New bill strives to ensure workers' safety from sexual harassment
Democratic state Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz (D-Glenview) is spearheading a drive to curb sexual harassment in the workplace with the proposed creation of the Private Sector Workplace Anti-Harassment Task Force.
With the Department of Human Rights entrusted with handling administrative support, House Bill 905 further stipulates that the Task Force “shall create model policies and best practices to keep workplaces safe from sexual harassment.”
Even as some critics argue the proposal amounts to more government overreach and could further hamper an already depressed business climate even more, the proposal is slated to take effect immediately if it passes. Currently, the bill has been referred to the House’s Economic Opportunity & Equity Committee with Reps. Daniel Didech (D-Buffalo Grove), Jaime M. Andrade Jr. (D-Chicago), Jonathan Carroll (D-Buffalo Grove), John Connor (D-Lockport) and Justin Slaughter (D-Chicago) having signed on as co-sponsors of the legislation.
A human rights attorney, Gong-Gershowitz based much of her campaign on a platform of greater equality and changing the status quo.
“Women’s rights have been a cornerstone of my legal career, and I will support policies that empower women to have full agency in all facets of our lives – personal, professional and political,” she told the Sun-Times. “I will defend a woman’s right to choose, demand equal pay and work to restore funding for life-saving breast cancer screenings and other critical health services for women. In addition, I will make addressing the toxic culture of harassment and intimidation a priority in my first term.”