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tv   Sexual Harassment Congressional Workplace  CSPAN  December 8, 2017 2:43pm-4:44pm EST

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foreign alliances and they had warned americans about sectionalism and excessive partisanship at home and jackson warned them against control of their own government by, in his words, the rich and powerful. >> american history tv all weekend, every weekend only on c-span3. c-span where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> the house and ministry to committee helped hearing this
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week on the process and resources for congressional staff to report and recover from sexual misconduct on capitol hill. witnesses included representatives from the equal employment opportunity commission in the office of later questions on strengthening federal laws that govern the response to complaints about congress. this is about two hours. >> now call to the order for the purposes of today'say hearing title preventing sexual harassment and the congressional workplace. examining reforms to the congressional accountability act. the hearing will remain open for five fledglingng of days so members may submit any materials
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they wish to be included. a quorum is president so we may proceed. i ask for unanimous consent that then committee on ethics chairwoman susan brooks representative jackie spear and bradley byrne be afforded the t opportunity to sit on the dais and question all of our witnesses today. without objection, so order. at the outset i would like to thank all of our witnesses for taking timesy out of what i know is a very busy schedule to be here. we are much appreciative of that. first and foremost, let me reiterate there is no place for sexual harassment in our society especially in congress. and one case of sexual harassment is one case too many. the speaker of the house, paul ryan, cast this committee with heading up an extensive review on this issue and we take that responsibility very seriously. as members of congress we must hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard that demonstrates we are worthy of the trust placed in us by the
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public, by our constituents and by everyone in this country. since our last hearing on november 14 additional accounts of sexual harassment have service in questions about the related settlements both those authorized under the congressional credibility act and outside that act have been raised. these issues suggest that it is not only time but appropriate for the committee to review the policy goals of the congressional credibility act and review the process to set out in the act and what we need to do to accomplish those policy goals and evaluate the reforms needed to accomplish our collective goal, our bipartisan goal of zero tolerance. the congressional accountability act has not yet been comprehensive be reviewed since its enactment in 1995. the house took an important step forward last week in updating the policies and procedures by passing each razz 630.
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this resolution requires all house members including paid or unpaid interns inng detail use o complete anti- harassment and anti- discoloration training each year, as well as required all house officers to post notices of employee rights and protections under the congressional credibility act. the logical next step is to conduct a closer review of the congressional credibility act to identify and evaluate what reforms are needed to ensure that we are protecting all congressional employees in the workplaces.ea this hearing plays an important role in our committee's extensive review and the insight from our witnesses today will help inform us and help us make those policy choices and i want to take this opportunity to take our speaker paul ryan for tasking our committee with this important issue. i would also like to thank the
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ranking member forin his commite to this issue and having the house work in a bipartisan manner not only is it essential but it's what people expect. i look forward to hearing each ofit our witnesses today and wih that all yield to the ranking member. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for calling this hearing today. thank you for the bipartisan manner in which you are pressing the issue. i also want to thank our witnesses especially from o houe appointment and the members of compliance and i paid the professionalism and nonpartisan way you approach your jobs and thank you for being here for a second time. the congressional credibility act needs to be reformed. since our last hearing i met with my colleagues and experts to better understand how we can improve this legislation but most importantly, i met with survivors of the sexual harassment and assault.e we need to improve this process the most importantly we need to change the culture of this place
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and that change will start with us. i hope this helps us find agreement onhe what we must do d help us better understand how we can inform the congressional accountability act and give us more confidence in the process and justice fornc the terrible experience they have endured. we owe it to our employees and the american people to get it right. i look forward to hearing from our witnesses and i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you, mr. brady. does any other member wish to be recognized for purposes of opening statement and chair will now recognize the gentle lady from virginia for purposes of an opening statement. >> i thank you mr. chairman. i appreciate your leadership and ranking member brady and the bipartisan camera nature with which were approaching this and i do really believe this is a watershed moment and we need to take this opportunity to fundamentally change how we address this in congress but also beyond.
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i think my colleagues who are also joining us today and i believe the chairman of the ethics committee will t be joing us, too. thirtyte years ago a young woman was the first victim of sexual harassment brought this forward, highlighted this issue against the member of congress and prevailed in herhe case. she is here today and i wanted to welcome her and once again thank her for her courage and her perseverance and how grateful she handed a terribly difficult situation and i i thik it is important that now even though it's far too long and it shouldn't have been this long that we do right by her and by the other people who are the people behind many of the headlines that we are seeing right now. we see often the offenders and certainly we want to know about
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sexual predators because we know sexual predators across all party lines or and actions transcend party labels but we wantth to make sure that the victims are but first and foremost here and that we provide an advocate for them whether it's counsel or some type of level playing field so the victim feel we are protecting them but more importantly that wepr actually e and make this much more their system. also in that arena how we address the nondisclosure agreements. we know the nondisclosure agreements are often preventing us from knowing what is going on and whether it is allowing people in thehe past and in congress to come forward without any fear of violating their nondisclosure agreement or how we address it in the public sector in general and other legislation on that front, too. that's an important issue that we need to address going forward.
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thank you for the opportunity here to have these and those particularly in the eeoc who did report last year which i found helpful in terms of talking of changing the culture and how we do that by permeating from the top down and the bottom up and this needs to be something where were all engaged and involved. thank you for the opportunity to address this important issue. >> gentle lady yields back. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from maryland for the purpose of an opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you both for completing this important hearing and i want to thank our colleagues representative spear who has been in the forefront of the new changes that we are making. i think also representative brooks is on the way.
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we are in the middle, mr. chairman, of aac dramatic cultue shift that is a tribute to the women's movement in the united states and also to the strong political democracy that it is part of here in our country. the public uproar over sexual harassment and sexual assault began in other places and it has rocketed across america and came to the halls of congress and in this shaken this institution to the core. i am pleased that this is a moment when we are restating our common bipartisan commitment to zero-tolerance for sexual harassment into a safe and dignified workplace for those from to serve congress and we do this on a bipartisan basis and utan institutional basis and that's the value being vindicated and this is a culture shift much like one congress has gone before and it used to be
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and they used to take them out to dinner and tennessee traps and then there was a public uproar and a scandal and a rule was passed that banned it and now it is something noble in this culture. it used to be the members of congress could pocket money from the campaign fund when they were tired and there was a scandal, public uproar, a rule against it and it something about anyone to do that today. we simply need to make sexual harassment something that is unthinkable. it just wouldn't be done. within these holes. that is thels value and i think everyone agrees with it but what we need is a process that implements that value in the double is in the details. we need rules that will strongly deter sexual harassment and we need a process in place that will simply and in address the situation for the victims and get to the packs that are controverted until we can move
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to a time when sexual harassment is no more in this body but i'm glad we are all part of this and were going through this process which is some painful but we have to leave it behind the way we address other sorted practices behind. i'm proud that the house is playing a leadership role that we havee so many colleagues who join us in that product. i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. anyone else have an opening statement in the chair now recognizes this spear for the opening statement. >> chairman, thank you. i applaud your efforts in the bipartisanff manner in which wee undertaken this issue to ranking member brady and to the colleague ms. comstock and to my colleague mr. byrne. i think we are at a watershed moment, as youss said mr.
