The House is Addressing Sexual Harassment on Capitol Hill

Nov 29, 2017 | communications •

“It’s all very troubling….and completely unacceptable. My heart goes out to the victims. Members of Congress should be held to the highest standards, and it’s clear a few have fallen short. I am glad the House is taking steps to ensure our workplaces are safe and welcoming environments. “

-House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers

In recent months, a long-overdue reckoning regarding sexual harassment has shaken our nation. And rightly so. Women across our country and in many industries have come forward with haunting stories of harassment and assault. And as you likely know, Congress is not exempt from the issue.

There is absolutely no place for sexual harassment in our society – but especially not in the United States Congress. As your elected representatives, we should be held to an even higher standard that demonstrates we are worthy of the trust placed in us by the men and women we have the honor of serving.

The House is taking this matter very seriously, and our actions reflect that.

The Committee on House Administration has undertaken a comprehensive review of House policies and procedures regarding workplace training, and the Resolution (H. Res. 630) the House passed today is one reform the Committee, along with Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA), has put forth.

This bipartisan resolution, which passed the House with overwhelming support on November 29, 2017, will require all House members and staff to complete mandatory anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training Congress annually.

Currently, sexual harassment awareness training is voluntary for Members of Congress and their staff. And, there is also concern that victims of such abuse are not aware of the resources available to them.

We are changing this.

“This is not a partisan issue. We are committed to creating a secure and safe workplace for our members, their staff, and everyone employed by Congress…instituting mandatory training is a first step.”

-Committee on House Administration Chair Gregg Harper

Once adopted, the resolution will require:

  • For the current 115th Congress, each individual must complete the training no later than 180 days after the second session of Congress begins.
  • All House members, officers, employees, interns, detailees, and fellows of the House of Representatives to complete annual anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training program during each session of Congress.
  • Each individual must complete the training within 90 days of the beginning of each session. For new hires, staff must complete the training within 90 days of their hire date during the session.
  • The training must be completed annually.
  • Within the next month, the Committee on House Administration will provide offices with the process to take this training and how to document the completion of the training with the Committee.
  • Additionally, the Resolution requires the posting of a statement of the rights and protections provided to employees of the House of Representatives under the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995.

“Recent cases of sexual harassment both within Congress, and outside in other industries, make clear that we need increased efforts to provide zero tolerance for any form of sexual harassment in Congress.  This bipartisan Resolution is a first step and more will still be done”

-Representative Barbara Comstock (R-VA).

The House will not tolerate harassment in the workplace. Our colleagues, our employees and our constituents deserve better.

Related:

McMorris Rodgers statement on ensuring a safe work environment