Congress is working on legislation to reverse the GOP's recent dismantling of sexual harassment protections

Sen. Lindsey Graham introduces bill to fight sexual harassment
(Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images))

Last spring, congressional Republicans passed and President Trump signed a law repealing former President Barack Obama's Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule, finalized in August 2016, as part of their liberal use of the Congressional Review Act to nullify 14 Obama-era regulations. The rule required federal contractors to disclose sexual harassment and other labor violations before receiving significant federal contracts, Politico reports, and also forbade large contractors from forcing employees to take labor complaints to arbitration, typically secret proceedings where the worker is more likely to lose than in court.

Mandatory arbitration plays a big part in sexual misconduct cases, and former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson has made abolishing such clauses — ubiquitous in her former employer's sexual harassment settlements — a central plank in her campaign against sexual harassment. A few months after Trump signed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces repeal, The New York Times published its exposé on Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, starting the #MeToo moment that has forced out prominent men in media, the arts, and Congress.

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.