ABOVE PHOTO: Councilwoman Cindy Bass (D-Dist. 8), Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell (D-Dist. 3), Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown (D-At-Large), Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez (D-Dist. 7),Councilwoman Cherelle L. Parker (D-Dist. 9), and Councilwoman Helen Gym (D-At-Large)
Philadelphia Councilwomen Blondell Reynolds Brown, Jannie L. Blackwell, Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, Cherelle L. Parker, Cindy Bass and Helen Gym introduced a bill that would mandate sexual harassment training for all City of Philadelphia employees.
Currently, the City of Philadelphia, Office of Human Resources Sexual Harassment Policy states: It is the responsibility of each Appointing Authority to ensure that all supervisors receive the appropriate training to enforce this [Sexual Harassment] Policy.
Under the new bill:
• Mandatory annual training will be required for all exempt, non-exempt, civil service, City officers and employees regarding sexual harassment in the workplace.
According to the National Women’s Law Center, sexual harassment often has a serious and negative impact on victims’ physical and emotional health, including: anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, weight loss or gain, loss of appetite, and headaches. Researchers have also found that there is a link between sexual harassment and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Employers also suffer significant financial losses from unchecked harassment: job turnover, use of sick leave, and losses to productivity.
“What we know is that sexual misconduct, sexual harassment and sexual violence knows no racial, gender or class boundaries,” said Councilwoman Reynolds Brown. “Education and prevention have become a public health imperative. We must create a culture in which women are treated as equals and employees treat one another with respect. We must also work to change behaviors in the workplace and create a better work environment for everyone to be able to work without fear of this type of behavior.”
“We want to do all that we can to support women in the workplace. I am happy to stand in solidarity with my colleagues to address this serious issue,” said Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell.
“I’m proud to stand with the women of Council and women around the City of Philadelphia in support of victims of sexual harassment and assault,” said Councilwoman Cindy Bass. “Sexual harassment simply and absolutely may not be tolerated. I believe women, and honor those with the courage to speak out.”
“In light of recent events both locally and nationally, I believe it is in the City’s best interest to provide sexual harassment training annually to ensure that employees know what appropriate and inappropriate conduct in the workplace looks like, and how to report it,” said Councilwoman Cherelle Parker.
“The #MeToo movement and accompanying takedown of abusers across all industries has sent a clear message that the time is up for abusers in any part of our society,” said Councilwoman At-Large Helen Gym. “We all have a role to play in ending violence, and as women we know that no one will advocate for us if we don’t.”
“No woman should have her safety, her dignity, or her career threatened by sexual harassment in the workplace. We must continue to shed light on this problem so that all women can speak out without fear,” added Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez.