Much of the U.S. was shocked to hear allegations of sexual harassment against some of the most powerful people in the entertainment business. These reports brought to the public eye how prevalent the problem of inappropriate, illegal and abusive behavior can be in the workplace. While women are often the victims of sexual harassment, particularly women of color, men may also suffer from this hostile behavior whenever there is an imbalance of power.
Many are asking now if the #metoo movement that arose in the wake of the most prominent allegations has done enough to make changes for those who are not celebrities with a public platform. According to activists, not enough is happening in state legislatures to protect those who do not have power in the workplace. They are calling for some important changes in laws across the country, including these and others:
- All workers should have the same protections, including gig workers and independent contractors.
- Damages for victims of sexual harassment should not have caps.
- Victims should have more time to deal with the psychological impact of their assault before filing.
- Victims should not have to sign non-disclosure agreements that protect the identity of an abuser.
- Employee contracts should not require mandatory arbitration and other waivers that favor the employer.
California is at the forefront of enacting more laws to protect victims of sexual harassment on the job. This includes new protections for interns and volunteers as well as seeking laws that provide panic buttons for vulnerable hotel workers. These changes may take time, but each change is a step closer to creating work environments that are safe for everyone.