We are currently in the midst of what I believe is a culturally significant event… shining light on abuse and harassment of vulnerable members of our society in all walks of life.
The sexual harassment allegations levied against members of Congress, members of the media and Hollywood heavy hitters are messy. It's difficult to speak about for some…and apparently far from over.
One of the more disturbing aspects for me is how Congress appears to be handling its own workplace complaints with the Congressional Office of Compliance.
For any situation brought up by an employer in our nation's capital, there's currently a mandatory 30 days of counseling.
That's often followed by another 30 days of mediation. That amounts to a minimum of two months before a person can even file an official complaint to get an investigation started. And during this process, the employee continues to report to work, quite possibly alongside the person they are accusing.
On top of this unnecessary delay, many settlements are kept confidential. Theoretically, a valid complaint could be resolved and no one, including other or future employees, would be any wiser to the fact there ever was an issue.
I understand the need for privacy. But if these misdeeds are being settled in this manner and with taxpayer money, this archaic system has to go.
That's my turn. Now it's your turn. To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Emailed comments from viewers:
You are right on here, Gary. These jackasses are in a position of public trust and should be held to a higher level of expectation and performance. We need to stop electing a number of these folks! More importantly, the parties need to stop supporting them. Ain't gonna happen! That's one reason term limits should be enacted.
What in the world is going on in Washington?
This is not a dem. or a rep. issue (law was passed by a rep. congress and signed by a dem. president).
Issue is our tax dollars spent on a group playing grab ass when they are supposed to be working and when caught or don't want to play anymore, we foot the bill to pay for the hush fund.
How in the world did this law come in to being? ). Both parties have been in control at various times in the last 20 years and both have allowed it to happen.
The public sector doesn't work like this. People can and have lost their jobs for this type of behavior in the work place. And now that it has been brought to light, what is congress going to do? Require members to take a class on how to behave?
Who is in charge? Both Pelosi and Ryan have stated these matters do not reach their desk. Who is the chairman of the sub., sub., sub. committee that signs the check to keep these actions from the light of day? I heard one of the "settlements" was paid out of a discretionary fund. Does Washington take us all for fools. Where do discretionary funds come from, the tooth fairy? Once again, this is our tax dollars.
I want the 17 million spent so far returned and the individuals who spent it to come off their hip with their own money to pay for their actions. Also need this law repealed and members of congress held to the same standards as everyone else. Who do they think they are? If you play, you pay. Not the tax payers.
Unfortunately, I'm afraid this will be swept under the rug in a week or so and it will be back to business as usual and we are the ones who are to blame. Last time I looked, over. 90% of incumbents running are voted back for another term. We just keep taking it and don't even get kissed.
I agree 100% with your commentary on the process for sexual harassment in government. It's like the fox guarding the hen house.
I couldn't agree with your opinion more. The general public would be livid if they knew how much money these lawmakers payout basically as hush money for their misdeeds. The archaic and patriarchal society should be no more. And as more powerful men fall from their perches, and more women find the courage to speak up, I hope we start to find a sense of balance, fairness, pay equity and equality for all women.
I just heard your comments on the sexual harassment claims and how are they are handled by our Congress. How is it possible that this has come to be? I dare anyone to find in the Constitution that members of Congress "shall be provided with a slush fund to pay for any sexual misdeeds". Congress is guilty of having laws and rules for themselves that others in America are not entitled to. I submit this leads to distrust and anger at our government. It seems Congress is not listening to the American people. The only ones they are responsible to are their big donors. If we don't find some true leaders who care about the people and less about being reelected we will find ourselves in a state of anarchy. I submit the only way to save us is mandatory term limits. How can we do any worse that what we have now? Thank You for you commentary.
I want to say that I do not believe that any person should have to put up with being harassed or sexually harassed.
That being said, How we handle these types of allegations needs to change. I have worked over 40 years and in that time I have had to listen to male co-workers being crass and insulting. The locker-room mentality does not stop with the me. Women are often more graphic and crude then men. There are more men in the work place then you know who have been belittled, harassed and groped by women.
Currently there seems to be a lot of women jumping on the band wagon to say that yes they too were harassed. This is not a one sided problem. When are the men going to find their voices?
I know that many young attractive women have used their looks to advance their career. Some of these young women have targeted co-workers, bosses and men who hold positions of power to engage them in what is now considered inappropriate relationships. When these relationship ended, some not all of the women have claimed they were forced or felt intimidated to remain quite.
Again, I am not saying that these recent allegations did not happen, but way have they waited years to come forward.