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U.S. House votes to provide itself sexual harassment training

The U.S. Congress typically votes on laws proposed to protect ordinary citizens, but sometimes Congress votes on measures intended to protect congressional employees from members of Congress. That was apparently the case in a recent House vote to fund an expansion of sexual harassment training for representatives and their staffers.

The $500,000 for the training was outlined in an amendment to a legislative branch spending bill. The representative who proposed the amendment indicated that she hopes that one day the training will become mandatory. 

"The American people expect us to conduct ourselves in a manner befitting the responsibilities and duties that we hold as members of Congress – not like we are freshman at a frat house," Rep. Jackie Speier said.

Many observers have noted that neither major political party can claim to be free of officeholders who have sexually harassed staff, spouses of staff and friends or members of the public.

One representative mentioned during the debate on the proposal that “recent events” have revived interest in sexual harassment cases on the Hill, perhaps in reference to the married congressman who days ago announced he is not running for re-election following release of a tape showing him in a passionate embrace with an office staffer.  

Rep. Speier referred to other incidents, including staffers being “inappropriately touched” and “groped.”

Whether sexual harassment takes place in the halls of Congress or by the water cooler in your office, the unacceptable behavior can be addressed with the help of an experienced employment law attorney.

Source: CNN, "House passes funding for expanded sexual harassment training," Deirdre Walsh and Ashley Killough, May 1, 2014

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