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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Representing the District of Columbia

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Norton Requests to Testify at Hearing on Sexual Harassment in Congress

Nov 8, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today released Norton’s letter to the House Administration Committee requesting to testify at an upcoming committee hearing on the House’s sexual harassment policies, including whether to require Members and staff to complete sexual harassment training.  The hearing is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, November 14, 2017, at 10:00 a.m., in 1310 Longworth House Office Building.  As the first woman to chair the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Norton issued the first guidelines holding sexual harassment to be a violation of equal employment laws, and the U.S. Supreme Court later upheld those guidelines.  Last week, Norton introduced a bill to offer congressional employees the same workplace protections, including required sexual harassment training, as other federal and private sector workers.  Norton has required herself and her congressional staff to complete sexual harassment training, and has urged her colleagues to mandate training even before a formal House requirement.

In her letter, Norton wrote, “I understand that the committee is reviewing the House’s sexual harassment policies, and I believe that my past role as Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) could provide valuable insight for the committee as it undertakes its review.  I was appointed in 1977 to the EEOC as the first woman Chair, and enforced federal job discrimination laws, such as Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bars job discrimination.  As Chair, I issued the first guidelines holding sexual harassment to be a violation of equal employment laws, and the Supreme Court upheld our guidelines.”

Norton’s full letter is below.

The Honorable Gregg Harper                                     
Chairman                                                                     
House Administration Committee      
1309 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Robert Brady  
Ranking Member
House Administration Committee
1307 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Harper and Ranking Member Brady:

I write to request to testify at the House Administration Committee’s hearing on November 14, 2017, which will focus on sexual harassment awareness training.  I understand that the committee is reviewing the House’s sexual harassment policies, and I believe that my past role as Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) could provide valuable insight for the committee as it undertakes its review.  I was appointed in 1977 to the EEOC as the first woman Chair, and enforced federal job discrimination laws, such as Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bars job discrimination.  As Chair, I issued the first guidelines holding sexual harassment to be a violation of equal employment laws, and the Supreme Court upheld our guidelines.

More recently, I led a letter with our House colleagues, Representative Jackie Speier and Representative Brenda Lawrence, asking Members to take action on their own to require sexual harassment training in our offices while our bills that mandate training are pending.  I have taken these actions myself and see no reason why Members should not immediately act on their own to protect their staff from workplace harassment.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Eleanor Holmes Norton

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