The United States Congress has been distracted by budget issues lately, as our readers know. But, there was some good news recently out of Congress too, namely in the form of proposed legislation from the House of Representatives that could – if enacted – overhaul the way that sexual harassment claims are handled in on Capitol Hill.
According to the recent reports, the proposed bipartisan legislation would change the way that initial claims of sexual harassment are processed. If the new law goes into effect, there would no longer be a mandatory 30-day period of time in which mediation and counseling is the only option. Also, any claims that are resolved by a financial settlement would need to be reported to the House Ethics Committee, and the lawmakers who settle the cases would need to reimburse the funds used.
Many of our readers may be shocked to learn that sexual harassment claims against members of the United States Congress can be settled using taxpayer funds. In the current political climate, and with the meteoric rise of awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace in recent months, the idea of congressmen and congresswomen using taxpayer funds to settle sexual harassment claims has obviously become untenable.
Employees in Minnesota may hope that this recently proposed legislation could portend big changes when it comes to how sexual harassment claims are handled in workplaces throughout the country. However, only time will tell if the recent trends bear out to be a long-term focus of change in America.
Source: CNN.com, “House lawmakers unveil legislation to overhaul harassment protocol on Capitol Hill,” Juana Summers and Sunlen Serfaty, Jan. 18, 2018