Management & Operations

Legislation would require public transit to adopt anti-harassment rules

Posted on May 28, 2018

According to a 2018 national study, 17 percent of all respondents experienced sexual harassment while using mass transportation. Photo: WMATA/Larry Levine
According to a 2018 national study, 17 percent of all respondents experienced sexual harassment while using mass transportation. Photo: WMATA/Larry Levine

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Federal lawmakers have proposed legislation requiring airlines and other transit operations to adopt policies to crack down on harassment and abuse, reported the Los Angeles Times.

The bill by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon), which was prompted after a survey found widespread sexual harassment on commercial airlines, could allow the transportation companies to permanently ban any passengers who commit sexual assault or harassment on that transportation line, according to the report.

DeFazio's staff is not sure when the bill might be brought up for a vote, reported the Times.

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A press release (below) from Rep. DeFazio's office provides more details:

Last year Americans took 10.1 billion trips on public transportation. According to a 2018 national study, 17 percent of all respondents experienced sexual harassment while using mass transportation.

On U.S. airlines alone, 68 percent of flight attendants say they have experienced sexual harassment during their careers.

The “Stop Sexual Assault and Harassment in Transportation Act” would require transportation providers to adopt a formal policy providing that sexual assault and harassment in transportation is unacceptable under any circumstance. These providers must prominently display, on their websites or otherwise, a statement that they have adopted such a policy as well as the procedures their passengers can follow for reporting incidents of sexual assault and harassment. The policy must facilitate the reporting of these incidents; establish procedures for employees to follow if such an incident is reported; and require all appropriate employees to be trained on the policy.

In addition, the bill increases the current civil penalty for interference with crewmembers in commercial aviation from $25,000 to $35,000 and creates a similar civil penalty to protect employees working in other modes of transportation. Finally, the bill requires the Secretary of Transportation to annually collect data on incidents of sexual assault and harassment and make this data publicly available.



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