Summary: H.R.1521 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.1521. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (03/05/2019)

Ending the Monopoly of Power Over Workplace harassment through Education and Reporting Act or the EMPOWER Act

This bill addresses policies and procedures related to claims of workplace harassment.

Specifically, the bill makes it an unlawful practice (with exceptions regarding certain settlement or separation agreements) for an employer to (1) enter into a contract with an employee or applicant, as a condition of employment, promotion, compensation, benefits, or change in employment status or contractual relationship, if that contract contains a nondisparagement or nondisclosure clause that covers workplace harassment; and (2) enforce, or attempt to enforce, a nondisparagement clause or nondisclosure clause that covers workplace harassment.

Under the bill, an employee or applicant retains any right they would otherwise have had to report a concern about workplace harassment to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and other specified agencies, regardless of whether they have signed a nondisparagement or nondisclosure clause. Employees or applicants also retain the right to pursue legal action regardless of signing such clauses.

The bill sets forth (1) enforcement powers of the EEOC and other entities, and the jurisdiction of U.S. courts, regarding workplace harassment; and (2) the applicable procedures and remedies for employees' claims.

The EEOC must (1) establish a confidential tip-line that supplements its process for submitting a charge of discrimination, and (2) provide for the development and dissemination of workplace training programs and information regarding workplace harassment.

The bill modifies the tax treatment of expenses and payments related to workplace harassment and employment discrimination.