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Johnathan Smith Testifies In Support of Fair Employment Protection Act

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4/03/14

Today, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, along with the National Women's Law Center and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, are sponsoring a congressional briefing on the Fair Employment Protection Act. 

The groups will discuss the need for this legislation and the findings of a new report by the National Women’s Law Center, Reality Check: Seventeen Million Reasons Low-Wage Workers Need Strong Protections from Harassment.

“Unfortunately, both sexual and racial harassment remain pervasive problems in workplaces all across the country, and women workers—and women workers of color—are particularly vulnerable to having to endure this odious conduct,” said Johnathan Smith, Assistant Counsel at NAACP LDF's Economic Justice Practice who will present testimony at the briefing this afternoon. 

“The Fair Employment Protection Act is vital to ensuring that American workers have meaningful legal recourse when any of their supervisors abuse their authority and engage in unlawful harassment,” Smith added.

Last June, the Supreme Court, in a divided 5-4 decision, weakened workplace protections for victims of harassment. In Vance v. Ball State University, the Court held that workers are no longer entitled to fair and robust protections against harassers who direct their daily work, if their harassers do not also have the power to hire and fire them.

The Fair Employment Protection Act (S. 2133, H.R. 4227), just introduced by Senator Tammy Baldwin and Representatives George Miller and Rosa DeLauro, would restore the protections stripped away by the Vance decision.

LDF has sent a letter to Congress urging quick passage of this important legislation. A copy of that letter can be found here.