January 07, 2019
WASHINGTON – In the 116th Congress, which began last week, all members of the Senate and House of Representatives will be held accountable under new sexual harassment reforms enacted in the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act. The new law which was sponsored by U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee, reforms the process to pursue claims of sexual harassment or other workplace discrimination experienced on Capitol Hill by updating the dispute resolution process, protecting workers, increasing transparency and holding Members of Congress accountable. It was signed into law on December 21, 2018 and the annual reporting period began January 1, 2019.
“In the new Congress, victims of harassment and discrimination finally have a process that protects their rights and holds perpetrators accountable,” Blunt said. “The new process strengthens protections for victims and makes Members of Congress personally liable for their misconduct. This law will help ensure that men and women who work in the Congress have the safe workplace environment they, and all Americans, deserve.”
“We are finally setting an example for the nation that workplace discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated. This new law reforms the broken and outdated process of reporting and handling sexual harassment claims. Victims of harassment will have greater empowerment over how their claims are handled and confidence that we are here to support them, not protect politicians,” Klobuchar said. “All men and women deserve a workplace free from harassment and that includes those who work in Congress.”
The new law fundamentally changes the way harassment, discrimination and retaliation claims are handled in Congress. Specifically, the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act: