tv Combating Sexual Harassment in the Service Sector CSPAN March 20, 2018 5:53pm-7:57pm EDT
district. >> one of the most important issues we're facing in oklahoma is the access to high speed internet for all of our citizens, in rural areas and in all parts of the urban areas as well. >> the most important issue in oklahoma for me is making sure we have a funded government that works and that is being responsible to not only take care of our citizens but make sure future generations of oklahomans have an education system, have transportation networks and quality health care in this state. >> voices from the states on c-span. coming up tomorrow here on c-span 3, homeland security secretary kirsten nielsjen testifies on election security live in the morning at 9:30 eastern. thursday, robert lighthizer will testify before the senate finance committee regarding the steel and aluminum tariffs
imposed by the trump administration and also, he will give an overview of u.s. trade policy. live coverage begins thursday at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span 3. the congressional caucus for women's issues held a hearing on combatting sexual harassment in the hotel service and airline industries. employees and advocates from those industries shared their first-hand harassment experiences and current and former government officials talked about what was being done at the federal level to combat and prevent workplace harassment. this is about two hours. the women's caucus hearing will now come to order. i ask everyone to please take their seats. before we get started, i want to take a moment to recognize the unexpected passing late last week of representative louise slaughter. this is the first time we have
been together and we will miss having her here today and having her in our chamber. she was truly a trailblazer for women in congress and i know all of our thoughts are with her family, friends and staff during this difficult time. i will recognize myself for one minute for an opening statement. i would like to thank our witnesses for their time and for coming here today. earlier this year, the house of representatives passed a bill requiring harassment training for all members of congress and our staffs. we also put in place changes to better protect victims of harassment here at the people's house. as we continue to improve the workplace here on the hill, we know that there are other workplaces where harassment occurs and where we need to address the challenges. today, the women's caucus has brought together a panel of experts to hear about harassment in the service sector. the service industry has the highest rate of sexual harassment charges filed of any industry. in fact, the service industry
which includes restaurants, coffee shops, hotels and other hospitality establishments and others account for 14.2% of all sexual harassment claims filed with the eeoc between 2005 and 2015. no one should have to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace, regardless of whether or not harassment comes from a co-worker, a manager or from a customer. it is always unacceptable. workers like rashanda and marie and victoria have found themselves facing sexual harassment when they are simply trying to do their jobs. >> not victoria, but sarah. >> yes, sarah. thank each of you for coming today to share your stories. in 2016, the eeoc released a report on harassment in the workplace and included a number of recommendations in how to prevent harassment in the workplace and i look forward to hearing from the eeoc regarding the progress they have made in implementing these recommendations.
i want to thank all of our witnesses for coming here today. we look forward to hearing your recommendations, hearing your stories and learning about what more we can do to combat harassment in the workplace. at this time i want to recognize the ranking member of the women's caucus, my co-lead, lois frankel of florida for one minute. >> thank you for mentioning louise slaughter, because we hold the thoughts of her family in our heart. welcome everybody here. welcome to our witnesses. thank you to the members who have come back early today, and thank you, susan, and our vice-chairs, brenda lawrence, mimi walters, and our co-hosts, jackie speier and barbara comstock. we have a good bipartisan effort here which is a joy. right? of course, the witnesses have traveled here. we thank you. i want to thank my staff for putting this whole thing together. i have very good briefing papers which we disseminated to all
members. this is the first in the series of the bipartisan hearings to shine a light on what has been a dark pervasive secret in the workplaces. and most often preventing women from reaching their full economic potential. while headlines of sexual harassment have been dominated by stories of abuse from famous men like harvey weinstein and matt lauer, sexual harassment runs rampant across all industries, depriving workers of safe and dignified environment and jeopardizing their ability to take care of their families. our hearings today are going to go beyond the headlines and today, we hear stories from workers in the service sector about flight attendants, hotel workers and restaurant workers who endure all kinds of sexual harassment and abuse in order to keep their jobs. not only are we going to be
shining the light on problems during our hearings today and then we have some in the future, we also want to spotlight anti-harassment policies and programs that are working both in the public and the private sectors, and learn how folks are changing their own culture in their workplaces. and we want to find out what if any changes we need to make in laws. our next hearing which will be scheduled soon will be on male-dominated occupations like s.t.e.m. and manufacturing and eventually we will get to some of these hearings where we are going to really talk about how we are going to solve the problems. and just a little protocol here. once the witness provide their testimony, congresswoman brooks and i will recognize the members for anywhere from two to five minute comments, depending how many members we have here. and the speaking order is based
upon seniority on gavel down and order of arrival for caucus members, caucus friends will be recognized at the end. thank you all for being here. with that, i yield to the vice-chair, brenda lawrence. >> i want to thank my two chairs from a bipartisan women's caucus. and i want to thank you so much for being here today. thank you, especially, to the workers who have come so far and it takes so much courage to stand up and make your voices heard not once, but often time and time again. thank you for all of the work that you are doing in your communities. without you and the service industry, our economy would not work. your co-workers, and thank you for what you do for our country. we still have a long way to go and i hope that we can go beyond the headlines and truly try to
make a difference in making life better for women in the workplace. the fact that we are here today in a bipartisan fashion and forgive me for having this editorial, because it is very few things that we do in a bipartisan way, and so i am so honored to be here to join my colleagues and truly try to make a difference, but to really make change for women in the work force, everyone in this room needs to make a commitment to women workers, everyone. we all need to focus on t major issues that keep women underemployed, underpaid and mistreated. not only harassment but the lack of pay leave, unequal wages, and unfair job schedules, tip theft and more. we also need to understand that all women are not treated equally. women in certain jobs and of
