Sexual Harassment Data Collection and Reporting Act Final Reading TODAY (DC Council)
Today at 1:00 pm the DC Council will have the final reading on B24-0215, the “Sexual Harassment Data Collection and Reporting Act of 2021.”If enacted, B24-0215 would require DC Government agencies to collect data on the number of sexual harassment complaints raised by employees as well as the outcomes of the complaints. The bill also has a mandate for the Office of Human Rights to submit an annual report on the data collected to the DC Council and Office of the Attorney General.
Specifically, the bill will track the number of sexual harassment complaints that are pending but District agencies will also report what the employees have reported resolved by mediation and those that have been investigated. They will also track complaints that have been substantiated through investigation and those deemed unsubstantiated through investigation. In addition, complaints will be tracked that have resulted in administrative or disciplinary action against one or more individuals determined to have sexually harassed the complainant, complaints that resulted in legal action, and complaints that resulted in a financial settlement.
As for the annual reporting of the data, starting next year on November 12, 2023, District will be required to send all of its sexual harassment data to the DC Office of Human Rights. Once collected the Office of Human Rights will have until December 3, 2023 to submit their report to both the DC Council and the Office of the Attorney General.
The Council Office of Racial Equity (CORE) ,which is part of the Office of the Secretary, analyzed the bill and it noted that it does not require sexual harassment complaint data to be disaggregated, or separated, by race, primarily due to the confidentiality of District employee who files complaints. This may disappoint advocates and researchers who want to analyze data to determine disparate impacts. CORE noted a similar bill from Montgomery County Maryland and Montgomery County Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO) and they both determined that requiring specific demographic data is likely to help local jurisdictions interpret and understand if there are patterns of sexual harassment according to race more fully. However, CORE noted that regardless of their final assessment of B24-0215, they indicated that it should still pass.
During the first reading, B24-0215 passed unanimously.
You can view today's Legislative Meeting on the Council site at 1:00 pm at https://bit.ly/2ooL0l1