Jackson to Hold Hearings on Legal Issues Surrounding Sexual Harassment

December 14, 2017


SACRAMENTO – As was announced in a press conference held by Senate Leader Kevin de León this morning, State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will be scheduling a series of hearings beginning in January to examine California’s legal standards and key legal questions surrounding sexual harassment.

The first hearing, a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Women, Work and Families, which Jackson also chairs, is titled “Justice for Victims: Re-examining California’s Legal Standards for Sexual Harassment.” Scheduled for January 11, the hearing will evaluate California’s “severe or pervasive” legal standard and whether it sets an unrealistic bar for sexual harassment victims pursuing justice for their claims and whether legislation is needed to make the law more victim-centered.

A second (not yet scheduled) hearing will explore employment contracts, non-disparagement and non-disclosure clauses, and their impact on sexual harassment victims, workplaces and perpetrators.

“The goal will be to gain clarity about California’s current sexual harassment laws and formulate possible legislation that ensures that perpetrators are held accountable, workplaces are free from harassment, victims can pursue justice, and due process is upheld,” Jackson said. “As we do important work confronting sexual harassment within the Legislature, it’s also important that we take a serious look at our state’s current laws in all work environments and the legal context for addressing such issues.”

Earlier this year, after news broke of pervasive sexual harassment in the venture capital industry, Jackson introduced SB 224 to make it clear that harassment between investors and entrepreneurs is prohibited under California law. In January, Jackson will be amending SB 224 to further clarify that sexual harassment by movie producers, elected officials, lobbyists and others is also covered.

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