Governor Signs Jackson's #MeToo Bills to Combat Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

October 01, 2018

SACRAMENTO – As the #metoo movement continues to expose the pervasive sexual harassment and assault that millions of women and men have endured, Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) today to combat sexual harassment in the workplace by ending the legal tactics used to silence victims, informing employees of their rights, and specifically prohibiting harassment in the unique business relationships not covered by state law, such as those between lobbyists and elected officials.

Senate Bill 1300 (Jackson) provides guidance to the courts on the “severe or pervasive” legal standard for sexual harassment litigation, so that it is fairly applied in court to protect victims. The bill also prohibits non-disparagement clauses and “sneaky releases” that prevent victims from speaking out about abuse and seeking justice in court for sexual harassment. Additionally, the bill requires employers to provide information to each employee on how to report harassment and authorizes employers to provide bystander intervention training, so that employees are trained on how to effectively intervene if they see inappropriate behavior taking place. 

Senate Bill 224 (Jackson) expands sexual harassment protections to explicitly prohibit sexual harassment by investors, elected officials, lobbyists, directors and producers. While current law already prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace, Senate Bill 224 would specifically prohibit sexual harassment when it occurs in the unique relationship between entrepreneurs and venture capital investors, elected officials and lobbyists, directors and actors, and producers and filmmakers. 

“The #metoo movement raised awareness of the sexual harassment that so many have endured, but it’s not enough to simply share our stories. We need real, meaningful reforms to end this inappropriate behavior by holding perpetrators accountable and putting an end to the tactics that have been used to silence victims. With the Governor’s support of SB 224 and 1300, California is stating clearly that we believe and support victims,” said Senator Jackson. “Thank you Governor Brown for standing with survivors and signing SB 1300 and SB 224.”

The bills go into effect on January 1, 2019.

Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.