Krueger-Braneky: Time for sexual harassment study passed; action needed

HARRISBURG, June 12 – Citing the growing cases and reports detailing the runaway culture of sexual harassment and misconduct in the Capitol, state Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky today said the Republican response to merely study the problem is not enough.

“It’s not time to study the problem; it’s time to act,” she said during a House Labor and Industry Committee meeting in which Republicans voted for H.R. 828, which would launch a yearlong taxpayer-funded study to look at sexual harassment and misconduct in state government.

“There are bills sitting in this committee – and spread throughout other committees – that would allow us to take action right now on a problem we are all unfortunately well aware of.

“Any woman in any workplace knows full well we have a problem with sexual harassment and misconduct that has gone unchecked for generations. We don’t need a study to tell us that there must be a fair and impartial process to investigate harassment claims and protections against retaliation against victims and whistleblowers.”

Some of the bills that Krueger-Braneky referenced during the meeting today include:

  • H.B. 1965 (state Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky) -- would clearly define sexual harassment in state law, install a bicameral nonpartisan Office of Compliance, require elected officials to reimburse taxpayer settlements for sexual harassment, and establish standard procedures to investigate claims made within the General Assembly (#METOO Act). 
  • H.B.s 1971 and 2280 (state Rep. Maureen Madden) – would ensure that all workers across the state are safeguarded. Currently, coverage under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act only applies to employers with four or more employees.
  • H.B. 2282 (state Rep. Christopher Rabb) – would update human relations law to include those who work in agriculture, domestic services, interns and volunteers. Employers would be required to provide interactive training in discrimination, harassment and retaliation prevention.
  • H.B. 2283 (state Rep. Dom Costa) – would improve workplace conditions in Pennsylvania by giving employees clearer descriptions of unacceptable behavior, including sexual harassment.
  • H.B. 2286 (state Rep. Margo Davidson) – would expand the statute of limitations for filing a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission from 180 days to two years and include a right to trial by jury, punitive damages and the award of attorney fees to a prevailing plaintiff.
  • H.B. 2284 (state Rep. Mike O’Brien) – would amend the Whistleblower Law to expand the statute of limitations for the filing of a complaint of retaliation by an employee from 180 days to two years and include a right to trial by jury and punitive damages.