Women’s Group & Workplace Experts Release Recommended Guidelines for 2020 Presidential Campaigns to Prevent and Respond to Workplace Harassment and Sexual Violence

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, February 25, 2019

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Women’s Group & Workplace Experts Release Recommended Guidelines for 2020 Presidential Campaigns to Prevent and Respond to Workplace Harassment and Sexual Violence


Groups Say 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates Must Strive to Create a Safe Environment for Employees with Real, Working Systems of Accountability 


WASHINGTON, DC — UltraViolet, a leading national women’s group, in conjunction with workplace abuse prevention experts from Works in Progress and PB Work Solutions, have released a new set of recommendations and guidelines for all 2020 Democratic presidential candidates to use to prevent and respond to workplace harassment and sexual violence within their campaigns. 


In a letter addressed to all of the current 2020 Democratic presidential candidates and their campaign managers accompanying the recommended guidelines, the groups explain that: 

“Now, the 2020 election cycle is already in full swing and there is a demand from voters to candidates at all levels from president to city council and more to take sexual assault and any kind of harassment seriously. Voters want change, and for candidates to credibly carry this message they need to ensure their own workplaces–their campaigns–are safe. They must ensure they have the right practices in place to prevent sexual assault and harassment and to handle allegations when they do happen.” 

The recommendations, dubbed “Guidelines for Campaigns: Preventing and Responding to Workplace Harassment and Sexual Violence,” include: 

●     Prohibiting: Campaigns should adopt a clear and robust workplace harassment prevention policy with a number of provisions that explain prohibited conduct, outline a clear and fair complaint process for violations, and commitments to properly share and inform all employees, contractors and volunteers about the policy. 

●     Training: Campaigns should provide workplace harassment and prevention training program that is customized for a campaign work environment, and includes specific instructions for managers, non-managerial staff and bystanders. The training should be conducted annually for all permanent employees and during onboarding of new employees. 

●     Reporting: Campaigns should provide a multi-faceted and confidential workplace harassment reporting process with multiple points of contact and a range of reporting methods for potential harassment survivors, and include period testing to ensure the reporting system is working.

●     Investigating:Campaigns should investigate harassment reports in a transparent and timely manner, with well-trained, objective and neutral parties. Investigations should be focused with a framework of believing survivors, while protecting the privacy of all individuals during the process. 

●     Resolving: Campaigns should resolve verified harassment complaints with immediate and proportionate corrective action as to not harm the individual filing the report. Campaigns should track this process to ensure that discipline is prompt, consistent and proportionate. 

●     Funding: Campaigns must support a comprehensive workplace harassment and sexual violence prevention strategy with money and time as an essential, non-negotiable part of the campaign’s allocation of resources. 

“In the last presidential race, people across the country watched in horror as then-candidate Donald Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women and then won the presidency. Since then thousands of survivors, women, and their allies have taken to the streets to demand a change and dozens of abusers have been exposed and held accountable,” explained Shaunna Thomas, co-founder and executive director of UltraViolet. “If progressives in particular cannot get it right in our own workplaces, we lack the moral authority to lead the country on this issue. We urge the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates to adopt these guidelines and best practices for their campaigns.” 

“Every single person involved with a campaign – from HQ staff and field organizers to interns and volunteers – should know that the campaign supports their right to work in an environment free from any form of discrimination, harassment, or violence. These Democratic candidates have the power to not just advocate for policies that make workplaces safer, but to create their own workplace cultures where everyone understands how to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based harassment, and feels empowered and supported in doing so,” added Robyn Swirling, founder and executive director of Works in Progress“Campaign leadership can make clear that they are committed to this work by implementing these guidelines, and engaging with workplace harassment experts to get this right.”

“Although harassment and discrimination have been against the law for decades, only now are some candidates taking it seriously and making it a high priority to eradicate in their campaign environment. Preventing harassment, discrimination, and violence is no longer just about financial liability, but can impact a candidate’s ability to successfully win, govern effectively, and stay in office.  Those who support progressive candidates expect those who they work hard to elect to show leadership and live their values,” noted Paula Brantner, principal and president of PB Work Solutions“These guidelines bring prevention policies to life and signal that candidates and their senior staff intend to promptly and appropriately address workplace harassment and misconduct.”


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