Major Investors Step Up to End Sexual Harassment and Misconduct

Trustees for major pension and investment funds expect protections for workers’ rights against sexual harassment and assault.

The #MeToo movement highlighted how harassment, discrimination, and assault pervade corporate cultures, from the executive level to front-line workers. A movement that began with courageous survivors sparking public moral outrage found major allies among institutional investors last month. The “Trustees United for Long Term Value” released their list of principles to guide their investments, a list that began with the premise that sexual harassment and misconduct manifest in the value of companies. Now the Trustees are getting behind janitors fighting for safe, fair working conditions.

The group released their statement along with a with a website focused on the growing list of trustees of major pension funds committed to accountability for companies where they invest.

Responsible contractor policies, such as those that guide property managers to select janitorial firms, are in the spotlight in Oregon and California after implementation of new legislation designed to prevent sexual harassment and assault. The legislation connects those who hire janitorial contractors — building owners and managers — with the working conditions for janitors in their buildings. In Oregon, for example, this means that clients of janitorial services can be held jointly and severally liable for unpaid wages for janitors who work on their properties. Oregon janitors have already started to use the provision to hold their employers and the clients of their employers accountable through lawsuits against both their employer and their employer’s client.

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