House Passes Resolution Mandating Anti-Harassment, Anti-Discrimination Training Requirements

Nov 29, 2017

WASHINGTON – Today, the House of Representatives unanimously passed H.Res. 630, a Resolution requiring all Members and staff to complete mandatory anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training during each session of Congress. Speaking on the Floor in favor of the Resolution’s adoption, Committee on House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) said:

“First and foremost, there is no place for sexual harassment in our society, and especially in Congress – period. I believe as Members of Congress we must hold ourselves to a higher standard – a standard that demonstrates we are worthy of the trust placed in us by our constituents and the American public. There have been numerous accounts by current and former colleagues and staff that suggest not every office is achieving this goal. This is simply unacceptable.

“This Resolution will mandate that each Member, Officer, and employee, intern, and fellow of the House of Representatives is fully aware of the laws that apply to them and their right to a harassment-free workplace under the Congressional Accountability Act. The Committee on House Administration recently held a hearing as its first step in its review. We heard from Members, House Employment Counsel, and the Office of Compliance. There was broad consensus that mandatory training is a necessary step for the House to prevent and eliminate harassment in the workplace.

“It is important to note that Republicans and Democrats have joined together to take this step, and I want to specifically thank Representatives Comstock and Speier for their leadership on this issue. The Resolution requires training to ensure each Member, Officer, and employee, intern, and fellow knows their obligations and rights. Further, the Resolution requires that each congressional office post in a prominent place a notice describing the rights and protections provided to House employees under the Congressional Accountability Act. Both of these measures are regular order in the private workplace and the House should do nothing less.

“The American people have entrusted each of their representatives with an enormous responsibility. Each Member is sent here to help make our country better. And the first place we should start is in our own chamber. Training on workplace rights and responsibilities will ensure that those who are victims of harassment can obtain justice and work in a harassment-free environment. In Ronald Reagan’s farewell address, he spoke of his vision of America as the shining city on the hill, one built on rocks stronger than oceans with everyone living in harmony and peace. We are not perfect, and we never will be, but I believe in that vision. This Resolution can be one important step to protect the members of our Capitol Hill community, and to demand that we have respect for each and every person here in this workplace.

“The Resolution sets an important requirement that each Member, Officer, and employee, intern, and fellows must undergo this mandatory training every year. For the current Congress, everyone must complete the training within 180 days of the start of our second session on January 3. Going forward, individuals will have to complete the training within 90 days of the start of each session.

“It is often said that the urgent gets in the way of the important on Capitol Hill. Not today. This is an important issue and today we will vote to ensure the entire House community receives the needed training on how to ensure a harassment-free workplace. This harassment-free environment should be afforded to every single member of our community, from that unpaid intern to the Speaker of the House. Awareness and training is a first step in the prevention and elimination of sexual harassment which has no place on Capitol Hill. I look forward to working with my colleagues to achieve this goal.”

Background:
• The Committee’s next hearing will be held on December 7. The hearing will focus on necessary reforms to the Congressional Accountability Act. Additional information on the Committee’s second hearing will be made available by Friday, December 1, 2017.
• On November 14, 2017, the Committee held its first hearing on Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Congressional Workplace.
• The Resolution is one part of the Committee on House Administration’s comprehensive review of the laws, procedures, and resources concerning workplace harassment in the House. A harassment-free workplace is vital and creating that culture will require everyone on Capitol Hill working together effectively.
• The Resolution requires all House Members, Officers, employees, including interns, detailees, and fellows, of the House of Representatives shall complete an anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training program during each session of Congress.
• Each individual must complete the training within 90 days of the session. For new hires, staff must complete the training within 90 days of their hire date during the session. For the current 115th Congress, each individual shall complete the training no later than 180 days after the second session of Congress begins.
• Each individual will provide their certificate of completion to the Committee on House Administration and the training must be repeated every session of Congress.
• The Resolution tasks the Committee on House Administration with issuing regulations to ensure compliance and transparency. As part of the Committee’s extensive review, these regulations will be drafted and adopted by the Committee within 30 days of enactment of the Resolution.
• Additionally, the Resolution requires the posting of a statement of the rights and protections provided to employees of the House of Representatives under the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995.

CHA