N.J. lawmaker wants transparency on settling workplace harassment cases

New Jersey Sen. Loretta Weinberg has introduced a measure calling for employers to provide paid sick days to their workers. AP file photo)

New Jersey Sen. Loretta Weinberg has introduced a measure calling for employers to provide paid sick days to their workers. AP file photo)

A New Jersey lawmaker has introduced legislation that would ban agreements that conceal the details of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Keeping sexual harassment settlements secret allows perpetrators to continue their abusive behavior, said Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg.

“Their names are never put out there,” she said. “Companies continue sometimes to cover for them, continue to provide the resources to settle the lawsuits, and the environment is not changed because the perpetrator is not punished in any way.”

Weinberg, D-Bergen, said she’s not aware of any harassment cases involving members of the Legislature.

“We do have a sexual harassment policy,” she said. “I’ve asked the Office of Legislative Services to take a look at the policy and make sure it’s up to date and appropriate, and hopefully we don’t have that atmosphere here.”

Similar legislation is being considered at the federal level, said Weinberg, who questions whether Congress would pass it. In the meantime, she said she hopes New Jersey lawmakers will enact her proposal.

“This is an environment that has gone on for much too long,” Weinberg said Tuesday. “I don’t think there is a woman that I know my age or much younger who hasn’t witnessed some of this in the course of their life. And it’s time to make it stop.”

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