For Immediate Release
April 8, 2014
DC – Bill Silverfarb (202) 225-3531 / (202) 957-4340 cell
CA – Katrina Rill (650) 342-0300 / (650) 208-7441 cell
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswomen Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo/Redwood City) will introduce a resolution today that would require members of the House of Representatives and their staff members to take mandatory sexual harassment training classes. Training and education would include practical examples aimed at the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation presented by expert trainers similar to regularly available training offered in the private sector.
“This is the House of Representatives not a frat house. Regrettably, another of my colleagues, Congressman Vance McAllister, was revealed to have engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a member of his staff. This news comes one day after former Congressman Bob Filner was released from house arrest after pleading guilty to felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor battery for sexually harassing a former aide when he was San Diego’s mayor. At least 17 others have come forward since then, though not one person felt able to report his misconduct in his decades long tenure in the House,” Congresswoman Speier said.
“The fact none of the victims ever reported shows that we have a problem here in the House. It is time for all of us to get trained -- elected officials and their staffs -- to recognize what sexual harassment is, and how to prevent it, and what to do if it happens. The House of Representatives should not be above the law,” Speier said.
Sexual harassment training is mandatory for Executive Branch agencies and has proven to bring a significant reduction in the number of discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims, according to the Congressional Office of Compliance. Proactive training not only directly impacts behavior by reducing workplace misconduct but also provides direct economic returns to organizations by reducing litigation and settlement costs, according to the COC. The agency’s board has consistently recommended that sexual harassment training be mandatory in Congress.
Congresswoman Jackie Speier is proud to represent California’s 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties. She is a senior member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the House Armed Services Committee (HASC). In her role on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the Congresswoman is a ranking member on the Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care, and Entitlements and serves on the Subcommittee on National Security. She serves on the Readiness Subcommittee and the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on HASC and is a member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. Congresswoman Speier was appointed to serve as a Senior Whip for the Democratic caucus in the 113th Congress.