Statement By NOW President Toni Van Pelt:
The overhaul of Congress’ sexual harassment rules passed by the Senate is a good step in the right direction, but it leaves serious shortcomings that must be addressed in conference.
The Senate bill undermines the critical reform included in the House version that provides legal counsel to victims of sexual harassment. The Senate version explicitly prohibits the Congress’ legal advisor from providing legal advice once an individual has filed a claim, and imposes artificial time limits within which a staffer can file a complaint, among other flaws.
The Senate even goes so far as to use the phrase “unwelcome harassment.” Memo to lawmakers: harassment is never welcome.
There is much that the Senate bill gets right, and NOW congratulates legislators such as Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) for their leadership and diligence on this urgent issue. Women know that meaningful change takes time, and we’ll remain engaged, focused and determined to bring about the change that is so needed, and so overdue.
Dee Donavanik, firstname.lastname@example.org, 951-547-1241