By Grace Knobler on April 25, 2018
A recent bill was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives modifying the way that sexual harassment cases are handled on Capitol Hill. The proposed bill would change many of the procedures that are currently in place under the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995. Per the 1995 act, victims are required to attend counseling for months before they are able to file a formal complaint about their sexual harassment.
The new bill would change this mandatory meditation period, allowing victims to take action as soon as they have experienced an incident of harassment or assault. Additionally, current victims of sexual harassment or assault do not have easy access to the resources they may need to receive fair representation.(1) The new bill provides victims with legal representation once a complaint has been filed. Finally, the new bill holds the sexual harasser accountable by using his or her own funds to pay the settlement. This differs from the current act in which the accused can use taxpayer dollars to pay sexual harassment settlements. Now, the person accused of sexual harassment is required to reimburse the U.S. treasury within 90 days, or their wages would be garnished.(2)