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chairman, i been working on this issue for a very long time and long i came to congress as a matter of fact. in 19 in the mid- 19 '90s i was chair of women's caucus and we had a hearing on this issue and we brought in doctor francis connolly who was the first tenured nurse surgeon in the united states and she was professor at stanford university. she wrote a book called walking out on the boys and talked about the horrific environment in which she had to work as a professional in academia and as a medical professional. of course, anita hill hearings of 1992 was also a watershed issue and time when it was called the year of the woman well, it was one year and frankly, that was not enough. what we have experienced over the last many decades is that
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there has been a return to the status quo which is woefully unacceptable. we all recognize now the office of compliance is mandated to do things that really hurt the victims. it's not they do it by choice because that is how it is mandated in the congressional credibility act. hr 4396 which some of you have cosponsored and now has over 110 cosponsors with republicans and democrats alike is the #metoo which attempts to view the job as performing theou office of compliance and iut don't think t goes far enough. as we continue to talk about this issue i think we need to recognize that probably the house ethics committee or the house administration committee is not the venue to which investigations should be sent when a complaint is filed about sexual harassment. there needs to be an independent
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investigation. some have said how i about the e process and i would say there is to process here and if we allow this independent agencyll or entity to do the review and make a recommendation to the house that would provide it. i do think that we have to recognize that behavior like this is normally not just one incident. normally, it's a pattern of behavior. i think we have to make sure that however we move forward thate we are victim centric. we have to recognize that many of these victims, one of whom sat in my office crying, said to me going through this process was worse than the sexual harassment it's a. shame on us for not having address this sooner but i want us to remember a young woman came to this building who worked
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in a number of offices and it was in her second office where she became or where she filed the complaint for sexual harassment. she is no longer here and her career was over. she was told her career would be over if she filed the complaint and she has not worked since. we've got to make sure that the victims have the opportunity to stay here and work. they have a right to be able to work in these hollow halls. just because they were taught by a colleague of ours or by a staff member is not a reason to then, if they file a complaint, to ostracize them. as we talk about this i hope that we will redouble our efforts to make sure that we are protecting the victims and that we are making sure there is a soft landing for them so they
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can continue to pursue a career in public service with that, i yield back. >> gentle lady yields back in the chair will now recommends the gentleman from south carolina for an opening statement. >> thank you chairman. i appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this committee and i think it's becausepo much that you have been chosen to handle a sensitive but very important matter. ... any other person wishing to be recognized for the purpose of an opening statement cracks i would like to introduce our witnesses. purse, victoria was appointed as
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acting chair of the equal employment opportunity by president trump january 25, 2017 before becoming the acting chair she served as the commissioner and has extensive experience working with federal labor and employment laws, holding positions such as us assistant secretary level for employment standards and work force policy council into the committee on education in the workforce of us house of representatives. of the chair has also worked in the private sector as counsel to the firm in its washington dc office and we welcome you. i would also like to introduce susan swede krugman. ms. grubman serves as chief operating officer for the office of compliance which was
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established to ensure the integrity of the progress-- progression of cambodia act of 1995 through programs of dispute resolution, education and enforcement. ms. grubman also works with the office of appliances board of directors to advise congress are needed changes and amendments to the congressional account ability acts took previously she served as the chairman of the us merit system protection board enforcing federal merit systems in the executive branch and was confirmed to that position by the u.s. senate in 2009. she has more than 20 years of professional experience in litigation and in advising and educating clients and labor and employment matters. she began her legal career as a law clerk to the judges of the 19th judicial circuit of virginia. welcome. of ms. gloria currently serves as counsel to the office of house employment and prior to
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serving as counsel she was a corporate attorney handling employment law issues in litigation for large telecommunications company and served as assistant corporation counsel representing the district of columbia and civil litigation. as a special assistant united states attorney for the district of columbia handling criminal prosecutions and as an attorney for the equal employment opportunity commission. we welcome you. served as counsel to the firm in the washington dc office since 2008 and prior to joining kl legates for five years he was chief government affairs officer at the investment company institute national association of mutual fund industry and previously mr. crowley was vice president and managing director -- director of the office of government direct relation in stock market inc. mr. crowley's earlier employment includes counsel to this committee, committee on house
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administration and the committee on house oversight and the office of speaker newt gingrich and we welcome you, mr. crowley. of the committee has received each other and testimonies and you will each now have five minutes to present a summary of the submission. most of you have testified before or see that, so you have a clock in front of youwe to hep you keep up with your time when you have gone it will be green for four minutes and yellow for the last minute and yet read major time has expired. the chair recognizes our witnesses for purposes of the opening statement . thank you-- think all four of you for being here today. >> thank you so much. good morning and thank you for the opportunity to testify today about a subject that for weeks now has consumed headlines on the sexual harassment and surly something we at eeoc have known
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to be far too common which is only now fully brought into the light. since early october when news of what was then known as the weinstein kit scandal broke the issue of sexual harassment has dominated nations-- nations conversation and i'm pleased to add my voice. by way of introduction as the chairman said i and the acting chair of the us england: opportunity commission and served as a commissioner for the last seven and half years and when president trump designated me acting chair in january of this year. when i first joined in 2010 i was struck by the number of harassment complaints the agency would see every year, the cases we would litigate and that egregious behaviors we were addressing on behalf of victims of harassment. i had a conversation with our then share the late jackie barrie and who asked to dig deeper into the issue.
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i spoke with everyone in the district directors around the country and each of our regional attorneys and was astonished and also deeply concerned that to a person i was told the same thing , the eeoc could if they wanted to have a dockets consisting of nothing but it's harassment cases generally and sexual harassment cases specifically. of this fact and concern on a leadership level with the persistence and pervasiveness of the mclean we at eeoc continued to see lead to the establishment of a select task force on the study have harassment in the workplace with an outside group of experts convened following a public commission meeting on harassment january, 2015. i was honored to cochair the past horse alongside my democratic colleagues who joins me in the hearing room today. of the goal of creating the task force was to see if we could find new innovative ways to address workplace harassment. we wanted to speak to and reinforce the work of prevention
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not just address as employers-- enforcement agency and liability issues. the task force included members of both management and plaintiff bar, organize later and trade association. academics including social sciences and worker advocates. our work concluded june, 2016 with release of the final cochairs report almost 30 years to the day after the united states supreme court handed down its landmark decision. which it held for the first time sexual harassment was a form of unlawful sex discrimination and to go in number of top line lessons learned through the study of the task force that i would take this opportunity to share. purse, workplace harassment remains a persistent problem with almost fully one third of the approximately 90000 charges received by the eeoc in fiscal year 2015 included an allegation of harassment including charges
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of harassment on the basis of sex, race, disability, age, ethnicity, color and religion in second workplace harassment particularly sexual harassment, too often goes unreported. in fact the least common response to harassment is for an employee to take some formal action either to report the harassment internally or file a formal legal complaint including not hor harassing behavior becae they feared disbelief or action on their claim or social or professional retaliation. third, unaffected anti- harassment effort must start at the top and leadership and accountability are crucial. this cannot be overstated. effective prevention efforts and workplace culture in which harassment is not tolerated must start at the highest level of management and an organization must have systems in place that hold employees accountable for expectations. finally, training must it
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change. most-- much of the training data the last 30 years has not worked as a prevention toolea. it's been too focused on avoiding legal liability. we believe effective training can reduce workplace or estimate, but even that cannot occur in a vacuum. it must be part of a holistic culture of not harassment and one size does not fit all. training is most effective when tailored to the specific workplace into different cohorts of employees. i understand the committee is contemplating changes to procedures designed to address workplace harassment in the legislative branch and i'm happy to offer my thoughts on these proposals in the interest of giving the committee full background of the written testimony includes a lengthy discussion of eeoc with respect to discrimination charges in the private and federal sectors and would commend the commission-- to the committee promising practice for preventing workplace harassmentng that the eeoc recently published on our website and have been provided
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to committee staff and in closing i reiterate a key finding of our task force report , no system of training, monitoring or recording is likely to succeed in preventing harassment in the absence of genuine and public buy-in from the very top level of an organization. we can and must do better in all of our workplaces and i'm pleased to answer any questions you may have-- you said i'm a former hud staff for myself and familiar with working in the legislative branch. thank you. >> thank you. the chair will now recognize ms. grubman for the purposes of her opening statement. you are recognized for five minutes scenic good morning. on behalf of the office of compliance and our entire board of directors who join me today thank you for the opportunity to discuss our process and are concerned. we support and command the
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efforts of this committee and the members of congress from mandating workplace rights training for everyone and notice postings of those rights. over the last six weeks we've seen a triple digit percentage increase in the number of request for in person sexual harassment prevention training, a triple digit percentage increase in the number of staffers enrolling in our online training module with twice as many visits to our online information of how to report sexual harassment and a 12% surge in the number of people subscribing to our social media platform who receive updates on rights of protection and i'm happy to report that posters notifying employees of their rights are flying off of our shelf with reorders arriving late last week. these numbers tell us something. at a mean people are finally taking seriously the problem about which of sounding the alarm and proactively working to combat for years to the outreach
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and education program. however, mandatory training and posters are the floor, not the ceiling and even though the chair knows in her statement that the training in the last 30 years has not worked as a prevention tool, we have over 20 years of nonmandatory training and here we are today. to reach the ceiling not only should our process change which we hope to discuss today c, buts the chairman noted previously publicly and forcefully that the culture must changet and that cultural shift includes not just changes to the processhi, but a shift of a policy, sexual harassment prevention policy that is currently not mandated under the law. about policy should include examples of what constitutes harassment, reporting
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procedures, standards of pot-- conduct and accountability. in this discussion is proof the members of this committee in this watershed moments are validating and focusing on an issue and validating our efforts to help build a strong culture of collegial respect. let me notes media reports have pro trade as is opaque, shrouded in secrecy and while we understand that these comments are directed at our process and not to us as individuals these comments nonetheless solely the reputations of the 20 women and men who faithfully report to our offers everyday for work including our occupational health and safety inspectors who examined the capitol grounds for hazards and public access including our deputy executive director who trains 500 people in person of the last six weeks and not all at oncehe, but in os
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and twos and attends and including our only alternative dispute resolution counselor whs meets with employees at the beginning of the process to hear their stories, to comfort them in their distress. this is the process that congress designed in 1995, a process that not only demands confidentiality, but strict confidentiality under the lawid. a system we have been passed to administer which congress now seeks to change and a change we welcome and we hope to play an integral role. many call this a moment of reckoning. we call it a moment of clarity clarity with respect to not what we do, but what we do under the congressional accountability act-- you deliberate we ask that you bear in mind that this is a new day, not just for congress, the changes you propose apply
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the-- beyond the halls of congress and to the legislative community our office stands ready and we will roll up our sleeves to assist-- assist in the work ahead see that thank you for your testimony and we look forward to asking questions as soon and we will now recognize counsel for the office of health employment council. welcome stephen good morning. i want to thank the committee on health administration for inviting me for a second time to get a testimony on the issue of preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. this testimony will supplement the written testimony isolated to the the committee earlier this week. i want to start by referring to an opinion piece i read on the cover of the "washington post" yesterday. it was entitled: i was sexually harassed, question my story.