certain backgrounds are more likely to face many types of work force or workplace abuse. to really make a change, we need to listen and learn from you. and that is why you are here today and thank you again for being here. i have a saying that i say repeatedly that when women are at the table, the conversation changes. i thank you for being here and i look forward to our conversation. >> thank you. the gentle lady yields back and the chair would now like to recognize representative barbara comstock of virginia and for one minute to make an opening statement. >> thank you, madam chairman. last fall, when the avalanche of stories began coming out about sexual harassment in so many different areas, the focus was on many of the well-known names, celebrities, harvey weinstein,
the various celebrity women, whether it was fox news and roger ailes or matt lauer, we saw those dominos fall one after the other. and a lot of people questioned whether anything could change. here in congress, we turned to our own situation and we did make changes. we passed a resolution quickly requiring training and in-person training in a very different and new training with the guidance of some of you here. we also passed landmark legislation which gives victims a new resource to go to, and also made clear that there is zero tolerance but we know there's so much more to do. just last week on the science committee, i'm a chair of we talked about science and i'm glad we're going to be looking at that, but having been a wait res, having started out in the service industry, i'm happy we are doing this, because when we
are doing these activities, it is not always the celebrities that are getting attention but we very much want the focus to be on the women and how we can change, you know, best practices, how we can prevent and how we can root out the predators in every industry, but really understand what they are up to. so i appreciate your courage here in standing up today, and i appreciate the testimony in detailing a lot of these best practices, and i look forward to discussing this further today. >> thank you, representative. we go to representative jackie speier. >> thank you to our two co-chairs. i'm really thrilled that we're doing this in a bipartisan fashion. it says volumes to american women everywhere. i will be brief, but i want to thank all of our witnesses who are here. a number of you have endured incredible abuse and as i read all of your testimony last night, much of it was deeply
troubling, some of it was absolutely disgusting. the service sector is everywhere. it leaves many employees uniquely isolated, creating fertile hunting ground for predators. the experiences read like something out of a bad movie. restaurant servers dodging physical assaults, because they are dependent on the tips, and flight attendants being called to a passenger's seat only to find them exposed under a blanket. nearly 50% of housekeepers say they have been flashed by a guest, and nearly 60% of hotel workers said they had been sexually harassed. when they are attacked and report, the message is clear, shut up if you want to keep your job. well, we have a clear message to send today as well. the me too movement is moving on to the service sector, because for servers, hospitality workers
and flight attendants and every working woman in america, time is up. thank you and i yield back. >> thank you. and today, we are going to hear from six witnesses, and we will hear first from marie billiel, a restaurant worker in cambridge, massachusetts, and member of the restaurant opportunity center. our next witness is roshanda, a bartender at a hotel in chicago and she is representative schakowsky's constituent, i believe. want to thank her for coming today to share her story and the work she's done with the hands off/pants on campaign to fight sexual harassment in the hospitality industry. and also, is cheryl of the international association of flight attendants representing 50,000 flight attendants from 20 different airlines. and victoria who is the acting chair of the equal opportunity
employment commission appointed by president obama. and she was a select member of the council on the study of harassment in the workplace. thank you. patricia is an attorney, a member of the special expertise panel and member of the eeoc's select task force. and finally, jackson katz, a leading advocate in the movement of men working to promote gender equality and co-founder of mentors in violence prevention. i appreciate all of you being here today and as we talked about before we got started, you will have five minutes for your testimony, if you could please push your button so everyone can hear your important testimony today, and miss billiel, you are recognized for five minutes for
summary of your opening statement. >> good afternoon. my name is marie billiel. i worked in the restaurant industry for ten years. for eight of those years i was a waitress, a tipped employee. when i began to work for a server, i received $2.63 an hour and since then massachusetts has raised the wage to $3.75. a mere dollar raise for almost a decade of grueling work. when employers are allowed to pay such meager wages, tipped workers are made vulnerable to exploitation and la rharassment because we rely on the whims of customers for our income, we face such high rates of poverty and financial instability we are forced to accept mistreatment in the workplaces. the fear of eviction and the inability to care for ourselves and our families outweighs the ability to demand better for ourselves. when i was 18 i started to work at a diner in massachusetts and i was in school and worked the overnight shifts and that was
characterized by low tips from college students and sexual harassment from customers. customers would run out of money or leave without tipping even after vomiting on their table. when i moved to working the morning shift i was dismayed to find the customers' behavior was no different. one kucustomer nicknamed me wilytemtress. i was known not the bend over to the take orders because they would grab your bodies. rebuffing their advance means i would lose their tips and receive discipline from the orders. behind the scene, my experience was amplified by co-workers and managers. within the first month one of the cooks grabbed me by the wrist and pulled me toward the private prep area in the back of the kitchen as he demanded i kiss him. this set the stage for the next five years. overtime i would be cornered in the walk-in cooler by another cook because he said he wanted to bite my dimples.
i was shown pornography on shift and kissed against my will. my day-to-day life at this diner was punctuated with whistles, requests for dates, lewd comments on my body, and often the cooks would grab and try to lick my hand as i attempted to take plates out of the window to serve to my customers. if we reported them, the cooks retaliated. they burnt my table's food or lost the tickets. my customers' experience suffered and so did my tips, my income. my customers, it just looked like it was bad service so i quickly learned it was easier to giggle and act like the harassment was harmless rather than risk my income. management didn't do anything to help us. no one was ever disciplined or fired. in fact, the owners and managers participated in the harassment themselves. they made us cry for sport and rated us in terms of how attractive we were, and made us illegally pay for mistakes or an entire check if the customer dined and dashed. one of the owners once made a joke about our one gay server
masturbating after finding spilled tapioca pudding. when i refused sexual advances from one particular manager, he sat very few customers in my section, knowingly hurting my income. we were told over and over we were expendable. management threatened us with a stack of applications that they kept under the register and they proved their point by hiring an endless stream of petite brunettes which was the body type one manager preferred. because tips were the one source of income, we have no choice but to endure this mistreatment at the hands of our customers, our colleagues and our managers. we are encouraged to be a willing party to the customer's advances and because we are objectified in one aspect of the work, we are objectified in all aspects of our work. we are gaslit and taught to believe this bee laihavior is n and acceptable. our livelihoods are threatened when we speak up for ourselves.
