State and federal legislators commonly intervene to protect the rights of employees. While managers and business owners are required to stay abreast of sexual harassment training, it appears that California lawmakers are not. Despite the ongoing threat of sexual harassment in the workplace, and the repeated number of sexual harassment claims in state and federal politics, members of Congress are still not required to undergo sexual harassment training. According to an investigation by California radio station KPCC, House members, unlike most people who are in positions of power, are not required to undergo sexual harassment training.
The loophole opens the floodgate for not only, sexual harassment claims, but the potential for liability. One California lawmaker sees the lack of sexual harassment training for House members as an embarrassment and is trying to change the rules to protect staffers. Political figures, including members of Congress, are not strangers to sexual harassment charges. According to reports, more than a dozen women have filed complaints regarding the conduct of Bob Finer, former Congressman from San Diego. The representative retired from Congress in 2012 and won his race for San Diego mayor. Despite this political success, he faced numerous accusations of sexual harassment, alleging that he repeated touched, grabbed, and groped women while serving in Congress. Following the allegations, the San Diego mayor resigned and pleaded guilty to battery and false imprisonment.
This is one of many stories coming out of Congress related to sexual harassment. To initiate change on behalf of citizens and staffers, San Mateo Congresswoman spearheaded a bill to fund $500,000 of sexual harassment training for Congress members. Despite the initiative, the money was swiped from the compromise bill. Now she is seeking the House Rules Committee to take action to prevent future instances of employment law violations and abuse. Though training is mandatory for employees and managers throughout California, Congress members have not been held to the same standards. For those in favor of the bill, stopping sexual harassment could mean a step as easy as mandatory sexual harassment training.