MN House votes to remove 'severe or pervasive' standard for sexual harassment

The Minnesota House passed a bill by a 113-to-10 vote Thursday to eliminate a legal standard that blocks many sexual harassment cases from making it to court.

The standard comes out of 1986 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said workplace behavior had to be so "severe or pervasive" that it changed the conditions of the victim's employment and created a hostile working environment.

Rep. Kelly Moller, DFL-Shoreview, said the House supported a similar bill last year.

"This bill is necessary to ensure that workers are safe in their workplaces. The #MeToo movement has given a powerful vote to survivors and has highlighted that we need to change workplace behavior," she said.

Federal judges have applied that standard narrowly over the years, meaning many cases don't make it to court. The proposal would add a single line to the Minnesota Human Rights Act to eliminate the standard.

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