Proposed bill in New York could protect models against sexual harassment

Amid all the recent sexual harassment allegations coming to light, a new amendment seeks to protect models from sexual misconduct they face in the workplace.

New York Assemblywoman Nily Rozic announced earlier this week she would soon introduce the Models’ Harassment Protection Act, legislation with the goal of preventing sexual harassment in the fashion industry.

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The bill aims to close a loophole which currently leaves models open to potential harassment on the job from people such as photographers, designers and agency employees, Moneyish reports. Because models are typically classified as independent contractors, they are often excluded from standard employment protections, but this bill would provide them protection against sexual harassment.

“There’s no accountability when it comes to who ultimately has to respond to sexual harassment in the workplace,” Rozic said to Moneyish. “The bill addresses this loophole in the law by making it an unlawful practice for a modeling entity — whether it be this talent agency or management company — to subject a model to harassment, regardless of whether they’re an independent contractor or employee.”

Rozic’s bill, which was developed with New York-based advocacy group Model Alliance, would hold modeling agencies accountable for misconduct on the job.

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"Models are often put on the spot to appear nude without their informed prior consent, they are not always provided adequate changing areas, and sometimes they are pressured to succumb to inappropriate sexual demands by people who control their professional destinies," Model Alliance founder Sara Ziff said in a release. "In some cases, it's the agents – the very people who are supposed to be looking out for the models' best interests – who are the harassers or who facilitate meetings with people who abuse their power. It's time to hold people in the industry accountable by turning outrage into policy."

Rozic hopes the bill will pass next year.