without a proper wage we can't break free of this system. after i moved to boston i wrote a blog detailing my experiences at this particular diner. it went viral and emboldened other employees to share their accounts. they mirrored and corroborated mine. the mass attorney general's office filed a suit against this diner and their owners. its owners. the process was long and painful and not without collateral damage. it is not reasonable to assume that everybody has these resources, and can choose that path. the solution to the issues that we face is not for everyone to pursue litigation, and the solution is to eliminate the system that allows this. it is a widespread issue, and we are upholding a system where the employers are allowed to profit off their workers without compensating them. the whims and generosity of customers are treated as a wage subsidy to help business's bottom lines. we are taught we are overreacting and don't know where to turn for safety. i was told restaurant workers should just find a different job but that's not fair. we are professionals and deserve dignity in our chosen professions.
in the united states, 70% of tipped workers are women and one-third are mothers. we need to do better by the women in this country. i hope that congress will stand by restaurant workers and implement policies that will help us break our dependency on our customers' generosity and to earn a living wage. thank you. >> good afternoon. my name is rashonda williams. i work as a bartender in a chicago hotel. i have 17 years of experience in the hospitality industry. i possess a bachelor's degree in social work with a minor in law enforcement administration from western illinois university. i'm a proud member of unite here local one, the hospitality workers of chicago. thank you, representative franco, representative brooks and members of caucus for holding this hearing today. i would also like to thank
congresswoman jan schakowsky and her staff for encouraging me to be here and for their unwavering support and commitment to working with women in the illinois ninth district. i am grateful for the opportunity to share my experience of working in the chicago hotel and fighting back against sexual harassment. i am proud to be a leader of the hands off/pants on campaign with unite here local one. the campaign was launched in 2016 after my union surveyed nearly 500 women working in chicagoland hotels and casinos about sexual harassment. 58% of hotel workers surveyed had been sexually harassed by hotel guests. 58%. i am one of those women. when i first started in the
hotel industry, i worked as a cocktail server and bartender. sexual harassment from the guests and the comments and the jokes, the stares, it made me feel so uncomfortable, but i didn't know what i could do about it. it was a thing that happened that no one talked about. i'll never forget a particular incident when i was waiting on a table of four businessmen. they were dressed in business suit. i walked up to the table to take their order. one of them asked me for my name, and when i brought their drinks to put them down at the table, one smacked my rear end and said thank you. i was shocked. i didn't think that -- and i didn't know why he thought that he could get away with this. i told him never to do that again. but i didn't report it to a manager or tell anyone else. i was new to a job and i thought that i was expendable.
i needed to keep the job. it made me feel small and alone at the time i thought i should just learn how to deal with this. when our union launched the hands off/pants on campaign, it prompted me to share my experience of harassment with some of the women that i work with. i will never forget their eyes when they said really, it happened to you? but you're so tough. that was my a-ha moment. it was our me too moment before the hash tag caught hold. i realized the power of breaking open the silence is the first step to changing the culture that the guest is always right. the women i work with who clean guest rooms are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment. in fact, 49% of hotel housekeepers surveyed by the
union said that guests had exposed themselves, flashed themselves or opened the doors naked. i heard from hotel housekeepers about guests masturbating in front of them, or propositioning them when they're trying to do their job. chicago hotel workers have stood arm in arm to call for change. with the leadership of president jorge ramirez of the chicago federation of labor and president karen kent of unite here local one, we advocated for the hands off/pants on ordinance to protect hotel workers from sexual harassment and assault by guests. the ordinance ensures that all hotel workers who work alone in guestrooms and restrooms are equipped with panic buttons. this is so important for hotel housekeepers, because these women work alone. they are isolated in intimate
environments and in -- of a bedroom. the chicago ordinance also requires hotels to establish a written anti-sexual harassment policy that specifically addresses sexual harassment by guests, and perhaps most importantly, the ordinance protects all of us hotel workers from retaliation when we come forward to complain about sexual harassment from a guest. we celebrated a major milestone in our campaign, the hands off/pants on ordinance was unanimously approved by the chicago city council this past october. i'll never forget the cheer that went up in the council chamber when we realized we had won. i have already seen changes in my hotel. not long ago a coworker of mine overheard me discussing the campaign and at that point right then and there, she confided
that she was currently being harassed by a guest. she felt so uncomfortable and she was afraid to leave work at night. she couldn't confide in anybody, she didn't think anybody would believe her. together as a group, we went to talk to hotel security. they escorted the guest out and he was not permitted to return. that young server was only a few months into the job. i'm so glad that at that moment she felt that she could speak up. and that someone would listen. i am proud of what we have accomplished in chicago, and passing the hands off/pants on ordinance is powerful, it's much needed. it's a message for women in hospitality that we are being heard and we are being seen. strong enforcement of this ordinance is critical. i have hope that together we can transform the culture of the hospitality industry so that all
women, all workers are treated with respect and dignity. thank you. >> thank you so much. miss nelson, five minutes for your opening statement. >> thank you very much. my name is sarah nelson. i'm a 22-year qualified flight attendant. thank you to the congressional caucus for women's issues, co-chairs frankel and brooks, as well as congresswoman comstock and speier. your efforts to lift the voices of victims of sexual harassment in the service sector is not only appreciated by aviation's first responders and the 50,000 members of the association of flight attendants. we believe the dialogue you are supporting makes us all safer. lifting the veil on the silent epidemic in society and the workplaces will promote equality and help us make the most out of this new age of me too. sexual harassment is not about
sex. it's about power. flight an flight attendants, about 80% women, are ongoing victims of harassment and sexual assault. not long ago the industry marked the objectification of stewardesses, a job available to young, perfectly polished women who until 1993 were required to step on to the weight scale, and were referred to as grandmothers and bragged about by younger crews that passengers wanted to look at. our uniwhereon was formed to give women a voice and beat back the discrimination and misogyny on the jobs. and we saw our power on the bargaining table and we taught the country to leave the word stewardess in the history books, and i would like to recognize those who fought for honor of the job, and the laws that back us up, but the industry never disavowed the marketing scheme featuring short skirts, hot pants and ads that had young
