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.
KPCC has reported that every Congressional office operates independently with no mandatory regulations related to sexual harassment training and manuals. Every lawmaker is responsible for setting an internal office policy. The Senate requires sexual harassment training for staffers, including an hour for employees, and a total of two hours for those in supervisory positions. For new Senators and newly elected House members, the topic is briefly covered in an overall ethics training session. The California lawmaker is hoping to change the rules to expand mandatory sexual harassment training to all House members.
The new bill requires House members and staff to receive training every other year. Despite efforts in creating the bill and seeking approval, the measure died in the House. While the ethics overview session is over four hours, it only briefly mentions sexual harassment.
This is another example of how individuals in a position of authority have been able to skirt and flout regulations. Those in positions of power are often the most likely to be in violation of state and federal employment laws.
To put an end to sexual harassment in the public and private spheres, individuals must take action. If you have suffered from sexual harassment in the workplace, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Our Orange County sexual harassment attorneys can investigate your case, protect your rights and help you recover the just compensation to which you are entitled.
Employment lawsuits can be filed with assistance from the Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange County. Call 949.375.4734.
More Blog Entries:
Age Discrimination in Tech Job Postings, July 6, 2014, Orange County Employment Lawyer Blog
California’s Top Employment Law Mistakes, Oct. 26, 2013, Orange County Employment Lawyer Blog