JOLIET, Ill. – In the wake of numerous reports of sexual harassment in Illinois and across the country, state Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet, is continuing her efforts to change the culture of harassment in Springfield.
“It’s disheartening to constantly hear about new allegations of sexual harassment by people from every political party and every industry,” Manley said. “It is clear that we need to find ways to fully address these issues, and for legislators, addressing the problem in Springfield is the first place to start.”
Manley recently backed Senate Bill 402, which will require every legislator, staffer and lobbyist to complete an annual sexual harassment training program. Lobbyist businesses will also be required to create and enforce their own internal sexual harassment policies, similar to what legislative staffs are already required to have in place.
Manley also helped give increased authority to a new legislative inspector general to investigate past allegations of harassment and other violations. A bipartisan group of lawmakers helped to pass House Bill 137, which will allow a complete investigation of pending complaints within the inspector general’s office, despite a previous one-year statute of limitations.
Additionally, Manley also supported efforts to create a task force to conduct a comprehensive review of the legal and social consequences of sexual discrimination and harassment in both the public and private sector. This task force will make legislative recommendations to the General Assembly to combat this behavior.
“No one should be harassed or discriminated against in the workplace, regardless of where they work,” Manley said. “While I am greatly disappointed with the reports of what is happening in Springfield, it is important to remember that this is happening in offices and companies throughout the state. This legislation is the first step to reducing harassment, but we need to continue to find ways to improve work environments across the state.”