women saying things like i'm sheryl, fly me. and even today, we are called pet names, patted on the rear when a passenger wants our attention, cornered in the back galley and asked about our hottest layover and subjected to incidents too awful to recall. like the rest of our society, flight attendants never had a reason to believe reports of sexual harassment we spooenchs experience on the job would be taken seriously rather than dismissed or retaliated against. a survey of our members just last year show the majority of flight attendants have no knowledge of written guidance or training on the issue available through their airline. in my 22 years of training i have never had a conversation about sexual harassment or sexual assault. in december 2017 after the launch of the me too movement, i publicly called on the airline chief executives to clearly and forcefully denounce the past obobt
objectification of flight attendants, and pledge zero tolerance at the airlines. it is absurd to think that a group of people frequently harassed for decades can enforce during emergencies without this level of clarity about the respect we deserve. knowing that ceos back us up will also make it easier for flight attendants to intervene when passengers are sexually harassed or assaulted on planes. i want to applaud alaska ceo brad tildon and united ceo oscar munoz, because they immediately spoke up when asked, and they are leading the industry in the dialogue. putting in place tools and training for front line workers and working to change forever the culture toward true equality. but, we have not heard from the rest of the industry yet. our union is conducting a survey of our members to quantify the frequency of verbal and physical sexual harassment in the air in the last 12 months. the survey is open now and we expect to have results the first week of april.
already thousands of flight attendants from 32 airlines have responded and preliminary results show that approximately three in every four flight attendants have experienced sexual harassment. while only seven of those flight attendants have reported it to their employer. and 68% of respondents have not noticed any employer efforts to address sexual harassment at work in the last 12 months. still, flight attendants are hopeful this is a moment we can put coffee, tea or me behind us and lift our careers. we are seeking a wide range of solutions. we call on airports and airlines and government agencies to immediately enlist everyone traveling in an effort to stop sexual harassment and sexual assault. the greater discussion around denouncing these acts, the safer the passengers, crew and airport workers will be. we call on the industry to take this issue seriously with increased flight attendant staffing, clear guidelines for
reporting and include training on this issue as part of safety training. we are strongly support forming a stakeholder of air carriers and pilot unions and passenger rights and consumer groups and organizations that specialize in responding to sexual assault and harassment in order to identify guidelines and best practices for responding to sexual assault and harassment aboard commercial aircraft as well as minimum standards for training and incident reporting on sexual assault as a unique crime. thank you, again, for this opportunity to take part in this discussion and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. chair lipnic, you have five minutes for your opening statement. >> good afternoon, co-chair brooks and congresswoman frankel and all the members of the bipartisan congressional caucus on women's issues. thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today about a subject that for nine months now has consumed the headlines, sexual harassment but not
something that we at the eeoc are unfamiliar with and let me just say that the panelists here, the fellow panelists here on the right, i can confirm from what we see at the eeoc, their experiences we see far too often. i want to recognize congresswoman eleanor holmes norton for her 40 years ago groundbreaking work on sexual harassment and being the first person to promulgate the sex guidelines for the eeoc back in the 1970s. since early october when news of what was then simply known as the weinstein scandal broke, the issue of sexual harassment has dominated the nation's collective conversation. as you mentioned, congresswoman brooks, i'm acting chair of the eeoc but i have served as the commissioner of the eeoc since the spring of 2010 and acting chair since january 2017. when i first joined the eeoc in 2010 i was struck by the number of harassment complaints the agency would see every year. the cases we would litigate, the
egregious behaviors we were addressing on behalf of victims of harassment. i had a conversation with the late jackie barrion who asked me to dig deeper into the issue. i spoke with every one of the district directors around the country, we have 16 district directors around the country and each of our regional attorneys. i was astonished, but deeply concerned that to a person i was told the same thing, the eeoc could, if it wanted to, have a docket consisting of nothing but harassment cases generally and sexual harassment cases specifically. this fact and the concern on a leadership level with the persistence and pervasiveness of the harassment claims we at eeoc continued to see led to the establishment of the select task force on the study of harassment in the workplace. an outside group of experts that the eeoc convened following a public commission meeting on workplace harassment in january 2015. i was honored to co-chair the
select task force along with my democratic colleague. i want to recognize patty weis, a member of our task force. a copy of the report is available on the eeoc's website. i never leave home without one now. i take it with me pretty much everywhere i go. 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, not just address as an enforcement agency liability issues. the task force included members of both the management and plaintiffs bar, organized labor, trade associations, academics, including social scientists, compliance experts and worker advocates. our work concluded in june of 2016, almost 30 years to the day when we released our report after the united states supreme court handed down its landmark decision, meritor savings bank
versus vinson in which it held for the first time sexual harassment was a form of unlawful sex discrimination. we took away a number of top line lessons learned through the study of the task force which i will take this opportunity to share. first, workplace harassment is a persistent problem and almost fully one-third of the approximately 90,000 charges received by the eeoc in fiscal year 2015 and in fiscal year 2017 included an allegation of harassment. this includes charges of harassment on the basis of sex, race, disability, age, ethnicity, national origin, color and religion. second, workplace harassment, particularly sexual harassment, very often and 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 to file a formal legal complaint. these employees may not report
harassing behavior because of fear of disbelief or inaction on the claim or social retaliation. third, an effective anti-harassment effort must stop at the top, and leadership and accountability are crucial. this cannot be overstated. and 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 this expectation. and finally, training must change. much of the training done over the last 30 years has not worked as a prevention tool. it has been too focused on simply avoiding the legal liability. we believe effective training can reduce workplace harassment, but even that cannot occur in a vacuum. it must be a part of a holistic culture of non-harassment. one size does not fit all.
