Anti-harassment training planned for House
WASHINGTON — Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday that the House will require anti-harassment and antidiscrimination training for all members and their staffs. The announcement came hours after a hearing in which two female lawmakers spoke about sexual misconduct involving sitting members of Congress.
“Our goal is not only to raise awareness, but also make abundantly clear that harassment in any form has no place in this institution,” said Ryan, R-Wis. “As we work with the Administration, Ethics, and Rules committees to implement mandatory training, we will continue our review to make sure the right policies and resources are in place to prevent and report harassment.”
The policy change will happen through legislation.
Days earlier, the Senate unanimously approved a measure requiring all senators, staff members and interns to be trained on preventing sexual harassment.
During a House Administration hearing Tuesday on sexual-harassment prevention, Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., said she was recently told about a staff member who quit her job after a lawmaker asked her to bring work material to his house and then exposed himself.
“That kind of situation — what are we doing here for women, right now, who are dealing with someone like that?” Comstock said. She said there should be clearcut rules about the kinds of relationships and behaviors that are off-limits and create a hostile work environment.
Comstock said the name of the lawmaker she mentioned wasn’t disclosed to her, but she emphasized that naming names is an important step in promoting accountability and encouraging victims to come forward.
At the same hearing, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., said two current lawmakers — a Republican and a Democrat — have been involved in sexual harassment.
Speier recently introduced legislation to make training to prevent sexual harassment mandatory for members of Congress after sharing her story of being sexually assaulted by a male chief of staff. The bill gained support from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.