House Moves Forward on Critical Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy
For Immediate Release
April 14, 2017
Contact: Katherine Levasseur
Montpelier, VT - The Vermont House passed a resolution this week that updates the Rules and Orders of the House of Representatives regarding sexual harassment, discrimination, and legislative ethics.
The House of Representatives is professional work environment. This body is dedicated to ensuring that all employees have a workplace free of harassment whether they are representatives, interns, employees or members of the public such as visitors, lobbyists, advocates, and member of the press. The new rules will also protect against retaliation targeting someone who complains, reports, or cooperates in an investigation.
The updates also include the creation of three new panels that will be established by the Rules Committee at the beginning of each legislative biennium. Each panel will be composed of five members of the House appointed by the Rules Committee. A Discrimination Prevention Panel, an Ethics Panel and a Sexual Harassment Prevention Panel will receive and investigate complaints. These panels will provide training to all employees and Representatives and may recommend disciplinary action. All panels will produce an annual report consisting of the number of complaints filed, disposition of those complaints, and the number of member requests for advice to share with the members of the House.
“We are committed to preventing and addressing issues of sexual harassment and discrimination in this workplace. At a time when fundamental rights of human dignity are being rolled back on a national level, we must do all we can to ensure we are moving forward appropriately and keeping our community strong. We began the legislative session with Sexual Harassment Prevention training and are committed to continuing to lead in discrimination and harassment prevention. This is a strong step forward in education, prevention, and for victims of harassment and discrimination. We have a critical role to play in ensuring that survivors of harassment can receive the care, compassion, and justice they deserve” said House Speaker Mitzi Johnson.