The Senate passed important new protection legislation for victims of sexual harassment in union workplaces on March 20.
Union members are entitled to representation by their union for disciplinary and grievance issues, including in cases of alleged sexual harassment. This representation extends to both victims and accused perpetrators in sexual harassment disciplinary hearings, if both individuals are union members. However, under current law, the union can assign the same representative to both the victim and the person or persons accused of harassment.
Under Senate Bill 1877, the newly created Sexual Harassment Victim Representation Act, a union is prohibited from designating the same person to represent both a victim of sexual harassment and an alleged perpetrator of sexual harassment in disciplinary proceedings. Proponents of the bill say this is a common sense protection for victims of sexual harassment that ensures they are represented by someone solely focused on their side of the disciplinary process.
Senator Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) is a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 1877 which passed the Senate unanimously and is now headed to the House for consideration in that chamber.