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it was written by a woman and in the article she tells her story of how she was sexually harassed and goes on to say question my story because we need to examine our views about sexual harassment and misconduct and she said by their nature harassment complaints are characterized it by gray areas and p witnesses. victims and perpetrators are both synthetic. i thought it was important to read her languagean because it captures better than i ever could the challenges my office faces in our role as counsel for the office of these issues and i read her words to mean there has to be discussion and understanding around these issueses and when i say these issues, i mean, allegations of discrimination, sexual harassment is a form of unlawful discrimination like discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, age and disability. i also read her words to mean that automatically characterizing any questions
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about the basis of sexual harassment allegations as victim blaming is counterproductive to routine out sexual harassment and i agree. part of the role of my office is to question employee claims of dissemination including sexual harassment and to do so is not victim blaming. on a personal noteno, like most women in this country, i have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. it occurred during the early part of my employment in my way of dealing with it was to leave a job i liked. is a woman of color, i have also experienced graced his commission in the workplace. i worked for a private company where a white manager brought in a whip which he prominently displayed in his office and when questioned he said he wanted to quote unquote motivate the black employees. i believe these and other experiences have made me more sensitive to allegations of discrimination, not less and i am probably a better lawyer for because i understand the
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perspective of both the employee and the employer i also try to lead by example at that-- as the head of my office. posing difficult and challenging questions to employees most often through their lawyers is necessaryof to assess whether sexual harassment has occurred and correcting any inappropriate behavior. on the other side of that equation when we are contacted of these issues, which unfortunately does not happen in all instances and our clients tell us they have done absolutely nothing wrong, we question that also. we are not in the business of covering up unlawful behavior, but rather we examine those gray areas i mentioned earlier by conducting thorough investigations and working with our clients to figure out how to address the concerns both legally and practically. of the congressional workplace is a microcosm and in many ways reflects workplaces across america.
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yes, sexual harassment occurs in congress like other workpieces. while the more serious allegation of sexual harassment and borderline criminal behavior in some instances tends to receive the most attention from the media, those types of allegations are not the normal on capitol hill and not in my office of experience and i recognize this behavior does go in-- unreported and that may account for some of that. i went to answer the question of what has worked to address the concern about sexual harassment. i wish there was an easyh answe, but there is not. although it is not a panacea, i believe mandatory in person training is helpful. i have tried quite a few members on this issue lately and the response has been encouraging. i'm hopeful the training has meant members are talking directly with their employees and telling them they should come forward with concerns without fear of retaliation. employees
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won't always believe it, but this is a positive step and might help to change the perception held by some h that these issues should not be reported. training does work effectively, but does work when members schedule it around or near both and while i'm convinced no amount of training will fix agree just comments, that would require other mechanisms of accountability and again it's a step in the right direction. in closing, i want to thank the committee again and i welcome your questions. >> thank you. the chair will now mechanize dana crowley for five minutes for purposes of an opening. >> thank you. thank you for the opportunity to testify today. my name is dan crowley a partner at the law form of cayenne allocatess and i know at the outset my comments are my own and don't represent the views of the firmrm my colleagues or any
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firm clients. i had the privilege of serving as counsel to the committee under congressman bill thomas from march 91 through early 1998 , a. that straddled the republican revolution of 1994p reduction of rational accountable the act was the first law enacted by the new republican congress in 1995. however, it's important to note these are not fundamentally partisan issues, rather institutional in nature. in fact the committee's consideration of this legislation began under the previous democratic majority. the basic principles that in the past guided the committee in this area are number one if a law's right for the private sector it's right for congress number two, congress will write better laws than it has to live by the same laws it imposes on the private sector and executive branch and the separation of powers embodied in the constitution must be respected. the challenge faced by the committee more than two decades ago was to reconcile these principles.
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at that time it without the procedures established to provide a means for eight addressing grievances by employees must take into considerationgr that in a congressional context allegations can be career ending even if they subsequently proved to be untrue. the key constitutional provision and issue isen the debate clause which is repeatedly been interpreted by the us supreme court as providing community for members of congress for not only future debate, but other matters the constitution places within the jurisdiction of either house moreover, lower courts have ruled the future debate clause immunity attaches to employment decisions by members in certain circumstances. against this constitutional backdrop the committee sought to establish a procedure to address violations of the federal labor and employment lost by members of congress. towards that end, the caa provided for the creation of the office of compliance within the
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legislative branch and charged it with responsibility for promulgating implementing regulations, conducting studies and importantly carrying out a program for educating employee authority. perhaps the most significant provisions in the caa provide for a ride of limited judicial review. however the caa was carefully crafted to avoid waiver of the speech or debate clause immunity. for example section 502 provides it shall not be a violation of any employment discrimination provision to consider the party affiliation domicile or political compatibility with the employing office. in other words, such factors provide affirmative defense to allegations of discrimination. as described in the committee report, b this provision and the exemptions listed therein recognizing the special nature of employment in congress by allowing member offices as well as committee and leadership offices to incorporate these three factors in employment decisions without presidents to
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the legality of such decisions. here the political compatibility exemptions while subject to broad interpretation is intended to provide members, committee offices and leadership offices with more flexibility than is available under the party affiliation and domicile exemptions. the jurors prudent since enactment of the caa makes clear employment cases in which future debate clause immunity is asserted it will be up to the courts to determine whether the privilege applies on a case-by-case basis. i noted notwithstanding the caa the committee on ethics has broad discretion and discipline members for violating standards of official conduct which may provide another meaning full avenue to explore is the meaning -- committee looks for conclusions. the congressional accountable the act of 1995 is legislation that attempted to reconcile member intent to subject themselves to the same law they impose on others consistent with the legitimate constitutional protections afforded by the
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debate clause. up to more than decades, its import to review the caa as well as the standards of official conduct to determine whether updates are necessary or appropriate. these are complicated issues that remain difficult to resolve their combat said the steps the committee took more than two decades ago in that you now have experts including my fellow panelists who are available to ensure employment is appropriately advise and finally i believe today as they did then that a commitment to taking prompt corrective action up to and including termination must be unequivocal. thank you again for inviting me to testify today and i would be happy to respond to any questions you may have. >> thank you mr. crowley. we now had time for committee members to ask questions of the witnesses and each member will be allotted by that minutes to question a witness or witnessesi and i will now recognize myself for five minutes. i will start, if i may with you.
