WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-05) voted in favor of the Congressional Accountability Act, legislation to improve the existing policies and mechanisms in place to guard against and report harassment and discrimination in Congress. Esty cosponsored the legislation.
The bill will provide House employees with immediate access to a dedicated advocate who will provide legal consultation, representation, and assistance before the Congressional Office of Compliance and the Committee on Ethics in the event of a dispute involving harassment. It also ensures that lawmakers who leave office are responsible for repaying the Treasury for any awards or settlements, and mandates that no official House funds are used to pay a settlement in connection with prohibited conduct.
“As a young intern and an attorney, I saw and experienced my fair share of harassment in the workplace. The culture in Washington was bad then and still needs to change,” Esty said. “No one, whether a staffer, an intern, a fellow, or a Member, working in public service should have to feel afraid or intimidated to show up to work. And I am firmly committed to ensuring that my staff and I maintain an office atmosphere free of harassment.”
Esty and her staff participated in a sexual harassment training in March, 2017, and all staff, interns, fellows, and Members are currently required to participate in training.