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Missouri legislature tackles sexual harassment policy

Voters like to imagine that elected leaders are held to a higher standard. However, Missouri residents were awoken to yet another sexual scandal except this one was close to home. As you may be aware, the former Speaker of the House resigned several months ago. The resignation came after the former speaker admitted that he exchanged texts of a sexual nature with an intern who worked at the Capitol.

This revelation has prompted the new Speaker to promulgate new rules governing the relationship between legislators and staff and interns. The rules were announced last month, and the House is now holding public hearings on the proposed changes.

Among the policy changes being sought is a mandate requiring that outside attorneys be sought to deal with sexual harassment complaints against lawmakers. Also, it is proposed that a ban be placed on romantic interaction between interns, legislators and staff members.

It is good news for all Missourians that our state officials are taking the matter of sexual harassment seriously. Hopefully, the measures suggested will come to pass and serve as an example to other organizations that face similar situations. If such is the case, it may not only help reduce the rate of incidents of sexual harassment, but also encourage those who have been subjected to harassment to take action.

If you have been a victim of sexual harassment in a work environment, you know how stressful and even dehumanizing it can be. But you do not have to suffer in silence and you have rights that help protect you and allow you to do your job without the pressure and discomfort that can be brought to bear by a harasser. Speaking to an attorney can help clarify your rights.

Source: Springfield News-Leader, "Missouri House holding public hearings on harassment policies," The Associated Press, Nov. 3, 2015

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