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certainly appreciate you being here today in the work you have done in this area of sexual harassment, anti- harassment generally. i want to focus on your work as cochair of the select pass force on the study of harassment in the workplace or at the eeoc has created a document titled promising practices for preventing harassment identifying five core principles around which prudent practices are identified. can you give us some insight as to what practices would constitute w an effective sexual harassment education program and in your opinion what have you seen that works or doesn't work? >> >> i would tell you, mr. chairman that promising practices are on our website and
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completely derived from our task force report and recommendation that we have made in the task force report, so there are five core principleson that we think are important for preventing harassment took again, our task force focused on prevention and are very first meeting of the task force we all agreed that we all know what is legally actionable harassment and that's not working as a prevention toon , so we focused on five things and one is there has to be committed and engage leadership. there has to be consistent and demonstrated accountability within an organization. there has to be strong and compress of harassment policies in place. trusted and assessable complaint procedures and i would emphasize trusted procedures and regular and interactive training tailored to the audience and organization. as i said earlier, we were very
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critical of training, much of the training that has taken place and developed over the last 30 years as a prevention tool, but we do not by any means reject training as a tool. we believe training is absolutely necessary and what was referred to in particular when she said in person training can make a big difference, so we have a number of recommendations that training. it has to be customized to a particular workplace, leadership of the organization has to show up for it and to demonstrate they are interested. it has to give examples to that particular workplace and it is very important in training that individuals in the workplace focus on training not even so much as what is harassment and what is it, what are the procedures by which people can reports, they know who to go to.
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they know what the consequences will be, what will happen. that's an important component of the training as well . >> so, this will be-- not be as effective unless the person at the top says this is going to be the way it will be? >> yes and i have spoken on this in many places you often times here in this seeker outside counsel who are called in to do training and the head of the business unit or organization will show up for the very beginning of the training and say i want you all to pay attention and then leaveto. so, the leadership of the organization has to be as committed to it and as engaged in that training and sends the message to the individuals who are receiving that training. >> thank you very much. if i could now, i would like to ask you a couple of questions in the time i have left. would you describe the role in
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the counseling and mediation phases and in specifically is it retained by an employee office when counseling is initiated or when mediation begins or is it already have an attorney-client relationship prior to being notified of a claim? >> i will give you a blearily response and that is, it depends. in many instances we will know when a complaint is coming down the pike and that is because the employment k office has contactd us and there's been an employee who is dissatisfied with something going on in the workplace could they have attached it to a discriminatory mode and we work with the office to try tot address the situatio. sometimes an employee will have employment performance issue and they been put in. performance improvement plan that has not worked out. the employee is terminated so we
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work with the office through that process and anticipate what-- when the employee loses his or her job they will go through the office of the compliance. we anticipate that and don't know when someone has gone to the office initially for the counseling because that is confidential unless the employee waives it. when mediation is requested, then we would be notified automatically. again, we might know about that ahead of time that is coming down the pike or for the first time when we get the notice of mediation. at the mediation phase we represent the office and attempt to resolve the matter at that point. >> thank you very much. my time has expired and the chair will recognize mr. brady for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. howll the cases you handle much of your work is focused on sexual harassment? >> i anticipated that question and i have a list here in terms
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of the number of cases in the categories in which they occur. we typically see mostly retaliation cases because when employees file claims they always-- well, they routinely include retaliation claim followed by retaliation is the americans with disabilities act claim, race claim, fair labor standards act claim, age, family and medical leave and sex discrimination of a gender discrimination cases come in at about the same rate followed by sexual harassment claims, pregnancy claims, national origin and military discrimination claims come in at about the same rate and then finally claims based on color. >> do you support eliminating the period? >> i don't have a strong position on that one way or the other. my only caution about eliminating that 30 day.
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back is that often times we do settle cases during that time, so it would take away another opportunityld to possibly resole a case before a party goes directly into litigation. >> in your advocacy for employment officeses, do you fit just your engagement that you are engaged with changes office behavior in the future? >> i think it is difficult for us to knowut to a certainty whether that is happening, but it's been reported that when there has been an incident of some kind or some allegation of discrimination and an office speaks with us and tries to take appropriate action we do action items, after action items with the office that might involve training for a particular individual ticket might involve
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training for the entire staff. it might mean in some instances that they have written policies so it might mean sitting with them, adopting policies, rolling policies out with the employees and having conversations going forward, so do you think there is a lot of positive that comes out of some of these situations. >> thank you. mr. crawley, thank you for your service on the committee and i understand you work with my former counsel charlie how who was very gifted in trashing the caa. why did congress exclude the library of congresss from some f these protections? was that a mistake that should be fixed and should include down the library of congress? >> i have to tell you that my recollection of these issues is now 22 years old and so i don't remember every discussion we
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had. >> i can appreciate that, sir. >> i recall a number of conversations involving the library whether the police force ought to be unified, but don't remember the specific discussion about the library. although, think the answer mighn begin i defer to my colleagues that they were already covered tracert extends under federal law if i'm not mistaken. >> yes. >> perhaps i can provide some insight. the library of congress does have its internal personnel , but that is a system that's entirely internal. dated-- there is a hearing process in the library of congress, but it's really-- merely a recommended decision and must be forwarded to the library and where she can eitheo accept or reject that decision. >> do you think we should include the library of congress in this ongoing hearing and discussionon and maybe for maybelle? >> we do. >> thank you.
