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California LegislatureSexual harassment

California legislators to introduce bipartisan bill to give victims of sexual harassment more time to file claims

Assemblywoman Eloise Gomez Reyes (D-Grand Terrace), left, and Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale). (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
Assemblywoman Eloise Gomez Reyes (D-Grand Terrace), left, and Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale). (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

A bipartisan group of legislators said Wednesday they plan to introduce a bill next month to give victims of sexual harassment additional time to file claims.

The proposal, by Assemblywomen Eloise Gomez Reyes (D-San Bernardino), Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) and Marie Waldron (R-Escondido), would give both public and private employees more time to come forward with a claim. A spokesman for Reyes said the legislators are working to determine what the new timeframe should be.

Under existing state law, a person has one year from the date of the last incident of sexual harassment to file a claim with the California Dept. of Fair Employment and Housing. That department, which is the state’s civil rights agency, enforces California laws that bar sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination. 

All three legislators are on a panel that last week examined the Assembly’s own procedures for handling sexual harassment complaints. 

“The stories of sexual harassment told by victims from all careers and walks of life have revealed that the existing systems for seeking justice are not working,” said Reyes in a statement.  “The evidence clearly indicates that the fear of retaliation and the psychological wounds caused by such actions can prevent victims from filing claims within the existing timelines required under current law.”

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