The Mercury News (Exclusive): New bill would crack down on VC sexual harassment

August 17, 2017

New bill would crack down on VC sexual harassment California senator says bill would clear up a perceived gray area in the law

By Marisa Kendall | | Bay Area News Group

PUBLISHED: August 17, 2017 at 10:00 am | UPDATED: August 17, 2017 at 3:35 pm

Appalled by the recent spate of sexual harassment allegations shaking Silicon Valley’s venture capital community, a California legislator is introducing a bill that would, for the first time, lay out explicit legal penalties for investors who harass founders.

California State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) on Thursday unveiled plans to update the state’s existing civil rights law to specifically prohibit sexual harassment in the investor-founder relationship. Jackson hopes to help break down some of the barriers women face when trying to enter the tech industry — which she calls the “crown jewel” of the state’s economy.

“There are too many of these men abusing their power against women who are looking for funding for their ideas, as these women try to break into an industry that is overwhelming dominated by men,” Jackson said Thursday in an exclusive interview with this news organization, before publicly revealing the bill in a media conference call.

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