House advances Klunk, Cephas bill to protect workers from sexual harassment

HARRISBURG, May 5 – To further protect workers from sexual harassment and retribution from exposing such behavior, the House today unanimously approved bipartisan legislation sponsored by state Reps. Kate Klunk, R-Hanover, and Morgan Cephas, D-Phila.

Specifically, H.B. 938 would forbid employers from requiring employees and potential employees to sign nondisclosure agreements related to sexual harassment as a stipulation of employment. This would ensure workers who face sexual harassment in the workplace can exercise their voice to report such egregious offenses they may suffer at the hands of a co-worker or a superior.

Employees and employers would still be able to voluntarily enter into such agreements.

The bill also would clarify that nondisclosure agreements formed during the hiring process are to be considered involuntary, while those created during the settlement of a harassment case may be considered voluntary.

“Far too often victims of workplace sexual harassment are dissuaded from coming forward with allegations because of nondisclosure agreements that essentially end investigations into these offenses before they even start,” Klunk said. “This leads to a culture that prevents justice from being served and aggressors being held accountable.”

“Too many Pennsylvanians have had their sense of comfort and livelihoods ruined because they were victimized in the workplace and faced further abuse for speaking out. We can no longer be idle while this culture, which forces a person to forfeit their rights to earn an income, continues,” Cephas said. “I am proud of the bipartisan support for our bill that aims to ensure that workplaces are safe, and employees are afforded measures to protect themselves without fear of retribution.”

House Bill 938 now goes to the Senate for consideration.