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Proposed sexual harassment law seeks to prohibit secrecy

Many of our readers in California have no doubt been following all of the news stories that have come out over the past year or so regarding sexual harassment in the workplace in America. California, in particular, as the home of Hollywood and thousands of celebrities, has been at the center of the developments in the so-called #MeToo movement to expose and end sexual harassment. Now, the movement may be getting some formidable legal back-up.

According to a recent report, a bill to prohibit secret sexual harassment settlements has been passed by the state legislature and sent to Governor Jerry Brown to be signed into law. The law apparently stems from many instances in which allegations of sexual harassment, once uncovered, are "silenced" by a financial pay-off and a confidential settlement agreement. The law, if signed into effect, would prohibit the alleged perpetrator in such a situation from being shielded from exposure. The alleged victim, however, could remain unnamed.

One state legislator, who reportedly wrote the bill, stated that the ability of alleged perpetrators to pay victims what many would call "hush money" is actually part of the problem when it comes to sexual harassment. Apparently, the thinking is that such an ability - and the ability to remain unnamed in a lawsuit - just further enables circumstances in which sexual harassment can occur.

The governor may consider signing this bill into law soon. In the meantime, those who are looking for legal options in the wake of a sexual harassment incident may soon be able to count on this law for further legal back-up.

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