training is most effective when tailored to the specific workplace and different cohorts of employees. in closing, i want to reiterate a key finding of the task force and let me emphasize about the training. no system of training, monitoring or reporting is likely to succeed in preventing harassment in the absence of genuine and public buy-in from the very top levels of an organization. the last thing i will say is that culture matters. whatever workplace it is and the leadership of the organizations must own their workplaces down to the individual workplace level. thank you. >> thank you. ms. wise, you have five minutes for an opening statement. >> thank you. i would like to thank the chairs and every member of the bipartisan caucus for women's issues for inviting me, and inviting all of the panelists and for your important work in addressing the issue of sexual harassment. i'm so honored to participate, especially to participate with chair lipnic, who is an amazing
champion of the effort to prevent and eliminate sexual harassment. i don't leave home without my copy of the report, either. i'm very pleased to be here today to talk specifically about women in the service sector. it's obviously a very broad category, but many of the women in the service sector don't have the platform that so many of the members we have seen so far in the me too movement have in terms of a platform. it's a very broad category but many of the employees in the service sector have unique risks, and those risks factors that chair lipnic referred to often apply in the service sector. those include harassment due to the significant numbers of young adults, and sometimes even teenagers in the service sector, workplaces with significant power disparities, workplaces as you heard from the other witnesses that rely on customer service or client satisfaction, and in some cases, isolated and
decentralized workplaces. some workplaces also employs employees with cultural and language differences and in many service sector workplaces, alcohol consumption is a factor, particularly when customers and clients act inappropriately. not surprisingly, legally compliant policies and procedures, effective training and prompt objective investigations followed by proportionate corrective actions are all important ways to address harassment in the workplace. but as the chair has said, we have been doing that. some employers, i'm hesitant to say many employers after sarah's testimony, but some employers have been doing a fairly good job of that for some time and it hasn't been enough. we don't have a precise legal definition of sexual harassment. it is fact-specific and varies on a case by case basis, but we do know two things absolutely. sexual harassment is still a
significant problem that has not diminished over the decades, and it is vastly underreported. so what can we do to combat service sector sexual harassment, the task this caucus has set before us? today's hearing is an excellent start. you are hearing from experts, the women who have testified know the workplace, they know the risks and the dangers, and they have taulked about and i'm guessing if we ask them, they know many, many ways to prevent and eliminate the dangers of the workplace. in addition to these experts and chair lipnic alluded to this as well, sincere meaningful leadership commitment and the dedication of resources to this problem is critical. you may be familiar with the concept of the shadow of the leader. this is a management concept, it simply refers to the cull cltur the organization. it's just the fact the leader's style is reflected in their habits and bee laifr. if the leader is disrespectful,
intolerant, dismissive of rules, then managers throughout the organization are free to behave in the same way. this creates an environment at great risk of incivility and harassment. conversely, if the leader models respect, civility, inclusion and holds managers accountable, then the organization is likely to reflect those same values. it is also more likely that managers will take the issue of harassment seriously and devote resources to addressing any risk factors that exist in a particular workplace. so the younger employees in the service sector workplaces, in their first and second jobs, can be properly trained on appropriate workplace norms and applicable laws. they can be coached and sponsored for leadership roles. low-ranking employees in the service sector workplaces can be treated with respect and civility. they can be made aware of effective ways to address workplace concerns.
when the leader's shadow exhibits care and concern for employees, inappropriate customer behavior is not tolerated. and if the manager's actions are accountable, then resources will be to provide training, direction and employment for all locations to provide safe environments even for those who are the most physically isisedated. a variety of methods such as regular check-ins, unscheduled security checks, information escrows and even panic buttons will enable distant or isolated employees to report safety concerns. the work of the eeoc select task force was just the beginning of a search for new methods of combatting harassment. employers in collaboration with their most valuable resource, their employees, must continue the effort. as the eeo report says, the eeoc report says, it is our collective responsibility and it's on us. again, i thank you for this
opportunity, and i look forward to answering any questions. >> thank you. mr. katz, you have five minutes for your opening statement. >> thank you, madam chairwomen, and the members of the bipartisan caucus, it is an honor of course for me to be presenting before you today. the me too movement has been led by women, activists and survivors from across the economic and racial spectrum, whose demands for meaningful changes to mysogenist social norms in the military and every sort of workplace are changing the world before our eyes. i'm privileged to be on a panel with some of those great women today. and what i want to focus my remarks on are the responsibilities and opportunities for men in this extraordinary moment, in particular i want to discuss the role that men's leadership, both formal and in workplace and other peer cultures can play in the necessary changes that lie ahead. i will highlight the role of bystanders in a workplace context, the colleagues and
co-workers who are in a position to interrupt and challenge the sexist behavior of their peers and some of the impediments to their doing so. in response to the explosion of the me too hash tag in which millions of women and girls around the world have identified themselves as survivors of various forms of harassment and violence, men themselves have displayed a variety of reactions and expressed the spectrum of emotions. these range from predictable denial and minimizing the issue to full-fledged declarations of empathy and a desire to take more of a stand against pervasive mysogeny. it is this latter response that has the most potential for transformative change. of course, it's important for men whether three are family mrebs, lovers, friends, colleagues or co-workers, to be there for women who need to be heard and supported but the true test of men's commitment to the women and girls in their lives and to all women and girls as well as to the basic concept of fairness and justice is whether they can take their empathy to the next level and actually do something to address persistent sex discrimination in all forms of men's violence against women. the women are speaking up en
