Senate Republicans vote for weak sexual harassment definition reform

Content Warning: The article below references sexual harassment; please take care reading.

A 1986 Supreme Court decision required that sexual harassment be severe and pervasive for judges to consider sexual harassment lawsuits. Since then, victims of harassment have routinely been denied an opportunity for their voices to be heard or for their day in court.

Minnesota tried removing this severe and pervasive requirement in 2018 and 2019, but the bill ultimately stalled when Senate Republicans started listening to business concerns over victims.

The bill is back this year and was heard this week in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Unfortunately, it was clear that Senate Republicans have continued to listen to business concerns over victims of sexual harassment. The language in the bill has been incredibly watered down and provides thorough protection for businesses while doing little to improve the opportunity for victims to have their voices heard.

The bill was sent back to the floor and is waiting for a final vote. The House passed a much stronger version of the bill last year and will likely do so again this year, and Senate DFLers will have an opportunity to strengthen and improve the bill.

(SF 2295)