The Illinois congresswoman's legislation would end forced arbitration and allow accusers to take their cases to court.
U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos led a press conference Wednesday with colleagues from the House and Senate, all calling for an end to sexual harassment in the workplace and a more transparent process to handle claims of inappropriate behavior.
Bustos, a Democrat from Illinois whose 17th Congressional District includes Henderson County, convened the press conference to introduce her legislation, the "Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act."
She said the idea for the legislation came to her last February when she read an article in the Washington Post detailing sexual harassment claims from employees at Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and Kay Jewelers.
The bipartisan bill is cosponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Kamala Harris, D-California; and Reps. Walter Jones, D-North Carolina; Elise Stefanik, R-New York; and Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, has introduced a companion piece of legislation in the Senate.
The bill states if an employee works for a company that mandates sexual harassment claims be settled in-house, they should have the option to void that arbitration agreement and take their complaints to court.
It also would allow accusers to discuss their cases publicly and "eliminate institutional protections for harassers."
"For everybody out there, for the waitress, for the journalist, for the factory worker, for all the women who go to work and all they want to do is do their job and do it well, we are here to say, 'no more,'" Bustos said. "No more looking the other way when powerful men victimize women. No more excuses for the abusers who abuse just because of who they are. No more telling women that they have to put up with harassment and stay silent any longer — no more."
The congresswoman also called out Capitol Hill, which has been rocked with its own set of sexual harassment scandals and resignations.
"We work in an institution where we are also saying no more. And we will be a part of making sure that doesn't happen anymore here in the halls of Congress."
On Tuesday, Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, who was the longest-serving active member of the House of Representatives, announced his retirement effective immediately.
Conyers, who served 53 years in the House, has been publicly accused of sexual harassment by six former female employees.
And by Thursday afternoon, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, had announced his intention to resign "in the coming weeks."
At least eight women have come forward against Franken, accusing him of forcibly kissing them and grabbing their buttocks, among other allegations.
Despite two resignations by Democrats this month, the Republican Party has put its full financial support behind Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, accused of sexual harassment and assault, including the alleged assault of a 14-year-old girl in 1979.
During Bustos' press conference Wednesday, she said, "We've had enough of this. We've had enough of this in Congress, and anybody who is a sexual harasser in these halls ought to go."
Sen. Gillibrand responded to a question about how sexual harassment allegations are handled in Congress, which she said was being addressed in separate bills.
The senator announced in November she would introduce a bill to upend the way harassment allegations are handled by the Office of Compliance, which includes 30-day waiting periods and mandatory counseling for accusers before their case can proceed.
"Our bill will erase that three-month process so they can file their claim immediately," Gillibrand said Wednesday. "In essence we would be doing the same thing here that we're doing in this bill for everybody else."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.