mass. the burden of changing the culture of abuse should not be on the shoulders of survivors for workplace sexual harassment. in the vast cases, men are the primary perpetrators whether the victims are women, men or gender non-conforming individuals. despite gains by women over the past half century, men continue to hold the vast majority of social, economic and political power including workplace authority. it is therefore men's, all men's responsibility to do their part in preventing harassment and abuse from happening in the first place. this is especially true for men who are in positions of lead irship, whether it be in the service sector workplace or the united states congress. for men grappling with what to do, the first step involves mustering the courage and moral integrity to look inward about how their attitudes, beliefs and bee laihaviors might be part of problem. it also means examining the roles they play in the individual or cultural awareness
might be contributing to the problem and then doing something to change them. for men in formal leadership roles, it is their duty and responsibility to create a healthy working climate. every men in the workplace has a role to play. this is where the concept of the empowered bystander comes in. i was an early architect of the sexual assault and prevention. when i started to work with men in college athletics and then all branches of the u.s. military, professional athletic organizations and general populations of students, men, women and gender non-con forming in high schools and colleges, the idea was to empower them to challenge and interrupt other men's sexist attitudes and bee laifrs when they saw it manifest among friends, colleagues, co-workers and others in their peer cultures but to switch the men from going from active to passive bystanders is difficult and there's a reason why so few
men to date have spoken out about this topic. it is not that they the don't know how big of a topic it is. it's a giant conscious-ness raising moment. and one day it might be understood as a watershed moment, but men have known for a long time that women have been, exposed to abuse and they have seen it in entertainment and reported on the news and maybe they are guilty of this behavior themselves, but yet, few men make it a priority in the personal or professional lives. the reason why is that too many of them fear the social backlash they face from other men when they choose to stand with women as their partners and allies in the struggle against abuse. this is certainly true in the workplace, whether in the service sector or any other sector. some men engage in discriminatory and abusive behavior towards women in the workplace ranging from those who regularly make sexist or sexualizing comments about women all the way to those who engage in sexual predatory behavior we
have leheard about in recent months. these men need to be held accountable for their choices and bee laifr. there are many more men who do not sexually harass women. nonetheless enabled abuse by others, by their actions but more likely by their inaction. it's those men whose efforts as allies to women can truly change the workplace culture that gives rise to abuse. in order to engage these men, we have to understand the pressures on them inside and outside the workplace. let's be frank, many men as well as young men and boys remain silent in the face of abusive behavior by their peers not because they're comfortable with the behavior but they're well aware there will be consequences if they speak up. i just have a couple more remarks then i'll -- i appreciate it. sexual harassment and any other form of abusive behavior doesn't just cause silence in its victims and targets. it also silences people around the target and around the perpetrator. in the case of men in the workplace, a lot of them see their colleagues and co-workers engage in certain kinds of behavior ranging from inappropriate sexual comments
all the way to all kinds of physical and sexual boundary violations and make a calculation if they speak up, they might very well put themselves at risk. outside of the workplace in other settings, that risk might mean loss of status with the guys, the disapproval of other men, the sense he is not somehow loyal to the group or is too politically correct. the social penalties for young men and boys who dare to interrupt and challenge other men's sexist behaviors are a disincentive to men even those who are well aware the behaviors are wrong. in the workplace the fears transcend social anxieties. like the women and some men who have been the targets of sexual harassment, men who see their co-workers engage in harassing behaviors of various sorts often choose to remain silent. they worry if they say or do something, their life might become more difficult, might lose out on a promotion, risk losing their job and their ability to support themselves and their families. i'll skip ahead to one final paragraph. i'll take questions at the end. i appreciate your indulgence. it's important to emphasize as
we address men's roles, we have to be sure not to pretend that workplaces are homogenously white and middle class. this is especially true in the service sector when so many of the women are women of color or immigrants or working class white women who sometimes lack the social capital of more privileged women and feel they have to accept mistreatment because they lack viable options. we need more men, especially white men, willing to use and risk their privileged standing to support women who have been targeted and speak up and challenge their male peers who would take advantage of their vulnerability. finally, i believe strongly these are leadership issues for men and if we can approach men, challenging them to rise to the better angels of their nature, there's an awful lot of good men out there who don't speak up in part because of the fears i have articulated and many others, but if they see other men doing it, if they see men standing with women as their partners and allies, if young men see adult men in positions of influence, not just in the workplace but in
politics, in business, in the sports culture, in the media, religious institutions, if young men and boise adult men standing strongly on these issues, then the next generation will do much better than my and our generation has done on this because there has been very little men's leadership on these matters. it's time for that to change. thank you very much. >> thank you. extraordinary testimony. i tell you what, no matter what you read, when you actually hear it, it is shocking. it is shocking. and mr. katz, in light of your testimony, i want to thank you for joining us today. here's what we're going to do. in a spirit of egalitarianess, i think that's the word, representative brooks and i, we're going to yield our questions -- we're going to wait until some of the other members get to ask their questions. what we would ask is if you've already made a comment when we yield to you, please ask one question. we're going to try to go around the table.
