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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Kelly Moller (DFL)

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RELEASE: Minn. House approves bill strengthening protections against sexual harassment

Thursday, March 21, 2019

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Today, on a vote of 113-10, the Minnesota House approved HF 10, a bill authored by Rep. Kelly Moller (DFL – Shoreview) to update Minnesota’s sexual harassment law to strengthen protections against such behavior in workplaces. The legislation is part of the Minnesota House DFL’s Minnesota Values Plan, the first 10 bills introduced during the session.

“It’s abundantly clear that workplace culture needs to change, and this bill is necessary to ensure that all Minnesota workers can go to their jobs without experiencing harassment or other unwanted behavior,” Rep. Moller said. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen it’s nearly impossible for those who have experienced this reprehensible conduct to receive justice. The #MeToo movement has given a powerful voice to survivors, and I’m deeply inspired by those who have courageously come forth to share their stories, and this has made our action today possible.”

For decades, courts have upheld an unreasonable “severe or pervasive” threshold when applying sexual harassment law, making it extremely difficult for those who have experienced harassment to see justice and accountability. Rep. Moller’s bill will remove this roadblock by providing an overdue clarification to Minnesota’s Human Rights Act.

“All Minnesotans deserve to work and live in an environment free from sexual harassment,” said House Speaker Melissa Hortman. “The legal standard courts are currently applying is too high. Minnesotans shouldn’t have to deal with sexual harassment, but if they do, we want to make sure they can have their day in court.”

“Over the last two years through the #MeToo movement, we have seen women across this state and this country fight for change, and say that we’re not going to tolerate this behavior anymore,” said Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. “Celebrities, politicians, CEOs — it doesn’t matter who you are, nobody should be above accountability. And nobody should be beneath the law’s protection. This bill helps bring us forward.”