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in june 16, report you write about risk factors in the workforce and many-- congress is obviously a dramatic example of both risk factors. we passed a resolution focused on training recently, but no one believes trading is enough b and this is about improving laws and that's important, but it's also not enough. we need to change the culture, so based upon your experience beyond providing changes what can we do to change the culture claimant thank you mr. brady c. one important point i think the committee should consider as you look to to clearly at revising that congressional accountability act and i would look to the testimony from congress milliman from your november hearing. there is a difference between
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what immediate actions have to be taken when someone is concerned and complains that they are sexually harassed versus what is all of the process that the office of compliance deals with in-house employment counsel when you are looking topl come is their liability, so as the representative said you have to be concerned about what's the capacity to the person who has complained about it when she still sitting there in that workplace, so i would urge you to bifurcate your thinking on thatand understand that immediate action in that investigation that has to take place, which i think the house employment counsel i understand from testimony does a lot of that, you should consider how detailed can you be and how can you instructs your work environment as to how you want
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to deal with those immediate issues of harassment. think of harassment claims different from other types of discrimination claims. . it's one thing to allege you did not get promoted to a particular job in an office because based on your sex and that's very different that a harassment complaint, harassment claim. so, the immediate investigation that has to take place which may be referred to the house employment counsel office or office of compliance does that. i would urge you to think about what is that process and what is that type of corrective actionn that is taken immediately. about again is very different from all of the other process that is in place that determines is their liability here, so that is one thing i would urge you to think about. overall, your focus is on culture, very much what our
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select task force spent a great deal of time on and there are a number of things that would influence the culture again, including what is the message sent from the top and is the leadership of the organization owning each individual workplace of course, workplaces in congress you have a lot of as you mention the number of risk factors with a lot of young people. you have people working in close quarters. you have people working very long hours. i think there is a that may be in one of the bills that you do a climate survey. those are things that you can also consider and make sure you review those things on a regular basis, but culture and the message that is sent from the leadership and the engagement
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within each individual office to address that's are very important factors and can do the most to act as a prevention tool >> thank you. i think the witnesses for being hereio. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you. the gentleman yields back in the chair will recognize the buys chair of the committee mr. davis for five minutes. >> think it mr. chairman and thank you to our panelists. f thank you all for your testimony i believe an important take away from our previous hearing is the need to become more familiar with policies and procedures, not only in the workings of both of your organizations, but help the ethics committee process works as well and i purge more outreach to the film in general so you have a sense of how best we can work together to serve and improve this great institution. i want to focus my questions on
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ms. grubman and i really want to focus on the outreach to the hill. your testimony discusses the need for new employees to receive training. how is the 00c currently reaching new employees with this information, we have a very unique mandate. we are compelled to trainre by e law and it's a very robust program which is-- for a small office that's administered largely by two people. as i stated in my opening statement, 500 people have been trained in person in the last six week with our online training module hasn't soared in recent times. here's an example. in september by people completed the online training module for sexual harassmentom prevention
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training and in october it was 618. in november, over 4800 people arriving just last week, so in addition to this type of training we are developing new training w. coming on december 10 is a new comprehensive online module that talks about anti- harassment, antidiscrimination, anti- retaliation and in production right now is an overview orientation of the congressional countable the act. we have a new module coming up as well a that will focus on how to report sexual harassment, how to respond to sexual harassment and behaviors that could lead to sexual harassment. let's talk about new employees. we don't know who these new employees are. we would love to be notified as to when new people are on board so we can communicate with them directly-- >> let me get this straight. there's no contact between our office, our payroll office here in the house of representatives
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in your office when a new employee comes on board claimant correct. >> you mentioned you want to reach not-- younger staffersyo peered do you see the younger staffers taking training modules that you just mentioned in the last few months or do you-- how are you going to reach of your staffers? >> we don't know exactly the age of the person taking the module. we just know that hits we receive. what we could explore doing and we could do it with this committee and members of this panel is a module designed specifically for new employees and younger employees. they faced different issues. >> i think it's a great points that there probably needs to be more communication between our office is run by the cao and the 00c to make sure modules are out there and training is in and i could it's important we developed training for senior managers because they will be the first ones on employee will
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go to to address the process and i think our senior managers need to know more about the process. we address that connectors a onule in place right now anti- harassment and anti- retaliation that meets the standards for managers in the senate's with a resolution that passed recently. >> in your testimony, you talked about how you hope that it-- hope to strengthen 00c tre and e look forward to working with you to do that. on to point out that the author of the congressional accountability act is in the audience today and thank you for your work on this congressman. i want to point out while i have some time left and i notice that we have with the annual report that will come out every couple years, there wasn't a lot of focus in the 2016 report on sexual harassment in the workplace and as we move forward i hope the ooc and those who
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make up the agency would help us help you identify how we can better serve the all of our employees at all levels and also understand how we can get anyone who may be a victim in front of you, in front of the office and on the path to get the problem rectified. i appreciate you being here. >> we couldn't agree with you more. >> thank you. i yield back steven gentleman yields back and we recognize the gentleman. >> thank you very much, chairman and went to begin with a question to ms. lin vick. less power and quality women have in the workplace the more vulnerable they are to sexual harassment. i think we have to think of it as a sign and a a cause of progress here that we have 84 women i think it is in the u.s. house today and 21 in the senate
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and one can only imagine the conditions of sexual harassment when it was virtually all mail. i saw an interesting comments who's known as a class bias in the sexual harassment discussions with them focused on with lots of women in professional jobs and she said people are not talking about hotel workers, farmworkers, the waitressesd who face rampant sexual harassment and i'm wondering, is there any can we can do that will benefit everyone if not in the same legislation necessarily, but policies that can make a change for people across society? >> thank you for that question. so, in our work we see harassment claims across industry, income level from the
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executive suite to the factory floor to the farmers fields. we have had horrendous cases of harassment for particularly vulnerable workers and that's part of the reason why when we put our task force together we included representatives from worker advocacy groups, so certainly things that are more outreach along those lines and recognize the work that advocacy-- worker advocacy groups can play and how individuals who are invulnerable work situations can go to those organizations and seek some redress. certainly, one thing to consider and this is something we have in the federal sector's is requirements that there are different-- information is provided in different languages, so you are reaching populations
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particularly for vulnerable workers who english may not be their first language and that may be one thing to consider it in terms of legislative changes, in terms of title vii, i'm not sure there is anything i could recommend right now and i would be happy to give more thought to it. >> we must pursue that. let me ask you, you began by mentioning the interesting article by a victim of sexual harassment and you invoked her description a great area and the lack ofnv third-party witnesses and so on and it brought to my attention scott fitzgerald saying the site a first-class intelligence is the ability to holdte contrary thoughts in your
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mind and still conduct yourself effectively and everyone agrees we need to zero tolerance and we also need a process that's there to the victims and the accused. the problem is people today think the process is so cumbersome and convoluted that its purpose is not to discover the truth, but somehow they are the truth or complicate the truth work that's at least a public perception and so what can we do to make sure we have a process a that is fair and perceived as fair and also moves things quickly enough so people see that we are taking the issue seriously? >> as i mentioned before when i was asked the question about the cooling-off period, i don't have a practical't reason to think that's not good idea. certainly, it will not change how we do business and so eliminating possibly that particular piece of the process might be helpfulcu.
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i do think-- and i know the office of compliance can speak more to this-- >> to be clear, you are saying we don't need the cooling-off period? >> from my perspective i don't think it's neededed. asth i said the one reservationi have is that it provides additional chance to resolve the matter before full-blown litigation begins. i think it's important to communicate to employees their rights. that's not my job and not our offices job and i know there have been over the years efforts by the office of compliance i remember when i first started we would get paychecks and there would be computer-- communication about our rights under the congressional account ability act, so more effort to train employees and make them aware of their rights and ongoing communication i think
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would be helpful. i have to say the plaintiffs are savvy about these rules and typically employees don't have problems getting attorneys to represent them. most of the concern i've heard is that the process is lengthy, so eliminating the cooling-off period would be helpful. >> thank you, mr. chair. >> the chair recognizes the gentle lady from virginia for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. -- has one ofus on the best prevention methods which is the trusted complaint procedures. we have the procedure by law you are required to have, so i appreciate that you laid out dealing with both sides, but we have been talking about a number of us talking about having some type of victims advocate, as separate person for the victim whether it's an advocate, victims counsel here would not
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help if we had someone where the victim and even if they've had the training when you are in that situation, i mean, we have special people for rape victims and you are walked through the process at that point when you are in crisis, so if we could have someone they could go to in that situation, within this that improve the whole dynamic of that experience of the victim putting them on a level playing field and helping them through this process? >> i think that's a very valuable suggestion and one thing i would tell you is that when we were doing the work on the task force we actually invited people from the pentagon, from the defense department because of what they have been dealing with for the last 14 yearsrs, their own internal procedures as to sexual assault the military and so having adu victims advocate is
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something i know that they set up there and i would urge you to maybe consults with the generals there who have been dealing with that and they would have more experience with that, but that's something i think you are focused on that addressing the immediate situation and for the person, what can help them in that immediate situation. how will-- how they know what's going to happen and what is the corrective action taken immediately needs to be a big focus. >> thank you. i know in congresswoman spears legislation and i do want to thank her again because when i asked her with her situation what we could have done that would help accounts on advocate was the single thing she identified that i do think it's
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just thinking about that experience i could it's important i we get that into legislation. then also have it be viewed through the training also. perhaps on the training paul-- process come also, when someone sets up a house account and they are new employee maybe we can have more socialization in getting the recommendation to them in multiple methods for not just a class you go to, but let's make sure we get more information out that i wanted, with the office of compliance i know you continue to go to the records and to give us the information on the overall cases and i think you went through the type of cases you are getting, but given the public's concern in the public's right to know about what type of cases you are dealing with and particularly when members are
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involved or member staff, do you estimate you will have that information soon so that we can have that available to the public and whatever legal way you are led to havel with much more detailed accounting? >> let me address the victims counsel specifically because it was part of our statement. we understand that during the counseling which stage and certainly in the mediation stage when the office is represented that the victim feels entirely alone and is at a disadvantage, so what we do is get-- beef up the counseling stage so they deal with technical advice and drafting the complaint coupled with investigatory authority and immediately investigating the claims as it emerges can be a form of advocacy on the half of employee, but in response to your question it dovetails into ms. brooks request to us regarding the ethics.
