Jawando Sponsors Bill to Better Address Workplace Sexual Harassment

Councilmember Will Jawando introduced legislation which defines harassment and sexual harassment on March 25.

On March 25, the Montgomery County Council introduced legislation to define the terms “harassment” and “sexual harassment,” in order to help victims better confront workplace harassment, according to a press release from the Montgomery County Council. 

Councilmember Will Jawando sponsored the bill and Councilmember Nancy Navarro is a cosponsor. 

The legislation would define harassment as conduct which “include verbal, written, or physical conduct, regardless of whether the conduct would be considered sufficiently severe or pervasive under precedent applied to harassment claims,” according to the proposed bill and press release.

It would also define sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal, written, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, whether or not the conduct would be considered sufficiently severe or pervasive under precedent applied to harassment claims,” according to the proposed bill and press release. 

The goal of the bill is to offer additional legal protections against workplace harassment. Current legal practices ask victims to meet “unreasonably high standards” to prove harassment, limiting their ability to win cases or find justice, according to remarks Jawando made at the bill introduction. The new standards are based in part on standards implemented by New York State. 

“It is long past due that we address a deficient standard related to the definitions of harassment and sexual harassment in our laws,” Jawando said in remarks at the introduction of the bill. “Sexual harassment is not just uncomfortable, it’s frightening and disturbing. This bill will make the workplace more professional for all.”

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About Grace Mottley

Grace Mottley is an intern for Montgomery County Media. She studies at the University of Maryland, where she is majoring in multi-platform journalism.

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