Report: 264 Staffers Paid $17 Million In Congressional Harassment Hush Money
“The 264 Congressional staffers and other legislative branch employees who were paid more than $17 million over the past two decades, according to a report released on Thursday by the Office of Compliance, to settle harassment claims are just the tip of the iceberg of the total number of harassment incidents that have taken place on Capitol Hill, sources tell Breitbart News.
The reason so few incidents of harassment, sexual and otherwise, of Congressional staffers by members of Congress have ended up in financial settlements is because Congress passed a law designed to protect itself from such claims – prohibiting their employees from having the same rights of redress that more than two million other federal employees and tens of millions of private sector employees have.
More than two decades ago, Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed into law the Congressional Accountability Act (CAA) of 1995, which established what Elizabeth K. Newman, an attorney with The Jeffrey Law Group, a Washington based law firm that represents Congressional staffers subjected to sexual and other forms of harassment, says is a “a terribly inefficient process and it takes forever,” in dealing with those allegations.
“What staffer in his or her right mind is going to sit through that?” Newman asked Breitbart News in an exclusive interview.
The CAA established the Office of Compliance, located right on Capitol Hill, which has the administrative responsibility for handling harassment incidents brought to it by Congressional staffers.
Employees of private companies with fifteen or more employees can file a harassment claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), regardless of whether they have gone through their private company’s internal procedures.
Federal employees who are not employed in the legislative branch can also file a harassment claim with the EEOC.
“If you are a federal employee or job applicant and you believe that a federal agency has discriminated against you, you have a right to file a complaint. Each agency is required to post information about how to contact the agency’s EEO Office. You can contact an EEO Counselor by calling the office responsible for the agency’s EEO complaints program,” the EEOC website states.
But Congressional staffers and employees of the other agencies that are part of the legislative branch–the GAO, the Congressional Budget Office, and the Library of Congress–are prohibited by law from filing harassment claims with the EEOC.
“They [Congressional staffers]” should have the same rights to go to the EEOC as their federal employee brethren,” Newman tells Breitbart News.
But Newman says they do not have those same rights now, because the”EEOC does not have jurisdiction” over complaints of sexual harassment filed by employees of the legislative branch against their employers.
The authorizing legislation for the EEOC “expressly does not extend jurisdiction to the legislative branch,” Newman notes.
Breitbart News asked the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if a Congressional staffer – or any employee covered by the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 – files a sexual harassment claim with the EEOC without first submitting to “counseling” and “mediation” with the Office of Compliance.
“We would inform the individual that we can’t take the charge and have no jurisdiction,” the EEOC spokesperson told Breitbart News when asked what EEOC would do if a Congressional staffer attempted to file a sexual harassment complaint with the EEOC against a member of Congress that took place on Capitol Hill.
As for the Office of Compliance process to deal with incidents of sexual and other harassment by members of Congress against staffers, attorney Newman says, “For all intents and purposes it’s an internal administrative process.”
Surprisingly, Step One of the process, “Counseling,” is mandatory for the complaining employee, but not the individual who is has allegedly engaged in the harassing behavior against the employee, a highly unusual requirement when compared to the EEOC process. ”
….Continue reading more @ Breitbart
Al Franken edited out of David Letterman tribute
|| NY Post
“If there was a Top 10 list of reasons to scrub a celebrity’s appearance from an upcoming TV special, a sexual harassment scandal would surely come in at number one.
Minnesota Sen. Al Franken has been edited out of PBS’ “David Letterman: The Mark Twain Prize special” (airing Monday, 8/7c), TVLine has confirmed.The decision to cut him from the broadcast comes just days after the “Saturday Night Live” alum became the latest politician to be accused of sexual harassment.
A PBS rep tells TVLine that Franken will still be briefly visible “in the finale shot when all the cast” join Letterman on stage.
On Nov. 16, Leeann Tweeden, a model and sports commentator, came forward and alleged that Franken forcibly kissed her during a USO tour back in 2006. She also released a photo that appeared to show him groping her while she was sleeping. He has since issued an apology, which she accepted. He has also called on Congress to conduct a proper ethics investigation into his behavior.”
….Continue reading more @ NY Post