sexual harassment

IG Report: Some members of Congress sexually harassed night-shift custodians
Architect of the Capitol officials accused of creating ‘culture of permissibility’

An Architect of the Capitol worker paints the wall at the top of the escalator to the Senate subway in the Capitol in November 2015. A recent report alleges a sexual harassment ‘culture of permissibility’ in the AOC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Members of Congress allegedly sexually harassed night shift custodial staff while they cleaned their offices. Sexual harassment prevention training went off the rails. And the Architect of the Capitol has no unified system for effectively tracking complaints and resolutions of sexual harassment cases.

These are just some of the findings in a recent inspector general’s report on sexual harassment within the AOC in the last decade.

New Democratic firm aims to fill HR gap for campaigns
Bright Compass will educate and train campaigns on policies to combat harassment and discrimination

A new Democratic firm is looking to assist political campaigns with human resources policies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When Dallas Thompson signed on as Hillary Clinton’s director of operations in North Carolina in 2016, she quickly recognized that she had a lot to learn about human resources.

Thompson, who had previously worked as a fundraiser, discovered campaigns needed a more sustained human resources infrastructure, including training and services. 

House offices on timeline to implement anti-harassment policies
The House took steps to further codify protections following last year’s dispute over how Congress should prevent harassment and discrimination

House offices have 60 days to implement an anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policy. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House took steps Thursday to further codify a more appropriate culture on Capitol Hill, following last year’s prolonged dispute over how Congress should protect its own staff from harassment and discrimination.

The House Administration Committee voted to approve regulations for mandatory anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies for House offices. 

House moves to protect federal interns from harassment and discrimination

The House voted on a measure by Rep. Eijah Cummings, D-Md., to protect federal interns from workplace harassment and discrimination. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House took action Tuesday to protect the youngest members of the federal workforce, interns, from workplace harassment and discrimination.

The House passed by voice vote a measure from Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings, that would extend certain federal employee protections to unpaid interns in the federal government. Cummings is the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, and a version of his measure also passed in the 115th Congress.

Opposition to Pay-As-You-Go Proposal Prevents Unity on House Democrats’ Rules Package
Other changes designed to open up the legislative process have broad support

Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., said he will oppose House Democrats’ rules package for the 116th Congress because of a provision known as pay-as-you-go or PAYGO that requires offsets for deficit increasing legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats’ rules for the 116th Congress contain a wide array of consensus changes, but a pay-as-you-go provision that would require offsets for deficit-increasing legislation is preventing party unity on the package. 

At least two progressive members, California Rep. Ro Khanna and New York Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, said they will oppose the rules package because of the provision. 

Jackie Speier and Bradley Byrne Aim to End Taxpayer Settlements for Discrimination
House lawmakers want to go beyond compromise measure that passed Thursday

House lawmakers, including California Rep. Jackie Speier, already have plans to expand discrimination protections beyond the sexual harassment measure passed Thursday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress on Thursday passed new sexual harassment rules governing lawmakers and staff on Capitol Hill, but House lawmakers already have plans to expand protections beyond what’s included in the compromise measure.

“This bill isn’t perfect, but that’s part of what the legislative process is about,” California Democrat Jackie Speier said Thursday. “We have decided to get this on the books to change the system that was woefully inadequate and then come back next year.”

Lawmakers Reach Deal to Tackle Sexual Harassment on Capitol Hill
New agreement would end heavily criticized ‘cooling off’ period

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is displayed on the West Front of the Capitol on Monday. The noble fir was harvested on Nov. 2 from Willamette National Forest in Oregon. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congress will act quickly on compromise legislation to overhaul how sexual harassment is handled on Capitol Hill. The new proposal, released Wednesday, has the backing of leadership in both chambers and parties.

Negotiations to reconcile the separate House and Senate proposals that passed easily early this year have dragged on for months. But swift action is expected in the Senate this week and the House the following week.

House Could Go Its Own Way on Sexual Harassment Policy, Says Pelosi

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the House could accept some of the Senate’s sexual harassment proposals and then tighten their own rules. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nancy Pelosi has a plan to move forward on the proposals to overhaul sexual harassment policies on Capitol Hill before year’s end, but House Republicans say they’re still working on a strong compromise. Senators, meanwhile, are looking past negotiations and toward getting a final bill passed.

The House minority leader signaled Thursday that House negotiators may be willing to accept some of the Senate language that they’ve been rejecting for being less stringent. 

Clock Ticks Down on Sexual Harassment Proposals for Congress
#MeToo provided momentum earlier in the year, but that has stalled

Congress is running out of time to enact changes to how sexual harassment is handled in their own workplace. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congress is running out of time to make changes to how sexual harassment is handled in its own workplace, as negotiations between House and Senate proposals drag on and legislative days dry up.

Leaders in both chambers say they want to finish reconciling the legislation and move toward implementing change before the lame-duck session is over, but it’s unclear if that will happen.

Ethics Committee Cites ‘Recent Experience’ as Need for Sexual Harassment Overhaul
Panel suggests difficulty obtaining information from the Office of Compliance

The House Ethics Committee is urging quick passage of legislation to address sexual harassment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The 10 members of the House Ethics Committee are urging the top four congressional leaders to quickly pass anti-sexual harassment legislation to overhaul the Congressional Accountability Act, noting the House bill would provide solutions to problems the panel has encountered this year. 

In a letter dated Monday that all members signed, they cite the House bill’s provision that would require the Office of Compliance, which would be renamed the Office of Workplace Rights, to refer certain matters to the committee, providing the panel access to any records regarding investigations, hearings, decisions, settlements or claims.