WASHINGTON ? Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) as well as Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) have introduced a senate resolution that would mandate sexual harassment prevention training for all employees of the Senate.
?As a body of elected officials, we Senators have an obligation to set an example. Establishing a healthy and productive work environment should be no exception to that obligation. We should do everything possible to make sure our colleagues and staffs don?t have to endure harassment if we can prevent it,? Senator Grassley said. ?Trainings like this are important for cultivating the right kind of working environment and setting the baseline standards that any place of work should have.?
?There is no place for sexual harassment on our college campuses, in our workplace, our gyms, our military ? or anywhere else,? said Senator Ernst. ?It is critical that Congress has zero tolerance for such inappropriate behavior and action in our society. I am glad to join my colleagues in this measure to ensure that Members of the Senate and their staffs are provided with the necessary training on prevention and reporting procedures to combat sexual harassment.?
?Women deserve to feel safe at work, and every employer and employee?including the U.S. Senate?must take sexual harassment seriously. Our resolution makes clear that all Senate employees should be trained in this area and that harassment will not be tolerated. We?re also working on legislation to reform the Senate?s process for handling complaints so that victims can come forward with confidence and violators face appropriate consequences,? Senator Feinstein said.
?Sexual harassment training should be mandatory in the United States Senate,? said Senator Klobuchar, Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee. ?I look forward to working with Senator Grassley and my Rules Committee colleagues to pass and implement this important update to Senate policy.?
?I am proud to join a bipartisan group of my colleagues to introduce this resolution to help combat sexual harassment in Congress,? said Senator Gillibrand. ?What we are seeing from the powerful #MeToo campaign is that sexual assault and sexual harassment are pervasive across our entire society. What you see time and again in institutions all around the country is a culture where power and fear keep sexual assault and sexual harassment in the shadows. Congress is no different. Congress should never be above the law or play by their own set of rules. This bipartisan resolution would help hold this institution accountable by mandating sexual harassment prevention training for Members, interns and their staffs.?
?Sexual harassment?under any circumstance and in any setting?is simply unacceptable. As members of Congress and staff serving the American people, we have a responsibly to set an example of what it means to foster an appropriate and respectful work environment,? Senator Capito said. ?This resolution will help ensure our policies reflect these priorities and make it clear that sexual harassment will not be tolerated in the United States Senate.?
The bipartisan ?Senate Training on Prevention of Sexual Harassment? or ?STOP Sexual Harassment? resolution (S. Res. 323) requires all Senate members, staff, interns, fellows and detailees to complete the sexual harassment prevention training offered by the Office of Compliance (OOC) or the Office of the Senate Chief Counsel for Employment. The training must be completed no later than 60 days after starting work in the Senate. Further, the Committee on Rules and Administration is to issue rules about periodic completion of the training.
The resolution also calls for an anonymous survey to be administered by the Sergeant at Arms that will gather information about instances of sexual harassment or related behavior in the Senate.
The congressional Office of Compliance (OOC) was established under the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995, a statute that Grassley sponsored to ensure that Congress follows the same civil rights, labor, workplace safety and health laws as other federal agencies and the private sector.
OOC and the Office of the Senate Chief Counsel for Employment offer sexual harassment training to Senate offices, but this training is not mandatory. This resolution aims to change that.