Female senators demand changes to workplace misconduct rules

Female senators demand changes to workplace misconduct rules
© Greg Nash

All 22 women in the Senate are demanding changes to workplace misconduct rules on Capitol Hill. 

"Survivors who have bravely come forward to share their stories have brought to light just how widespread harassment and discrimination continue to be throughout Capitol Hill," the senators wrote Wednesday in a letter, obtained by Politico, to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — House Dems charge Trump with abuse, obstruction of Congress in impeachment articles Senate must take up Voting Rights Advancement Act without delay Krystal Ball: Is this how Bernie Sanders will break the establishment? MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerKrystal Ball: Is this how Bernie Sanders will break the establishment? TikTok chief cancels Capitol Hill meetings, inflaming tensions Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments MORE (D-N.Y.). 

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"No longer can we allow the perpetrators of these crimes to hide behind a 23-year-old law," the bipartisan group of women said, referring to the 1995 statute that set up the current method of handling workplace misconduct complaints on Capitol Hill. 

The legislation being pushed by the female lawmakers would update the 1995 policy and streamline the process of reporting sexual harassment, while giving staffers additional resources for those filing reports.

The House has already passed changes to its rules, which establish an Office of Employee Advocacy to represent harassment victims. 

However, the Senate has moved more slowly on the issue, which female lawmakers say has a created "an inequity."

"Senate staff who face similar harassment or discrimination must pay personally for legal representation or represent themselves through complicated legal proceedings," while House staffers receive "access to free legal representation," the female senators wrote. 

The effort was led by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandOvernight Defense: Bombshell report reveals officials misled public over progress in Afghanistan | Amazon accuses Trump of 'improper pressure' in Pentagon contract decision | House Judiciary holds final impeachment hearing Gillibrand demands hearing following release of 'Afghanistan Papers' White House, Congress near deal to give 12 weeks paid parental leave to all federal workers MORE (D-N.Y.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments Obstacles remain for deal on surprise medical bills Key House and Senate health leaders reach deal to stop surprise medical bills MORE (D-Wash.).   

McConnell's spokesman David Popp told CNN that a bipartisan group in the chamber was working on legislation on the matter, but he did not say when it would be ready. 

"I don't yet have a prediction on when that will be completed," Popp told the network.