Pennsylvania residents are likely aware that lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle have been accused of engaging in sexually inappropriate behavior in recent weeks. Republican Roy Moore’s chances of filling the vacant Alabama Senate seat were damaged when several women stepped forward to say that the former state judge had propositioned them sexually when they were teenagers, and there have been calls for Democrat Al Franken to resign in the wake of groping allegations leveled by four women.
In a rare display of bipartisanship, Republicans and Democrats have joined together to address the issue. House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Nov. 14 that he supported proposed legislation that would require all members and their staffs to attend sexual harassment training. Ryan spoke about the issue days after the Senate unanimously passed a similar measure and just hours after two female lawmakers talked about the sexual harassment that they have been subjected to during a House Administration hearing.
A bill proposed by Representative Jackie Speier calls for mandated sexual harassment training for lawmakers, staffers and interns and a review of the current protocols for reporting and investigating sexually inappropriate behavior in Congress. However, some lawmakers have voiced concerns. An Illinois Congressman said that approaching the issue too vigorously could prompt some lawmakers to simply stop hiring women.
Attorneys with experience in this area may understand how difficult it can be for the victims of workplace discrimination and harassment to step forward, and they could encourage them to gather as much evidence as they can before taking action. Employers know that this kind of allegation can damage their reputations and lead to a flood of similar accusations, and they may be willing to settle these matters quickly and discretely when workers who have been subjected to inappropriate sexual advances or hostile work environments have documents and witnesses to back up their claims.
Source: The Washington Post, Al Franken still hasn’t denied grabbing women, Amber Phillips, Nov. 24, 2017