Legislation aims to fix broken dispute resolution process

New legislation would change the way harassment claims are handled in Congress.

The bill reforms the dispute resolution process, protects workers, increases transparency and holds members of Congress more accountable.

It would eliminate the required 30-day “counseling” period as well as the required 30-day mediation phase, and the 30-day “cooling off” period. The bill would also allow a victim to immediately pursue an administrative hearing or file a civil action, and hold members of Congress personally liable by requiring them to reimburse the Treasury for awards and settlements stemming from acts of harassment they personally commit, including members who leave office.

“For too long victims of sexual harassment in the Senate have been forced into a process that is stacked against them – today is a major step towards rectifying this wrong,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), said. “Our bipartisan legislation – which passed with unanimous support in the Senate - will help bring accountability and transparency to a broken process, ensure victims can immediately seek justice, and hold members of Congress accountable,” she added.

The bill would also:

- Provide employees with access to a dedicated advocate who will provide consultation and assistance regarding proceedings before the Office of Compliance;
- Require public reporting of awards and settlements, including identifying if a member of Congress was liable;
-Require awards or settlements to be automatically referred to the Committee on Ethics for claims against members of Congress and senior staff.
- Extend protections under the Congressional Accountability Act to unpaid staff;
- Provide opportunities for employees to work remotely or request paid leave without fear of retribution; and
- Require a survey of staff each Congress to examine the workplace culture on Capitol Hill.

“Hardworking taxpayers should not foot the bill for a member’s misconduct, and victims should not have to navigate a system that stands in the way of accountability," Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO),  Ranking Member and Chair of the Senate Rules Committee, said. 

He added, "Today, 40 senators joined Sen. Klobuchar and me as co-sponsors of a bill the Senate passed unanimously to give more rights to victims and personal responsibility to members of Congress."

Reader comments

Wed, May 30, 2018

any one found guilty of serious misconduct such as harassment, corruption and cheating should be removed from federal service, fined and in some cases do a stint at San Quentin. Fortunately this would be most of the management in the federal service.

Wed, May 30, 2018

Is Bill Clinton on the list? If not he should be added!

Tue, May 29, 2018

Federal dispute system is beyond repair at the moment. Corrupt management is in charge and they can make decisions to help out other corrupt managers to professionally destroy an employee who bring charges against them on the grounds of harassment, dishonorable conduct etc. The only way out of this mess caused by the corrupt minions is to set up a board of individuals who are neutral and will hear the employee's side in its entirety and then investigate rapidly and if the determination is made in the favor of the employee the management minions are removed and either fired or downgraded accordingly with letters placed in their permanent record folder for future review and dismissal. Get rid of the corrupt age and gender biased management and the system would be much better for all.

Fri, May 25, 2018

This should not be just Congress!. Sexual Assault and Harassment is going on with top government managers just taking the sexual harassment webinars and training does not work. These officials are being hired into the management positions without completing any background history before they are put into there position of power.

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Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
Mike Causey Columnist
Tom Fox VP for Leadership and Innovation, Partnership for Public Service
Mathew B. Tully Legal Analyst

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