Posted on January 19, 2018
Shira Schoenberg, MassLive.com
BOSTON — State Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton, has introduced a bill to create an independent commission to investigate sexual harassment in the Legislature.
The topic was raised after a Boston Globe column revealed numerous allegations of sexual harassment on Beacon Hill.
The Senate Ethics Commission is investigating whether former Senate President Stan Rosenberg, D-Amherst, broke any Senate rules related to alleged sexual misconduct by his husband.
“One of the really frustrating and heartbreaking experiences over the past few months has been talking to people who have been harassed or assaulted, but who have felt uncomfortable telling anyone in the Massachusetts Legislature,” Eldridge said in a statement. “It’s critical that we create a healthy and safe workplace environment for everyone, and we do that by holding perpetrators of sexual abuse and harassment accountable. That is why I’m filing a bill that would create an independent commission to investigate and report on incidents of assault and harassment related to the state Legislature.”
The bill would create an independent, nine-member commission to investigate and report on complaints of workplace harassment in the Legislature.
The commission would establish a standard procedure for investigating complaints. It would have authority to subpoena documents and would make a recommendation for any disciplinary action. The commission’s report would be given to both parties involved and the employer of the person who acted improperly, or, if the person is a lawmaker, the Committee on Ethics in the House or Senate. The findings would be confidential.
The commission would also be responsible for conducting an annual survey of workplace harassment among legislative employees and interns. It would compile an annual report on the numbers of incidents investigated and any trends and recommendations. It would develop policies and training programs related to workplace harassment.
The bill must still go through the legislative process and be approved by the House and Senate for it to become law.
Separately, nine senators on Thursday were named to a commission that will review the Senate’s sexual harassment policies.
Article retrieved from MassLive.com: http://www.masslive.com/politics/index.ssf/2018/01/sen_jamie_eldridge_proposes_in.html