U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Introduces Legislation to Strengthen Workplace Protections

Vance v. Ball State University has made it more difficult for workers to receive justice when they are harassed by their supervisors at work

By - Jun 24th, 2016 09:17 am

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today introduced legislation that would strengthen workplace protections. The Fair Employment Protection Act restores workplace protections to ensure that Americans harassed on the job by their supervisors are treated fairly and receive the justice they deserve.

Senator Baldwin is joined by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Ed Markey (D-MA), Al Franken (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Brian Schatz (D-HI).

“In the 21st century, harassment and hostile work environments should never impede economic success,” said Senator Baldwin. “If you work hard and play by the rules you should have the opportunity to get ahead. Unfortunately, workplace harassment remains an unacceptable reality that threatens the economic security of far too many people, particularly women, working to build a better future for themselves and their families. I am proud to introduce the Fair Employment Protection Act that would restore important workplace protections, move this issue forward, and help provide American workers the level playing field they deserve.”

“Far too many Americans suffer harassment in their workplace—holding them back both professionally and economically, said Senator Blumenthal. “By restoring critical workplace protections, this legislation would help provide workers who take action against unfair treatment with the justice they deserve. Because there is no question: Every American deserves to work in an environment free of harassment and hostility.”

“With more women in the workplace today than ever before, it is important that we right this wrong in the law books,” said Senator Mikulski. “The Vance decision was devastating for those of us who believe in strong employee protections. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues on this bill and will continue to fight so that harassment has no place in the workplace.”

“Workplace harassment should never prevent economic advancement, but for too many workers, especially women, it is an unfortunate everyday occurrence,” said Senator Markey. “The Fair Employment Protection Act will help ensure that Americans have access to the employment justice that is their right and the safe and fair workplace that they deserve.”

“Unfortunately, far too many people continue to face harassment in the workplace,” said Senator Franken. “When harassment comes from a supervisor who directs an employee’s daily work—regardless of whether that supervisor can fire them—it can affect a worker’s ability to do their job and support their family. This law will restore essential protections for American workers against harassment, and I’m going to be working hard to make sure that it becomes law.”

“All Americans deserve to work in an environment free from harassment or discrimination, and to have meaningful legal recourse when faced with a hostile working environment,” said Senator Leahy.  “The Fair Employment Protection Act is a commonsense bill that restores important workplace protections that were stripped away by the Supreme Court in Vance v. Ball State University.  I applaud Senator Baldwin for championing this bill and I am proud to join her in this fight.”

“Harassment on the job is not only against the law, it’s also a threat to workers’ wellbeing and their economic security—especially for women and low-wage workers—and that is simply unacceptable,” said Senator Murray. “I’m proud to join Senator Baldwin and our colleagues in supporting the Fair Employment Protection Act, which would help protect workers on the job and ensure that employers who tolerate harassment are held accountable.”

“‎No one should ever have to feel harassed or threatened while trying to earn a living,” said Senator Schatz. “Our bill restores strong legal protections for workers and will help ensure that everyone is treated fairly at work.”

This legislative reform was created to correct the error of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2013 decision in Vance v. Ball State University which significantly weakened the ability of workplace harassment victims to seek legal recourse. The Fair Employment Protection Act restores workplace protections weakened by the Vance decision to ensure that Americans harassed on the job by supervisors and those with authority to direct people’s day-to-day work are treated fairly and receive the justice they deserve.

The House version of this bill was introduced by Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT).

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