Report: Congress Lags in Dealing With Sexual Harassment

Several lawyers, lobbyists, and former congressional aides interviewed by The New York Times say Congress is rife with sexual harassment and lacks the proper mechanisms to deal with misconduct complaints. As the Committee on House Administration prepares to hold a hearing on harassment in Congress on Tuesday and about 1,500 former aides push for mandatory training on harassment prevention, lawyers say women on Capitol Hill continue to face a hostile work environment with burdensome procedures if they wish to file a complaint. “The system is so stacked,” Debra Katz, a Washington lawyer who often works on sexual-harassment cases, told the Times. “They don’t want people to come forward.” Several former aides have described being propositioned by congressional aides or lawmakers, while others said they were forced to tolerate unwanted advances simply because they didn’t know who to turn to. Several women interviewed said they were never even informed of the existence of the Office of Compliance, which handles sexual-harassment complaints on Capitol Hill.