Anti-ha­rass­ment train­ing planned for House

The Columbus Dispatch - - Nation&world - By Juliet Lin­der­man

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.

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