Capitol Hill Custodial Staff Have Complained of Sexual Harassment: IG Report

A new Inspector General report alleges that members of Congress have sexually harassed night shift custodial staff while they cleaned the lawmakers’ offices. The report examined the past 10 years of sexual-harassment cases within the Architect of the Capitol, AOC, the agency that is responsible for maintenance and operation of the House and Senate office buildings on Capitol Hill. AOC has no unified system for tracking complaints and resolutions of sexual harassment cases, the report says. “The OIG determined that the AOC lacks strong internal controls with regard to tracking these complaints and that current policy is insufficient regarding the prohibition of and response to sexual harassment,” reads the 53-page report.

The ineffective system left the inspector general “unable to determine the nature of many of the complaints,” according to the report. Many complaints were described vaguely as “sexual harassment, inappropriate remarks or inappropriate touching.” The report identified 57 incidents of sexual harassment since 2008, and about 44 percent of the complaints were substantiated. “Given the size of the AOC’s workforce, we note that the actual number of sexual harassment complaints is relatively low,” the report reads. “There remains, however, the perception that sexual harassment is a pervasive problem within the AOC.”