Unfinished Business

Briefing, New Report Highlight Need to Restore Workplace Protections

By Simone Novorr, a Spring 2014 Leadership Conference Education Fund Intern

Last Thursday, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, along with the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), held a briefing on the Fair Employment Protection Act. The bill seeks to restore workplace protections – which were impaired by last June’s Vance v. Ball State University Supreme Court decision – to ensure that Americans who are harassed in the workplace by their supervisors receive the fair treatment and justice they deserve.

The event was held in conjunction with NWLC’s new report titled “REALITY CHECK: Seventeen Million Reasons Low-Wage Workers Need Strong Protections from Harassment.”

NWLC’s report highlights three important workplace realities that are imperative to understanding how important this bill is to low-wage workers.

  1. Sexual harassment is widespread, as 25 percent of women and 10 percent of men have experienced harassment.
  2. Millions of lower-level supervisors have significant power over low-wage workers. This is evident from surveys that looked into seven different low-wage industries.
  3. Low-wage workers need strong protections from workplace harassment.


Panelists at the briefing included Liz Watson, director of workplace justice for women at NWLC, Nikki Lewis, executive director at DC Jobs with Justice, and Johnathan Smith, assistant council of the economic justice practice at LDF.

The Fair Employment Protection Act, introduced on March 13, is co-sponsored by Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D. Wisc., and Tom Harkin, D. Iowa, and Reps. George Miller, D. Calif., and Rosa DeLauro, D. Conn.

Click here to learn more about the Fair Employment Protection Act and here to read NWLC’s report.