Just over a year ago, actress Alyssa Milano ignited the powerful #MeToo movement on Twitter, using the hashtag originally created by Tarana Burke in 2006 to raise awareness about sexual violence. Within weeks, the voices and stories of women and people of all genders, saying #MeToo, exposed the rampant and pervasive culture of sexual harassment infecting nearly every industry.
The #MeToo movement galvanized legislatures across the nation to strengthen laws prohibiting sexual harassment. Here in California, the Legislature introduced over two dozen bills to address systemic workplace harassment. By the close of last year’s legislative session, 17 of those bills made it to the Governor’s desk and 12 were signed into law.
One of the most significant bills enacted last year was SB 1300, a sexual harassment omnibus bill the California Employment Lawyers Association and Equal Rights Advocates co-sponsored. This bill targeted certain gaps in the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) that— according to the bill sponsors—denied justice to some sexual harassment victims, permitted sexual predators to evade its reaches, and generally allowed workplace sexual harassment to persist. SB 1300 addresses these gaps by enacting several important reforms.