we'll get as many rounds in as possible asking everyone to ask one question. if you haven't made a comment, we would say make your one-minute comment and ask your question. all right? does that sound good? start with representative lawrence. >> mr. katz, i just want to tell you, you were remarkable. thank you. i just went to the brussel forum. one of the things, the parliament had what they call the barbershop discussion for men to talk about sexual harassment. they were in the room by themselves talking about it then they reported back out to parliament. and that's one of the things i would love to see happen here. thank you so much. i just want to ask this question to the -- miss lipnic. you have made a recommendation about mobile-friendly websites,
about developing written resources and materials, videos and posters to help workers understand their rights. what is happening with each of those efforts and how much progress has been made and how can we as congress help you with that? >> sure, thank you for the question. following the recommendations of our task force, just for us, what we think we need to do at the eeoc, we have a list about ten miles long including what we can better do to advise employees of their rights and that includes particularly young people, we have a whole youth-at-work program. all of those efforts are under way. i -- this is an ongoing effort by the eeoc, so we've taken a look at everything that question have, we've talked all of our regional offices about other ideas and, you know, we're sort
of going through them seriatim. we considered the task force report the first step and both the recommendations we made for organizations outside the eeoc but for our own, we have been going through that list and doing what we can to up our communications with people. >> congress, i want you to know we are here, and as we move forward, please keep us informed so we can -- so we can support you. thank you. >> i appreciate that. >> thanks. we'll now recognize barbara comstock from virginia. >> thank you. miss nelson, i wanted to thank you for your testimony. as a member of the aviation subcommittee and transportation and infrastructure, i wanted to ask if you could share the information and the surveys that you gave to the airlines. i would be happy, and maybe miss norton also being on the transportation committee, would
like to join us with -- with me, and we could write and ask the rest of the airlines to respond. also i wanted to thank united, who was the other one that did respond? alaska. if we could follow up with you on that, i'd very much like to do that. that reminded me sort of, what can we do with social media and the websites? a number of you are talking about, to take situations when you're on a plane, we have a captive audience now, you have, you know, a lot of the flights now we have, you know, tvs, even if you weren't going to blast one thing to everybody, what can we get on so this kind of like, by the way, you know, this is sexual harassment, this kind of behavior shouldn't go on. and i think so much of it was is we need to -- you provide us all the examples but seeing them and seeing that live and somebody doing it, you don't miss anything. you know, people always want to miss it, say, well, gee, maybe somebody misinterpreted things and i can't believe you.
when you see the picture, we dramatize these cases. i don't see a lot of that in the training. how can we do that, using social media, we show people, here's media, we show people, here's what happens in the restaurant industry. you're there with the trays and drinks and when somebody grabs you, you can't really do anything because you'll drop things. knowing the different m.o.s, characterize that, maybe give your thought on those things. >> okay. so we think it's incredibly important that we're talking about this nonstop and we want to thank you very much because one of the suggestions i was going to give to the caucus is to write to the other airlines and also to say thank you to alaska and united, but to write to the other airlines and ask them to follow suit. if we have leadership who are standing up and making it very
clear that this is not allowed in the workplace, we are going to be safer. when people get on an airplane, oftentimes they have behavior set in their mind that's different than what they may have at home. that may be also compounding this. i often ask people what do you drink on a plane? they often say tomato juice or gingerale. i say, do you have that any other time? no, just when i'm on a plane. people have a certain idea of their behavior on a plane and it can exacerbate the conditions along with alcohol and the fact that you're in this confined space. we also find that today in that confined space when seats are closer together, passengers are closer together, the line of sight is less, so if we use all of the tools we have in airplanes while people are sitting there captive, we have public service announcements about this, we help to train people that there's a different culture when you fly to today, no longer will sexual harassment, sexual assault, be tolerated. and, in fact, it will be reported and it will be taken seriously.
and those discussions, those public service announcements, and those actions by leadership, will dramatically increase the safety of our members and the traveling public. >> thank you. would you like to respond on the restaurant front? bars or restaurants or -- >> well, i also believe training is very important. we seem to have trainings about a lot of other things but sexual harassment and how to treat women on their workplace seems to be what a lot of places are lacking. we have implemented panic buttons so at this particular juncture, if a woman is in need of immediate support or help, then she'll have a panic button to be able to notify the security that's in place. >> and i would just add to that in terms of restaurants, of course, you know, in terms of preventative measures, yes,
trainings are super important. like i said, i worked in this industry for ten years. i have had one sexual harassment training at my most recent restaurant. needless to say, not at the one i spoke of earlier. but in addition to that, not only is preventative measures, you know, one of the big issues is that when it happens, you know, we don't always know what to do. we don't have the poster on the wall, we don't have the literature, you know, it's so normalized that we don't realize what we're experiencing is, in fact, sexual harassment and assault, so, again, it's just talking about it nonstop and shifting the culture as a whole. >> thank you. one of the things as i've talked to different people experiencing this, you see the health impacts, you know, you fear to go to work and, you know, things -- as well as the long-term wage impacts because if you leave a job, you quit a job before you have another, the impact it has there, so i think if we make that part of the
social media discussion, the public service, too, we understand there's an economic cost to women about this and also to the entire economy, as well as the health cost of people going -- fearful to work and avoiding work or calling in sick more because you're afraid this is going to happen. so however we can be incorporating the -- particularly with young people, too, when they're first coming into the first job to have that understanding, so however we can do this with eeoc and others, appreciate all your work in this regard. >> thank you very much. this is the order have so far for some of the -- the democrats. we have coming up speier, schakowsky, holmes, norcross, and cicilline.
