Lawmakers push for changes to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- "It was an excruciating decision to come forward 17 months ago because I felt so alone," Gretchen Carlson said

Carlson shared what it was like to break her silence after facing years of sexual harassment at her company, Fox News. She said she left the network because of powerful men who prevented victims from speaking out.

"60 million Americans when they sign employment contracts they have an arbitration clause which means if they are sexually harassed on the job they give up their 7th amendment right to go to a jury process, they're forced into a secret chamber of arbitration," Carlson added.

Now she's joining a bipartisan group of lawmakers to end forced arbitration agreements that prevent survivors from getting justice.

"Our bill would finally make it illegal for employers to enforce these unfair policies and this is a matter of basic fairness for workers," Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said.

Democratic New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are calling on Congress and companies - to sign on their support.

"So what I'd like to see is the chamber of commerce come out for this. I'd like to see the business roundtable come out for this," Graham added.

Lawmakers say this is just one of the steps to addressing the broader issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. Other experts say while the legal changes are important, it's going to take a cultural shift for the change to stick.

"This is what we do as we teach boys to either be bullies or feel that a tough version of manhood is the only way that you resolve problems," Dr. Gary Barker said.

Barker works to engage men and boys in gender equality and violence prevention. He said teaching young children from an early age how to treat others with respect is one step. But there are others society needs to take.

"Clearly we know that when men are in positions of power that's an issue as well so all that we're doing for equality in the workplace so that women have equal pay and they're equally represented whether it's boardrooms or the C-Suite or members of Congress, is also a key one," he added.

Members of Republican leadership both in the house and the senate have yet to sign on their support.



 
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