Paul Ryan Announces That US House Will Mandate Sexual Harassment Training

House lawmakers hold hearing on sexual harassment in Congress

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday that the chamber would immediately begin mandatory training on sexual harassment and anti-discrimination efforts after two female members accused two sitting congressmen of impropriety and misconduct.

Congressional leaders admitted the institution is highly vulnerable to the sexual harassment of staffers.

"That kind of situation, what are we doing here for women, right now, who are dealing with someone like that?" And a young staffer ― it was a young woman ― went there and was greeted with a member in a towel.

Ryan's announcement comes after Virginia Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock and Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat, described instances of sexual harassment on the Hill during a hearing of the Committee on House Administration.

Since then, Speier said her office has received calls from a multitude of current and former Capitol Hill staffers sharing their experiences of sexual harassment.

"I strongly encourage you to complete sexual harassment training and to mandate the training for your staff".

These are a few of the unwritten rules that some female lawmakers, staff and interns say they follow on Capitol Hill, where they say harassment and coercion is pervasive on both sides of the rotunda.

Speier has introduced legislation to require annual sexual harassment awareness training for lawmakers and staff, who would have to file a certificate of completion with the House Ethics Committee.

"Obviously, that's not the right approach", he said.

Office of Compliance staff who testified before the committee said mandatory in-person training would be a good first step toward preventing harassment. However, Gloria Lett, counsel at the Office of House Employment, who testified at Tuesday's hearing, said that she believed in the process and thought it worked "very effectively".

She did not name the lawmakers mentioned in her testimony, citing the non-disclosure agreements she wants to eliminate.

Watch Speier's comments below, via ABC News. In recent days Alabama's Republican nominee for Senate has come under fire after several women have come forward with accounts of sexually inappropriate behavior or, in at least one case, assault, at Moore's hand when they were teenagers.

"Many of us in Congress know what it's like, because Congress has been a breeding ground for a hostile work environment for far too long", she said in an October video encouraging other staffers to tell their stories.



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