particularly appropriate, given that this month marks the one-year anniversary of the “Me Too” hashtag going viral, when millions of survivors worldwide shared their stories of sexual harassment and violence and demanded accountability. For too long, individuals have suffered workplace harassment in silence, with little or no accountability for harassers. As the case of Harvey Weinstein revealed,1 employers’ use of nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) is longstanding and has played a disturbing role in silencing victims and allowing serial harassers to operate with impunity. Accountability is long overdue, and this one-year anniversary provides an opportunity to respond to the systemic problems the movement has highlighted.
B22-0907 is an important step in the fight to end harassment in the workplace and hold harassers accountable. The National Women’s Law Center supports this bill’s effort to limit the use of harmful nondisclosure agreements in the workplace and urges the Council to give serious consideration to our recommendations for further clarifying and strengthening the bill.