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we provided a response is morning to the law as it is currently written is difficult for us to produce this kind of information because we know through counseling iss strict confidentiality and that binds our office from discussing it, the employee offices is not told in mediation there is also strict confidentiality and that specifically adheres to the products and materials produced in mediation and that's again strict the confidential, but it's not unusual in our process. mediation is private throughout the industry. power loss of specifically require terms of producing information in the rules ' numbers and types of inquiries that come to our office, number and type of initial requests for counseling, numbers of covered
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employees through the complaints they pilee, the claims they raie and position of those claims. in terms of disclosure to ethics to our knowledge are not received any requests until this recent one so we appreciate the concern. the laws currently written and only allows us to disclose this information in a very narrow circumstance. under two conditions, when the case reaches a final decision and the employee is consultedoy, some in the events-- cannot release document's with respect counseling, mediation where there's a final decision and when the employee has not been consulted. having said that, we would like to work with this committee to change that rule and the potential change goes towards granting us the authority to
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investigate claims. if the general council granted that authority would be similar to what we have an ada and osha. the general counsel at that point could find if there is reason to believe the law and violate a report can be generated in that report could be made available to you. >> okay. mr. chairman, i hope we can get much more detailed information if we need to make changes to allow you to do that because if we are going to correct the process we need to know what's happened, where the complaints have been. i know the committee got a report november 28, a memo detailing 1997 to 2007, where laid out 90% of the cases were with architect and capitol police with a lot of safety pins, but i think we need to know, what are the type of cases and then when a member or member offices are involved and how we do that going forward, but i think the public has a right too know that going back and
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certainly going forward how we can improve that transparency, so i hope you can work with us on that in getting more detail. >> understood a scenic gentle lady yields back in the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from california. >> thank you and my apologies for being tardy. the fbi director is a mega judiciary committee and i had to be there for a bit and i think my colleague has the same conflict. this obviously is a very serious matter for us and we are, i think, very clearly going to change the procedures and statues we haves, so the questin is how to do that, how to avoid pitfalls and one of the things that i'm interested in is the recommendation that you have made ms. goodman on the additional powers through the general counsel that you just referenced, specifically how the
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council would use those investigative powers to get to the facts of the matter that you currently cannot do. what conflicts might exist if that were assigned to you and can be more fully slain that to us? >>r r absolutely. rather than reinventing the wheel we propose to use the internal mechanisms we currently have and the general counsel as you state does have investigatory authority in certain areas such as osha and 88. how that really works is a claim can be filed anonymously, which is unusual. is not the same in the labor forum, but in the current practice it would be we would work with the employing office and that's not going to work in this circumstances, but in the investigation it's a move towards resolution t because in osha cases an ada there's a lot of dollars involved, so significant amountss of
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negotiation and discussion. if the matter is not resolved, it could result in the filing of a complaint by the general counsel and the general counsele actually represents the employee in this case and moving the case forward. that's the process we envision putting into effect. the reports are not made public and they are given to the party that can control the outcome, fix the outcome if you will. so, the process is in place. .-dot concern we have is the lack of staffing. we don't know how great the volume will be. >> of the course. one of the things that i think we want more transparency on some of this and the issue, i mean, if you have an employee, employer employee dispute, for example, under the act to be
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adopted in 1995, certain employees are exempt from overtime and a certain employees are not just as in the private sector work you could have a adisputes about that category d a fight about overtype. i don't know that that needs to have the same level of disclosure as a sexual harassment. we want to stop the bad out and part of the way to do that is to have some daylight on this process, so one of the things i've been thinking a lot about and certainly my colleague ms. spirit has done work on this bill, but it's beginning point how do we make this transparent in a way that protects the victims who want to maintain their privacy, but some of victims are bullied into a confidential agreement, so i'm just wondering in terms of what
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other people in the office where there's sexual harassment, what they are-- what their role is, what their obligation is and are they constrained by these agreements that are being undertaken right now? >> part of our training does in the future-- coming soon, will cover bystander straining-- training specifically how people view this activity and i think that is something representative spears previously mentioned. it's a hard area for us to deal in the confidentiality currently in rule prohibiting us from having a conversation. >> but, we can change those rules. >> let me urge this committee as you go about changing those rules one of the communities you need to reach out to-- >> we are doing thatav. >> let me also talk a t bit abot what we hear with nondisclosure. it's a confusing area, but we have a simple answer.
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we don't require nondisclosure agreements. is the product of the parties. we don't't provide standardized language and we don't require anyone to sign a nondisclosure agreement. >> all right. that is important, but certainly the inherent power differential between saying member of congress and a staffer who's been harassed is pretty extreme and i think i read an article recently about a young woman who stepped forward and has never been able to be employed again even though she did the right thing, so certainly we need to get our heads about how to protect victims even beyond a settlement's agreements and i see my time has expired. thank you for your testimony. >> gentle lady yields back in the chair recognizes the gelatin
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from north carolina. >> r i would like to thank you r leadership not just on the committee, but the example you set in our conference. i have a couple questions for mr. crowley. it's come to our attention federal agencies are required to reimburse this judgment fund for judgments against agencies and settlements for discrimination in the workplace yet there is no comparable requirement for congress, so when we talk about liability, what discussions were held prior to or during consideration of the congressional account ability act regarding personal reliability for settlements and final judgments awarded under the caa? ..
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first of all, it's not the member, it's the employing office of the member. if a member leaves office, there would still be the ability to get restitution from the office after the fact. i think it would be aberrational to hold members personally responsible when in fact it's an employing office of the congress, for othe all other pue okay, you covered the second part of that question. let me then ask this. is there any provision in the congressional accountability act or house rulesru that would
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prohibit the use of the funds for settlement reached at any point during the dispute resolution. back i'm not sure there's a clear answer to that question. there is in the statute a limitation on what funds can be used to settle claims. of course members have broad discretion over the usese of the mra and i imagine in certain circumstances, particularly when part of the settlement involves reinstatement toem a position, that implicitly the mra would be used for. >> i can imagine that wasn't part of theant discussion with e authority that a member would have handyman going back to those years, the budgets for staffing were much higher than they even exist today. two weeks a settlement for conflict resolution where maybe an employee didn't fit, but the authority or the ability to cover-up such office behavior or wrongdoing harassment leaves a lot of discretion in the members hands. is that what you're telling me, there can be a separate
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settlement or payment outside the accountability act. >> i think members implicitly have that authority, but you have to remember, at the time, the mra didn't exist until bill thomas created it. before that we had the clerk higher allowance and a dozen different allowances that were consolidated with the intent of giving members discussion on how to deployy the resources to such an extent that th committee was renamed from the committee on house of ministration to the committee on house oversight to emphasize the fact that it was not going to be determined at the committee level but by the individual member. i think therehi is some conflict between the congressional accountability language and the inherent
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to settle sexual harassment claims clacks
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>> the chair will do recognize the gentleman from nebraska. >> thank you mr. chairman, to the witnesses and thank you for this interaction today among the members and certainly a very serious topic. it's interesting i appreciate my colleagues recommendation for a victims advocate. if each of you could express how that may be brought into the process and how you might take place so that if that is the decision to make changes if that would work and how that might work and if you could perhaps express your knowledge of how that has been done elsewhere and how effective it has been. >> what we propose is beefing up
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what we already have rather than throwing out what we have in creating a separate office. we could take the counselors position and make it a much more interactive process whereby they would help technically advised the employee on how to draft a charge or complaint coupled with using the general counsel and giving him the authority to investigate claims in the dispute resolution if the general counsel were to find a reasonable cause he would actually represent the employee in the further process >> i would have to think a little bit of more about how it would work in terms of a specific, but i can tell you it would likely be a welcome
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thing from my clients perspective in that i thinkct an advocate would encourage employees toou come forward sooner rather than later. that would be music to our ears certainly because the sooner an employer knows there's an issue, the sooner they can address it. it's not a good model when things have to go to the office for release. i think that absolutely could have some upside. >> thank you. >> mr. smith, all i would add, by the time people are coming to file a charge of discrimination, they are, at that point, we are investigating for liability purposes so there's no victim's advocacy role on theo part of the eec itself.
