Press Release

U.S. Rep. Castor Introduces Bipartisan Bill to End Taxpayer-Funded Harassment Settlements in Congress

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Washington, November 30, 2017 | comments
Today, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) introduced bipartisan legislation to end taxpayer-funded awards and settlements for workplace discrimination, including sexual harassment, in Congress:
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Today, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) introduced bipartisan legislation to end taxpayer-funded awards and settlements for workplace discrimination, including sexual harassment, in Congress:

“It is outrageous that taxpayers foot the bill for secret, taxpayer-funded settlements for workplace harassment and discrimination by members of Congress,” said U.S. Rep. Castor.  “Instead, members of Congress should be personally liable for such workplace harassment claims and I filed a bill today to make that happen. I am pleased to joined by my colleague, U.S. Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE), on this important bipartisan legislation."

“Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives took an important step by voting to require annual sexual harassment training for members and staff,” said U.S. Rep. Castor.  “Now Congress must act to end taxpayer-funded awards and settlements for sexual harassment in Congress.  Congress also must completely reform the process for complaints and timely resolution of cases as is contemplated in the “Me Too Act” by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) that I have cosponsored.”

“With the recent revelation that taxpayer money has been used in sexual harassment claims against Members of Congress, I am reinforcing my commitment to supporting victims of sexual crimes by sponsoring this legislation with Rep. Castor,” said U.S. Rep. Bacon.  “Taxpayer money should not be used as a way for elected officials to hide behind any form of workplace misconduct.  Americans deserve better.  This legislation will hold elected officials accountable and ensure that taxpayers aren’t responsible for the inappropriate actions of our elected officials.”

U.S. Rep. Castor intends to continue to press the U.S. House to increase anti-harassment safeguards and to make members, not taxpayers, liable for their personal actions.

Last year, U.S. Rep. Castor highlighted the problem of workplace harassment in Tampa Bay when the Centre for Women joined her to host a roundtable discussion with local small business owners and legal experts to discuss how to stop workplace harassment, and access to resources. She has championed and secured significant grants for our community to assist victimized women, and with heightened attention in 2014 of NFL athletes who perpetrated domestic violence against women, she called on the organization to set a standard of zero tolerance.

“All forms of harassment and discrimination are serious and our laws and policies that put employees at a disadvantage must be addressed, especially in the Congress,” U.S. Rep. Castor continued. “This bill will ensure that, while Congress tackles this issue, the hard-earned taxpayer dollars of my neighbors and Americans across the country are not used to protect bad actors.”

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