Barletta Supports Reforms to Sexual Harassment Procedures in Congress
WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed two bills to overhaul the current sexual harassment training, reporting, and prevention process in Congress. The bills would reform current provisions under the Congressional Accountability Act to require Members pay for sexual harassment settlements, streamline protections to victims involved in such violations, and require all offices to undergo anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies. Barletta voted in favor of both measures which passed the House by voice vote.
“As the father of four daughters, I find such conduct unconscionable,” Barletta said following the vote. “Sexual harassment and misconduct is unacceptable under any circumstance, and has no place in our government or society. Victims must be protected, while perpetrators held accountable under the constitutionally appropriate avenues of due process. These reforms are critical to protecting potential and recovering victims, by punishing bad behavior and holding violators accountable. I am also pleased the bills would reverse the perverse system of using taxpayer funds to settle harassment cases. This is a scandalously unacceptable use of taxpayer dollars.”
Barletta is a cosponsor of H.R. 4494, the Congressional Accountability and Hush Fund Elimination Act, which had many provisions included in these pieces of legislation.
H. Res. 724 requires offices in the U.S. House of Representatives to adopt an anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policy, establishes the Office of Employee Advocacy, and prohibits sexual relationships between employees and Members of Congress.
H.R. 4924, the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act, requires Members to repay settlements involving claims of sexual harassment or misconduct, institutes an automatic referral to the appropriate ethics committee for all claims involving a Member of Congress or senior staff, requires the retention of records by the Office of Compliance, extends protection to unpaid staff, and requires an employee training program on an employee’s rights and protections under the Congressional Accountability Act.