DUTCH'S DISPATCH

f you’re like me, you have been appalled to hear story after story from women who have been sexually harassed and even assaulted in workplaces around the country – including the Halls of Congress. I was even more dismayed to hear several accounts in which lawmakers used taxpayer money to settle cases against their accusers.

That’s why, this week, I was proud to vote in favor of landmark legislation to create a true zero tolerance environment on Capitol Hill. The Me Too Congress Act – which passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support – improves the reporting process for victims. It holds Members of Congress personally responsible for financial settlements and guarantees that taxpayer money will never again be used to silence survivors of harassment and discrimination. Everyone who comes to Washington to work, whether as a lawmaker or staffer, deserves to feel safe.

To assist my own staff, I invited a human resources attorney from the Office of Compliance to provide a legal overview on this topic and answer any questions my employees had. She spoke about what’s ok – and what isn’t – when it comes to harassment and discrimination, and how employees can file complaints. As an employer, it’s my responsibility to ensure my employees feel safe.

I hope passage of this bill is just one more step in the march to end sexual harassment that is sweeping our nation, from Hollywood to hotels, from bars to boardrooms, from newsrooms to nonprofits. Time is up for the culture of complicity.  This is just the beginning: we must continue to do more to ensure all people are free from harassment.