Sexual harassment has seldom been out of the headlines in the last few months. Recently, Texas’s sexual harassment strategy was revised in the light of the national climate.
Members of the Texas House backed a new sexual harassment policy in late 2017. The new document entailed significant changes. Additional language strengthened protections against retaliation and added specific steps for reporting inappropriate behavior.
The House Administration Committee adopted a policy that offers more details on actions that constitute sexual harassment. It describes various ways victims can obtain help, particularly how they may pursue an internal complaint.
The Texas Tribune noted the new policy followed a report highlighting possible flaws with a previous policy that left victims to fend for themselves.
The new policy requires all House employees and staff to take part in anti-sexual harassment and anti-discrimination training by January 2018.
However, this training can’t be required of lawmakers, even though they were linked to some of the worst behavior highlighted in the Tribune investigation.
State Rep. Donna Howard from Austin was among those calling for change. She said:
“One of the things the women were particularly concerned about is making sure this is a policy that shows the respect that this situation deserves … That it gives enough information that a person feels comfortable in knowing that if they do find themselves the subject of harassment, that they have a policy that gives them clear guidance and also gives them some certainty that there will be action taken.”
Sexual harassment by members of Congress has made headlines in recent years. However, very few of these cases result in criminal charges.
In many cases, these claims resulted in private payouts. An arcane system means this information remains shrouded in secrecy.
In December 2018 Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., asked the Office of Compliance to disclose the number of sexual harassment claims against senators and their staffers, as well as monetary settlements reached in any harassment cases, reported USA Today. He is unlikely to be successful in his attempt to get the information.
Sexual harassment and sex assaults are high profile offenses in the current climate. Often charges are brought against defendants on the uncorroborated statement of a single witness. If you have been charged with a crime in Texas, contact our experienced criminal defense lawyers today.