House Dem pitches mandatory sexual harassment training for government contractors

House Dem pitches mandatory sexual harassment training for government contractors
© Greg Nash

A California Democrat wants to make sexual harassment training mandatory for federal contractors in addition to federal employees.

Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán introduced the Federal Contractor Anti-Harassment Training Act on Wednesday to force employees of companies that contract with the federal government to complete anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training.

Under the proposal, the training would have to be completed within 90 days of a contract award and repeated every other year following.

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“Unlike members of Congress and congressional staff, who are required to complete harassment training, federal contractors are not currently required to do so,” Barragán said in a statement.

“We must extend this common-sense sexual harassment training to federal contractors to ensure that individuals who work closely with the federal government, and receive tax-payer money, are held to the same standard.”

The bill allows companies to use the same training materials federal agencies provide to their employees if funding is an issue.

The legislation comes on the heels of the "Me Too" and "Times Up" movements, which have highlighted the pervasiveness of sexual harassment.

The House and Senate passed resolutions in November to make anti-sexual-harassment training mandatory for all members of Congress and their staff.

On Wednesday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) launched the Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Initiative, which the agency said will focus on bringing sex discrimination claims against state and local government employers, with an emphasis on pursuing allegations of sexual harassment.

The DOJ said it also plans to develop ways companies can change existing practices to make the workplace safer.

“All Americans are entitled to work with dignity in a place that is free of sexual harassment,” Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore said in a statement.

“Through enforcement actions, effective remedial measures, and outreach, the Justice Department—under Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOvernight Health Care: Supreme Court nomination reignites abortion fight in states | Trump urges Sessions to sue opioid makers | FDA approves first generic version of EpiPen Connect Beltway to America to get federal criminal justice reform done Dems urge tech companies to remove 3D-gun blueprints MORE’ leadership—will fight to eliminate sexual harassment among public sector employers.”