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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: April 4, 2018 03:40 PM
From: Senator Wayne D. Fontana
To: All Senate members
Subject: Anti-Harassment Training
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act requires the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission to issue a fair employment practices notice to employers to post in the workplace for purposes of providing employees with information regarding workplace harassment and discrimination. However, the Act does not require that the notice include explanations or examples of the types of behaviors and comments that constitute unlawful discrimination or harassment under the law. The Act also fails to require employers to provide interactive training regarding discrimination, harassment and retaliation to all employees and supervisors.

In light of recent media coverage, many advocates and law firms specializing in workplace harassment policies suggest that in order to improve workplace harassment policies and employer-employee safety, employers should provide better training and notices regarding what constitutes discrimination and harassment. By having more thorough explanations and case examples, staff will better understand which acts would constitute a violation.

For this reason I plan to introduce legislation that would require employers covered under the Pa. Human Relations Act to provide interactive, biennial training for all employees with explanations and examples of different acts that would constitute unlawful discriminatory, harassing or retaliatory conduct. My bill will also mandate that employees be educated on the procedure to file a complaint with the Commission on this matter. Furthermore, my legislation will require the Commission’s fair employment practices notice to include descriptions of discrimination, harassment and retaliation that violate the law with examples of different acts and behaviors constituting sexual harassment as well.

This legislation is part of a multi-bill package intended to address the all-too-common workplace harassment employees face in the Commonwealth and nationally. The #MeToo movement has provided victims the opportunity to bring their stories forward and educate the public on the pervasiveness of this issue. Now is the time to turn this momentum into action to foster safe, equitable, and accountable workplaces where jobs and promotions are not leveraged for sexual favors or where people are shamed for their background or identity.

I hope you will join me in giving a voice to these victims by co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as SB1147