Every member of the U.S. Senate and all staff members are required to undergo sexual harassment training in the next 60 days and at least once every two years after that under the terms of a resolution that the Senate approved on Thursday evening.
The resolution was sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D.-Minn.), the ranking member of the Senate Rules Committee, and co-sponsored by 19 others. Among the co-sponsors were Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.), Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R.-Iowa), Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D.-Ill.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R.-Texas).
“[T]his resolution will simply require that all Senators and staff receive sexual harassment training, as well as on other forms of harassment, at least once every 2 years—in addition to that, 60 days after it passes,” Klobuchar said on the Senate floor shortly before the resolution was approved.
“What happens if Senators do not receive this training?’ said Klobuchar.
“The American people will know.”
“[A]ll offices will have to certify to the Secretary of the Senate that they and their employees here in Washington, as well as those working in our home states, have, in fact, taken the training and complied with the resolution,” said Klobuchar. “These certifications will be posted online for the public to view.”
“We are all too aware that sexual harassment continues in our workplaces,” she said. “A recent study found that one in four women has been sexually harassed in the workplace and that three-quarters of individuals who have experienced sexual harassment at work have not reported the incidences. Civil service is actually among the top five industries with the highest sexual harassment incidences.
“We know that it will not stop on its own, and we will not be complacent bystanders who expect workplace cultures to change on their own,” she said.
In a written statement, Sen. Grassley said Congress has a duty “to set high standards of conduct.”
“By passing this resolution, we take a step to ensure that all who work for the Senate are able to do their job without feeling unsafe or uncomfortable,” said Grassley. “No place of work is immune to the all-too-prevalent scourge of sexual harassment, but we in Congress have a particular duty to set high standards of conduct. In the wake of so many scandals and reports of sexual harassment around the country, it’s critical that we continue do everything we can to prevent it.”
The Senate agreed to the rule without objection.