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>> you wish too? >> i think it's an interesting nidea, it's amazing to the extent of which the issues haven't fundamentally changed. the intent at the time was to create a process that would both encourage victims to come forwardwo and allow for resolution in a way that didn't incentivize politically charged claims immediately before an election.n.po anything consistent with those objectives, which it sounds like this might be, are seen as worth pursuing. >> okay, thank you. >> i yield back. >> the german yields back. the chair recognizesha you for five minutes. >> thank you for being here. of all the issues i ever thought i would be dealing with when i iran for congress, this is not one of them. in fact, it sickens me that the idea that the most respected legislative body in the world, the reputation as being tainted by this.
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it's disgusting but it's a extremely important. in reality, there is nothing we can do to affect someone's character, but we can remove the bushes that allow bad characters to hide behind and i think that's kind of the direction we are looking.e in your process you describe the process and make several recommendations but one area you didn't address is the work settlement fund. can you take us through your role in the payment process once the tentative settlement is reached our final judgment is received? >> absolutely. first of you will allow me too clarify. the statute prefers to funds that are appropriated by the treasury. in actuality, there is no fund. it is an account and that account is empty until we requisition the funds for a particular award or settlement. a also, to be clear about the settlement, the 17 million we talked about, yes it covers
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awards and settlement from ourur process but it also covers settlements and awards from court and arbitration process for collective bargaining agreements in the legislative community such as the architect of the capitol. >> and i asked one quick question will get back to us, it's a zero-dollar account. when something occurs like we are talking about here, where does the money come from? >> we actually requisition it.ut the account is empty until the settlement comes through and then we ask for the money so that the vehicle of the warrant which is familiar to this committee, our role in settlement is. purely minuscule. the parties determine and it's incumbent upon them to agree and upon them to secure the proper authority from this committee when settlements come out of the treasury for the house.
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should congress the desire to beef up our role, for instance by givingle us a greater review for legality of these decisions. we need, currently we don't have the authority. we only look whether it signed by the authorities and whether it's a written statement. >> can you walk me through this zero-dollar account, you receive notice of a settlement of x number of dollars, then you request through warrant that much money. can you start to walk us through that? let's take one step back. when the settlement is reached, the award comes to our office. we review it in writing and
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signed by the parties, and clarity. that settlement agreement goes to the case administrator. she obtains paymenttr information from the parties who will receive payment, routing information. then the document moves down the hall and goes toward budget officer. she requisitions the funds. this is the account were talking about. once the funds are there, the settlement agreement goes too. >> who did the funds come from. >> from treasury. >> thank you. >> sorry. >> than the f final step that we have in this process is the agreement goes to a fourth person to check that all the information is correct, the routing information and then the funds are released. at thatsre point, our involvemet and spread we do not determine when the person is paid, there could be an offset, but we are done with the process. >> is there any other process in there to where congress,
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anyone in congress is notified of a settlement and have to sign off on it or is it just within your office. >> other than rule ten, which governs this committee where the chairman and ranking member have to sign off on settlements back come out of this account. >> in that process, chairman and ranking member do sign off on that? >> that would be a good question for ms. lund. >> okay. i have a few moments left. could you answer that. >> the answer is yes. if there is a settlement that comes out of the treasury that has to be approved by this committee. >> okay. >> thank you. >> mr. chairman, i do have some other questions but i will yield back at this time. >> the german yields back to the chair recognizesk a miss sphere for five minutes. >> thank you. has been set a couple of times, i want to underscore the importance of having them appear before the committee.
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i'd like to hear how the process has or has not been working so we can refine it moving forward. to the last question, it was my understanding in one article that i read that the former chair of this committee, they declined to approve any sexual harassment cases and, as a result, the mra started to be used for that process. is that your recollection? >> that's not exactly accurate. there were more sexual harassment cases that were not approved. >> maybe so but where their cases in which the former chair declined to sign off on the ranking member was not made a aware of? that's how it was reported. just trying to get clarification. >> i don't remember the exact number. it may have been one or two but it certainly was not more than that. >> so if it is not signed off by the chair, then there has to be another way in which the settlement is reached, and
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that in my understanding is how the mra has been used in some cases. >> i want to focus back on the victim. one of the problems, and you ma made mention of it, you have the victim whose come forward, is concerned about the fact that she has been sexually harassed, either by the member or someone in the office and she has to continue to work in that officeco in order for it to be resolved through the office of compliance. if she doesn't continue to work in the office than the office of compliance has no role, correct? >> there is a concern that we haven't discussed here today, and that really is about retaliation. >> that's what i'm getting too.
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>> perfect. >> retaliation is covered currently under the cia in that in employee who has come to our office, experience some sort of retaliation would have a separate claim, but here's how the process works. the employeeim comes in, they seek counseling, they go to mediation mediation, the employee office now knows of the claim, there is retaliation that occurs. under the current process, that employee would have to restart the process again. go back to counseling, go back through mediation. this is why we've proposed the possibility of investigation for general counsel and the possibility of amending the complaint so the charges all merge at one point time rather than going back to the whole system. >> i'm also concerned that we don't have a means yet, and possibly should consider this to allow the employee to work remotely to the extent that they can, in some offices you can't if you work for the architect, you've got to be
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painting offices, you can't do that remotely, but in offices where you can so that there is not the continued environment that is very uncomfortable for the victim. >> swimming, there actually is a way that that can happen, and it has happened in other cases. >> i think we just need to make it explicit is what i'm suggesting. >> i don't think it's always been the case for everybody. there was one complaint filed that went through the process, the employee had to be in the office and i don't think that's right. personally. >> i can speak to, i can't speak to the specific cases, but as i said offices have a lot of flexibility in this area, and i think this is an area where our employees have
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been very effective because as soon as we know an employee has engaged in protective activity, we will counsel the employing office very strongly that while the underlying case may not have merit, if the employee is retaliated against in any shape, form or fashion, if they even have a thought bubble to retaliate they are going to face a very difficult case and so, i think we've never lost a case in retaliation. >> my time is running out someone to ask a couple more questions. ou, that oneingsret case that we are all familiar with where the employee, after the settlement, couldn't find a job in the capital. i'd be interested, maybe we don't have time right now, but some kind of discussion about what we do for employees who, through no fault of their own have been sexually harassed, they've come forward and they now have a scarlet letter that they wear and cannot be employed elsewhere. >> could i answer that question very quickly? >> under the current law, an
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employee who has left is still a covered employee up to 180 days from the violation. so, if there was retaliation, if they've left, they can still file a claim for that 180 days. >> right but what happens if they still work in the building. >> larger policy. >> thank you, i yield back. >> the chair will now recognize the chair of the ethics committee ms. brooks, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you for allowing me too participate. i would like to ask permission to admit for the record thekip letter that my ranking member and ethics andnd i submitted that was just referred to. the letter of december 1. >> thank you. i would also ask unanimous consent that we admit into the record the offices compliance response that was received this morning that i have been reading this morning. >> without objection. >> thank you. >> in our letter on december 1, we asked the
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committee, and because this is a hearing about the process, and about examining reforms to congressional account ability act, that's what i want to zero in on. there are many other things i would love to talk about, however, we askedererwoul oc to promptly provide the committee with all records in possession of the office related to any claims of sexual harassment discrimination, retaliation and so forth. the response, that we received today indicates that you refer, and i quickly went to section 1416 of confidentiality, as i am reading your response, you cannot share, because of the strict confidentiality rules, any claims that you have been involved in, relative to referral to ethics. am i correct? >> you are absolutely correct. the confidentiality not only
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binds the parties, it specifically binds our office from discussing those claims, and you're talking about claims overall, the law currently prohibits us from releasing information regarding anything in the counseling. or mediation. and it allows for very narrow exceptions when the case has t gone and a final disc decision has been rendered and that employee consent. >> there's only one hearing in 2016, is that correct. >> if that's what's in the letter. >> it's not in the letterf, it's a screenshot on your website. >> it's possible that case settled. >> okay. >> there was i one that indicated in this letter that there have been no proceedings before a hearing officer and the hearing officer comes after mediation, it's the end stage of your process,
