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#MeToo in 2020: the laws that have changed

| Mar 20, 2020 | Sexual Harassment |

The #MeToo movement began almost three years ago. The hashtag isn’t flooding our social media sites quite as much anymore, it is a massive moment for American history. Did the movement have any lasting effects in our workplaces, aside from raising awareness for sexual harassment and abuse?

Anti-harassment protections

According to reports by the National Women’s Law Center, protections against harassment in the workplace have been expanded upon in 5 states. They now include independent contractors, interns and graduate students. This has happened in Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New York and Vermont.

Non-disclosure agreements

Agreements signed at the time of hiring became a large reason that employers got away with workplace harassment. Survivors often felt they were unable to speak up about what had happened to them. As of 2019, though, 13 states have limited or prohibited non-disclosure agreements from being a condition of employment or used as a settlement. These include Arizona, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

Expanded statute of limitations

The statute of limitations, or the timeframe in which a crime can be reported, has been expanded for harassment and discrimination claims in four states. These are Connecticut, Maryland, New York and Oregon.

Workplace training and policy

Not only do we need to protect those who have been subject to unfair or abusive treatment, but we also need to learn how to prevent it. 10 states have begun requiring preventative measures, such as mandatory training and requirements in employer policy. These states include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

While these are massive improvements for our society, we still have a way to go in eliminating inappropriate behaviors in the workplace. If you are the victim of harassment or abuse, speak up and get the help you deserve.