December 13, 2018
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee, announced that their bipartisan legislation to reform the process to pursue claims of sexual harassment or other workplace discrimination experienced on Capitol Hill is headed to the president’s desk. The final text of the bipartisan legislation was agreed upon yesterday by leaders in the Senate and House of Representatives and passed both chambers today with strong bipartisan support. The legislation would reform the dispute resolution process, protect workers, increase transparency and hold Members of Congress accountable.
“Today, the House and Senate came together to end a broken process that failed victims for far too long,” Blunt said. “This bipartisan, bicameral agreement will protect the rights of victims and ensure perpetrators are held accountable for conduct unacceptable in the Congress or any workplace. I thank Senator Klobuchar and House and Senate leadership for getting this bill through Congress and on its way to the president’s desk.”
“Sexual harassment goes far beyond the cases you read in the headlines—it’s not just about the rich and famous, but also the nurse, or the teacher, or the line worker at the factory. Today, Congress sent a message that workplace harassment of any kind is unacceptable,” Klobuchar said. “The time has come to stop protecting politicians and to start supporting victims. All men and women deserve a workplace free from harassment.”
This legislation would change the way harassment claims are handled in Congress by eliminating the required 30-day “counseling” period, the required 30-day mediation phase, and the 30-day “cooling off” period. The legislation would allow a victim to immediately pursue an administrative hearing or file a civil action. It would also 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.
In addition, the legislation would: