In a hearing today, the Minnesota Senate Judiciary Committee took up SF 2295, a bill that radically redefines sexual harassment and would place justice out of reach for many victims. The bill codifies an unreasonably high bar for proving that sexual harassment occurred and harmed its victim enough to take seriously.
The following statement is from Gender Justice Advocacy Director Erin Maye Quade:
“The ‘Sexual Harasser Protection Act’ is victim-blaming at its worst, and would be a huge step backward for Minnesota. It puts a series of hurdles in front of sexual harassment victims, while shielding the perpetrators. Even more, it lets employers off the hook in cases where they do little - or nothing - to address the problem, or prevent it from occurring in the first place.
“Among its most troubling provisions, SF 2295 lowers the standards by which employers would be held responsible for what happens in their workplace. Employer should be liable if they hire or promote a supervisor who goes on to harass and abuse others in the workplace. It takes more to ensure that workplaces are safe and fair beyond placing a written policy into the employee handbook or holding a one-time training, but this bill lets employers get away with the bare minimum.
“Minnesotans have some of the most meaningful civil and human rights protections in the country. We value the right to work, go to school and live free of harassment or discrimination. But this bill would roll back many of the basic legal protections that are part of the Minnesota Human Rights Act. We urge the Senate to reject SF 2295 and any efforts to chip away at essential Minnesota values.”