A new resolution requires that senators, staffers and interns receive periodic harassment training
The Senate just took a step in the right direction.
The chamber unanimously passed a resolution Thursday mandating senators, staffers and interns receive periodic sexual harassment training — marking the first time such training has been required. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) led the effort, which also earned support from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and others.
The bipartisan measure was the latest response to clamoring on Capitol Hill for stronger workplace protections and scores of power players in entertainment, media and politics facing allegations of sexual misconduct. It passed hours after a Washington Post report alleged Roy Moore, the Republican Senate nominee in Alabama, had molested a 14-year-old girl and sought relationships with other teens when he was in his 30s.
“Making harassment training mandatory in the Senate sends a clear message: harassment of any kind is not and will not be tolerated in Congress. Period,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “Everyone deserves to feel safe and comfortable at work, and the passage of this official Senate policy is an important measure to ensure that’s the case in these halls.”
“No place of work is immune to the all-too-prevalent scourge of sexual harassment, but we in Congress have a particular duty to set high standards of conduct,” Grassley added. “In the wake of so many scandals and reports of sexual harassment around the country, it’s critical that we continue do everything we can to prevent it.”
The resolution also includes harassment training with regards to race, disability, religion and other categories. (Indeed, a majority of EEOC harassment charges don’t involve sexual misconduct.) Members and staffers have 60 days to complete their training; employing offices must submit training certifications to be published on the Secretary of the Senate’s website.
Harassment on the Hill has taken center stage in recent weeks. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) last month revealed she’d been sexually assaulted as a congressional aide in the ’70s; multiple current and former female lawmakers later recounted harassment from colleagues in the House, where harassment training remains optional. The House Administration Committee is slated to hold a hearing on sexual harassment Tuesday.
Speier, meanwhile, is pushing two piece of legislation aimed at mandating annual training for House members and staffers and overhauling the Office of Compliance, the body tasked with handling harassment complaints. “It’s an embarrassment, because it does not reflect any interest in protecting the victim who is still working in the office,” the congresswoman previously told Moneyish of the OOC process.
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