The United States' legislature is responsible for creating the laws of the nation. However, in many regards, the legislature is just like any other employer. Employees of the legislature have the right to be free from discrimination, wrongful termination and from sexual harassment.
Following a recent scandal -- where a freshman member of the House of Representatives was caught on camera kissing an aide -- California Representative Jackie Speier has introduced new legislation to increase the amount of training that members of the legislature get about sexual harassment.
In her announcement of the bill, Rep. Speier explains that sexual harassment is not a new phenomenon in government, but it is one that should be stopped. She wants sexual harassment training to be mandatory for all members of the House. She says this training can help people to know how to prevent sexual harassment, to recognize all forms of sexual harassment and how to react if sexual harassment occurs.
California employees should also understand exactly what constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace. Under California employment laws, California employees are protected from any conduct that creates a hostile work environment. This includes sexual jokes, comments, unwanted sexual advances, inappropriate touching and more. Unwanted sexual contact has no place in a California workplace.
When sexual harassment does occur, employees should know they have rights. The employer is responsible for stopping the sexual harassment, but if the employer fails to act, then the employee can take legal action. With the right help, employees may be compensated as a result of the sexual harassment or their employer's failure to stop it.
Source: MSNBC, "Rep. wants mandatory sexual harassment trainings for House," Meredith Clark, April 9, 2014