DearColleague.us

Letter

Jackie Speier

From the office of:

Jackie Speier

Sending Office: Honorable Jackie Speier
Sent By:
Yana.Mayayeva@mail.house.gov

Dear Colleague,

Last year, Congress took a bold step toward fixing Congress’ broken workplace harassment and discrimination system by passing the Congressional Accountability Act (CAA) of 1995 Reform Act. Members came together across party lines to reform our antiquated
system, ensure a safe and dignified workplace for Congressional employees, and hold Members, not taxpayers, accountable for their actions.

Thanks to the CAA Reform Act, victims of sexual harassment and discrimination are no longer subject to mandatory counselling, mediation, and cooling-off periods; non-disclosure agreements are only allowed if the employee agrees to one; interns and fellows
have the same rights as permanent staff; and taxpayers no longer foot the bill for Members’ harassing behavior. A separate resolution also created the House Office of Employee Advocacy to provide legal representation for victims, and mandated that offices
adopt an anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policy.

We’ve made significant progress, but unfortunately two important provisions in the House passed bill were dropped in the final product.  The Congressional Accountability Act (CAA) Enhancement Act would enact those two provisions, which:

  • Require an independent investigation by the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights’ (formerly the Office of Compliance) for an allegation of harassment or discrimination. This provides parity with what Congress has already mandated on private sector employers.
    Unfortunately, by dropping this provision in the CAA Reform Act, Congress continues to treat itself differently than the private sector and give its employees fewer rights and protections.
  • Require that Members of Congress be held personally liable for the discrimination and related retaliation acts they personally commit. The CAA Reform Act made Members liable for harassment and related retaliation, but discrimination was dropped from the
    final bill. If a member personally commits an act of discrimination, they should pay for it, not the taxpayers.

It is important that we send a message that Congress will no longer tolerate misconduct that denigrates the workplace. Please join us in finishing the bipartisan work we started last Congress to ensure that our Congressional staff have the protections they
deserve and Members are held accountable for their actions.

For questions or to be an original cosponsor, please contact Yana Mayayeva with Rep. Speier at  Yana.Mayayeva@mail.house.gov or Mitch Relfe with Rep. Byrne at
Mitch.Relfe@mail.house.gov. Please note we will be adding Members in Democrat and Republican pairs. The deadline for original cosponsors is Monday, December 16 COB. 

Sincerely,

Jackie Speier    Bradley Byrne    Lauren Underwood    Brian Fitzpatrick 
Member of Congress   Member of Congress   Member of Congress   Member of Congress
Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Civil Rights, Ethics and Standards, Family Issues, Government, Judiciary, Labor, Rules/Legislative Branch

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