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correct. >> correct. >> you indicate there have not been any proceedings before hearing officer for board relative to any memberssef or employees. >> correct. that doesn't cover district court. >> okay. that covers the court of appeal. >> it does not cover the court of appeals. only our administered of hearing process before one of our hearing officer. >> okay. >> so are you saying there are matters that have gone to district court. >> there are matters that have gone to district court. >> that you don't have possession of those record. >> we are not part of that process. >> okay. so those people who decide to go to district court, they pursue their own process in district court. >> that is correct. >> so we are not getting anythingic. >> pardon me? >> so we are not going to receive anything regarding, we actually asked about any employee we asked for claims regarding
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any claim. >> the law does not allow us to release anything to your committee but if we change the law we can use the method through investigation fire general counsel, any report that's generated for reasonable cause has been found that the law has been violatedco could be released to your committee. >> and so, let me ask you, what are your opinions on mandatory reporting to the ethics committee? in harassment matters? >> that's a very difficult question to answer. when we handle matters of discrimination and we talk with our clients, we tell our clients that it's possible that we will resolve the case for the case may go forward but they may also be some sort of ethics matter that could arise out of those circumstances so they will know that they may be fighting on two fronts, whatever the
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claim may be. >> and can i ask, in your letter, you state to us that you have encouraged employees who have been the victim that may constitute an ethical violation to contact our committee. how do you do that to cooperate with our investigation. >> we do that through the counseling. >> is that just written? it's a written discussion or do you provide them not in writing? ly it's generally, generally by phone or in person so it's a verbal discussion. >> is there any discussion, i'm sorry my time is up, but my question was is there any discussion about the confidentiality of the ethics ac proceedings in many ways, not that initial investigations might not be reported, but in fact, very often times the witnesses, the complaining witnesses are often kept confidential. >> i believe there is. >> thank you. i yield back. >> the chair will now recognize the german fromhe tge
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alabama, mr. burns for five minutes. >> thank you. i allow appreciate you allowing me too participate in this hearing. i will make sure i clarify one thing with you. i don't think you're saying this but i want to make sure we get this clear. you are not saying the speech of the debate clause provides immunity to a member or members office if they engage .n sexual harassmentei >> congressman, that is a very difficult question to answer. clearly the conduct itself is not protected. the question becomes what happens when a member of congress asserts that the discriminatory actionng a includes , or was not motivated by what the victim says it was. clearly sexual harassment under anyr circumstance. >> but that might not be sexual harassment done. >> well, keep in mind sexual harassment is a form of discrimination. >> right, it's a subset of discrimination based on generagender, but sexual
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harassment cannot be any nice by the united states constitution. >> that's cracked. >> okay. i wanted to make sure we got that clear. i want to move to what we do about it. i think where were really touching on here is how we investigate and enforce this. >> you do not have the authorityor to investigate or enforce that today in sexual harassment. >> that is correct. >> but if it was an osha case, you would. >> that is correct. >> why would there be a distinction between osha cases and sexual harassment cases. >> we have those same questions. >> mr. crowley, the one answer that question. sam >> congressman, the honest answer is i don't recall. i do recall conversations around having the office of compliance play a particular role with respect to the ada and osha because it was a case of first impression, these are historices buildings, if there
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needed to be retrofitting of an elevator shaft, for example, it was a more involved discussion. so, that was the reason that the office of compliance was given responsibility in thatet area, but why it didn't go further, i can tell you. >> i will say this, a lot of case law occurred after 1995. we have decisions from 1998 and a lot happened after that time, but you would've known about the time you're writing it. >> let me turn to you. you do have the power, whether it's with regard to people in the private sector or federal employees that don't work for congress, you do have the power to both investigate and enforce. do you think the office of compliance should have similar powers when those sort of things come up with regard to members of congress or people who work forer w us? >> the short answer is yes. >> okay, i like short answers. they are the best. >> again, as you well know, i thought your testimony from the november hearing was spot
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on, again, at this point i keep making there's a difference between the immediate investigation and the corrective action, and then the investigation that the eeoc, when someone comes to us and we are investigating essentially was there an investigation, what happened internally, what corrective action was taken by the company. but, someone needs to t be doing that, and it's my understanding from the testimony that i read that the house employment counsel pays thaplays that first roll in terms of investigating in the member's offices, but i think it's certainly worth considering, do you want to have a third-party who's not been representing the member's offices later on in the process conducting that initial investigation. also making some determination in terms of liability. >> here's a really sticky
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issue. i'll look at you for this one. in the private sector, we don't have public disclosure issues. when we in engage in negotiation and we reach an agreement, it's almost always confidential. they have provisions in them because thee confidentiality. it helps foster negotiations. how do we resolve that. >> i wish i had an easier answer. there is attention there.. many of them want to going get different jobs and members of congress won the confidentiality because even if the member of the office
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has done nothing wrong, putting that information out to the public could definitely hurt. i don't haveum an answer and i will give it some additional thought. it's a very difficult situation. >> thank you, i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back but i want to thank the witnesses for being here today. you have given us sometn valuable testimony to consider as we go forward. i particularly want to also thank ms. comstock for her work on this. she has been invaluable to this committee and will be as we go forward. also, again, i want to thank representatives spear and burn for your previous testimony on november 14 in your participation as ex officio members and appreciate the insight that you've given. we have a great responsibility to get this right and to make sure we continue with the
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message that one case of sexual harassment is one too many. how do we make sure the victim is protected. with changes that we consider when we balance transparency issues with making sure that a victim is not a victim a second time because of any changes we make. we want to make sure, with your input, that we make this in the correct way. it doesn't seemou that difficult for members to remember the golden rule and to treat people with respect. that will solve a lot of our future problems as we try to clean this up. we want to remind everyone that members, that we have five legislative days to submit to the chair additional questions in writing that would be passed on to the witnesses. if we do that we would
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encourage you to answer those as quickly as possible so that ithose could be made part of the record. without objection, this hearing is adjourned. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> arizona congressman just announced he's resigning immediately after his wife was admitted to the hospital. he had planned to resign effective january 31 after officials asked two female to bear his child is a fair get. the ethics committee said they would investigate him for his conduct.
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>> join us tonight for live coverage of president trump holding a rally in pensacola florida. he is slated to talk about tax reform efforts. our live coverage begins at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. you can also watch online at or download the free c-span radio app. >> sunday at 7:00 p.m. eastern on booktv on c-span2, former senior advisor to secretary of state rex tillerson discusses his book digital world war. >> content is king. distribution is queen and she wears the pants in the family. if you think about that, the way i think about isis and others, we are in a content war. >> bennett eight, former msnbc with her book everything you
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need to know about social media. >> everybody can join together and do incredible things. there aren't stories of the book of what others have done was social media. social media, it's not really new. all that's new are these delivery platforms. think about it. you have smoke signals, that shows the smoke signals, that social media, the party line, the telephone line, everybody on the block and get on on the phone. everything is amplified in terms of how far you reach. >> for the full schedule go to a >> this weekend on american history tb on c-span three.
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saturday at 7:00 p.m. eastern, yale university historian joanne freeman on alexander hamilton. >> when washington became president in 1789, he made hamilton the nation's first secretary of the treasury. in that post, he structured a national financial system and pushed to strengthen and empower the national government, watching a really fierce political battle. against those who want to do far less powerful national government, and obviously thomas jefferson and madison were his foremost political opponent. >> on real america, 19 '80s training film on welcome affection about inappropriate behavior in the workplace. >> you are new here on the staff. around here on the staff i make a lot of decisions. i'm the one that picks up evaluation reports, i signed three date passes and just a word of advice, if you want to get a loan, it would be beneficial to you to be a
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little nicer to me. >> on 8:00 p.m. on the presidency, historian daniel feller on president andrew jackson's efforts to challenge and even cripple the bank of the united states during the 1830s. >> no president before had said anything like this. other presidents have warned americans against entangling foreign alliances, they had warned americans against sectionalism and excessive partisanship at home, jackson warned them against control of their own government by, in his words, the rich and powerful. >> american history tb, all weekend, every weekend, only on c-span three. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by americans cable-television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite prover


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