Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Small Businesses this should be part of your basic policy and guidance. It goes both ways. Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.
-Institute as part of your initial workplace awareness for new staff members, and contractors.
-Institute as part of you annual mandatory training for 'ALL' members. From the frontline to board.

BEMA International




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Dear Friend,

Sexual harassment of any kind, especially in the workplace, is an abomination that must be rooted out in full force. One in three women has faced sexual harassment in the workplace, forcing many to leave their occupation or industry, or pass up opportunities for advancement. Sadly, an estimated 87-94% of victims never come forward to report incidents in the workplace and even worse, 95% of perpetrators go unpunished.

Part of this troubling phenomena can be explained by the fact that over 1/3 of American workers are bound by non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in their employment contracts, which could prevent them from discussing harassment or assault in the workplace. Too many survivors have already signed away their rights to come forward before their abuse even occurs, and more continue to do so every single day. That is why we must put an end to this unjust practice.

Let’s be clear, the original purpose of the NDA was to protect trade secrets and ensure that when a company has a truly unique idea or piece of information, a competitor cannot get its hands on that valuable knowledge. This makes sense and is a legal framework that helps build and protect so many of America’s successful small and large businesses. 

Over time, however, the NDA has been used for more sinister reasons. To protect an organization’s reputation, many have weaponized the NDA, abusing its strong legal power to cover up allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault. In many instances, these agreements are buried in a standard employment contract, and when a new employee is hired, many do not even know they are giving up critical rights.

Given this wrong that needs to be addressed, I am proud to have helped pass today in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Speak Out Act. The Speak Out Act makes pre-dispute NDAs unenforceable in disputes regarding sexual assault or sexual harassment, giving survivors the choice between telling their story publicly or signing an NDA as part of a settlement. This extensive legislation also covers non-disparagement clauses, which prohibit communicating anything negative about one’s company, services, products, or leadership. 

This legislation takes a significant step in the right direction and will make people in power think twice about their actions. We must end this culture of silence that empowers the perpetrator and mutes the survivor, and the Speak Out Act helps us achieve that goal.

Yours in service,
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Kweisi Mfume
Member of Congress

Washington, DC Office
2263 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-4741

Baltimore Office
1010 Park Ave., Suite 105
Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone: 410-685-9199

Catonsville Office
754 Frederick Road
Catonsville, MD 21228
Phone: 410-818-2120

Ellicott City Office
8267 Main St., # 102
Ellicott City, MD 21043
Phone: 443-364-5413

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