Senate backs anti-harassment training for lawmakers, staff

November 9, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Thursday unanimously approved a measure requiring all senators, staff and interns to be trained on preventing sexual harassment.

On a voice vote, lawmakers adopted a bipartisan resolution calling for training within 60 days of the measure’s passage. Each Senate office would have to submit certification of completed training, and the certificate would be published on the public website of the secretary of the Senate.

The measure had widespread support and came amid a steady flow of sexual harassment complaints in entertainment, business and politics. Senate action occurred within days of the resolution’s formal introduction.

“Making harassment training mandatory in the Senate sends a clear message: harassment of any kind is not and will not be tolerated in Congress. Period,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., a chief sponsor.

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said: “No place of work is immune to the all-too-prevalent scourge of sexual harassment, but we in Congress have a particular duty to set high standards of conduct. In the wake of so many scandals and reports of sexual harassment around the country, it’s critical that we continue do everything we can to prevent it.”

The measure also includes anti-harassment training for what the Senate defines as protected categories — race, disability, religion, national origin and military service.

The Associated Press reported last week on one current and three former female lawmakers who said they have been harassed or subjected to hostile sexual comments — by fellow members of Congress.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has sent a memo to fellow lawmakers encouraging them to complete sexual harassment training and mandate it for their staffs, telling them, “Harassment has no place in this institution.” The House plans a hearing next week on preventing sexual harassment in the congressional workplace.

Update hourly