>> your testimony was outstanding. the most important thing we have to put in place is accountability. i'm joining senator casey and introducing legislation that will be called stopping assault while flying, which will provide training and data collection and reporting. i'm fantasizing about being able to say, the flight attendants are here for your safety, sexual harassment will not be tolerated would be a great way of sending a message over the loud speaker on every flight. and for the restaurants and hotels, imagine if we had signs that said we reserve the right to remove you if you sexually harass. i mean, at some point, we've got to make sure that people are held accountable. both the employers and the guests. and i'm curious about a couple things, one, what your feelings are about requiring surveys and
sexual harassment training for all employees -- employers of more than 50 employees. >> we would absolutely support training for all employees. sexual harassment training for all employees. it's important to identify what it is, why it's wrong and what the unique responds needs to be. in addition to the reporting you're talking about in the legislation with senator casey. >> so in terms of tipped workers, it's a little more complicated than, you know, just coming from customers because, again, one of the things that really happened in my experience, i know i'm not alone in this, is that it's not just a matter of removing a rowdy guest. it's the entire culture of it and, again, remember that when it's tipped workers, you know, you're at the mercy of everyone
because everyone has that power over you. one of the things we're looking at specific to tipped workers is to actually get rid of that two-tier wage system all together and bring them up to a regular living wage and then that will -- that will significantly help them not have to be party to that or accept that, not only from customers and management, everyone in between. it would make them a lot more vulnerable it does still exist in these other sectors, but tipped workers are particularly vulnerable in that way. >> i think in the hotel industry, there's a thin line for what customers actually pay for. i think customers feel like they pay for privacy. so self-exposure is something they can do if they're in the privacy of their hotel rooms.
so definitely we need training. we need when you're crossing a line. when you're crossing certain boundaries. that this is no longer acceptable. that you're breaking the law. >> i just am so concerned that you have to wear a panic button. that to me is unacceptable. you shouldn't have to wear a panic button. everyone who comes into the hotel should know they shouldn't sexually harass and get away with it. thank you. >> after your testimony, it sounds like there should be panic buttons in quite a few of these industries. i agree with you. representative, thank you for bringing your witness. >> i want to thank all the witnesses. terrific testimony. i also want to acknowledge eleanor holmes-norton was the
first woman to be head of the eeoc 1977 to '81 so it's almost 41 years in may that she headed up the eeoc. i'm looking forward to her questions and comments. so one of you said it's not about sex, it's about power. who said that? okay. so i wanted to ask about the power structure. i know two of you are represented -- are part of unions. you're presidents of your union or roushaunda, you're a member of local 1. marie, you're a part of r.o.c.k. i don't know to what extent. that's what i'm really asking. in order to change the power structure, how important are organizations and unions to making that happen?
>> if we didn't have our union, we wouldn't even be here. we're only here because our union beat back the discrimination that turned this into a career. with the union, employees feel like they're not alone. they can be whistleblowers and feel the protections of the union, their rights as a whistleblower. we can also very quickly structure a communication with the employees that is confidential and they can feel free to share their experiences without having to worry about any impact on their employment. so unions really provide the structure for employees to be able to speak out, for women to be able to negotiate for equal wages, and to have an equal seat at the table.
and we've made a real difference and we've defined our roles through our union. but this is the next step now. this is not just about us claiming our own space. it's about the rest of the country saying that we're going to actually treat everyone in an equal way. and that there will be a balance of power. and our unions can help to push that to the next step because it's going to give the employees the freedom to do that. >> and i just want to congratulate you, too, on the passage of that incredible landmark ordinance that happened in chicago. hands off pants on. >> yes. >> i love the name, too. it's so out there, you know? would that have passed without the research and then the power of the union? sounds like you had help from the president of the chicago federation of labor, too. how did that organizing effort
work? >> well, the union was very instrumental in getting this ordinance passed. i don't think a lot of people in the hospitality industry have the resources to be able to fund a survey of this size, to be able to reach out to members and ask them to provide the comforting environment where women can speak out without the fear of retaliation from the employer. in this particular situation our union was very instrumental, very important on getting this ordinance passed. >> how's the panic button? are people using it? is it working? >> currently we are in the phase of letting -- i think it goes -- the law implements the panic button to be in place by june or july of this year. so trainings are definitely taking place right now. not all of them are implemented
but the hotels are getting their hands on the panic buttons to be implemented within the next few months. >> i hope they tell all the guests that that's the case. >> absolutely. >> marie, what is the tip wage nationally right now? >> nationally $2.13. >> i want everyone to listen to that. the minimum wage is $2.13. supposedly you make up the rest in tips. is that it? >> i mean, that's what they say, and some nights that's true, but nationally, i believe, so the opportunity center has done a lot of research on this and i believe that across all tipped workers, including tips, the average hourly wage comes out to about $9 an hour. so when people use that -- the national restaurant association really likes to say, no, no, no, they make so much in tips and, you know, that's true at some high-end restaurants, but, you
know, it's not for the girls working the overnight shift at the diner, it not the working mothers at ihop. it's just not a fair assessment of what we're really making. >> i see that my time is up. i just want to point out the department of labor right now is considering a rule that would say that all tips go to the employers. so i think in your industry, in the restaurant industry, we have a long way to go and that the tip wage is an insult to all workers and we should just get rid of it. >> absolutely. >> particularly women because you said, what, mostly it's like 75% women in the -- >> yeah, 70%. >> 70%. >> i also just want to add that, you know, on your note of getting rid of this two-tier system, there are seven states right now that have what we call one fair wage, so no tips minimum wage, it's all just the regular minimum wage and they actually have 50% less reports
of sexual harassment in our industry. >> and the very notion that an employer would say my customers have to pay my workers. >> yeah. >> i mean, doesn't really -- >> yeah, there's no other industry -- >> i don't know. thank you, all. thank you. thank you. okay. let's see. representative holmes-norton. >> thank you. i want to thank my colleagues for this very important hearing. it's the first of its kind. we've been focusing on the high-profile cases and that put the burden on women to come forward. when we're coming forward, then the women i think will feel more comfortable in a cross section of women. i certainly want to thank chair lipnic and my good friend, jan schakowsky, for noting my own work at the eeoc. i really feel this hearing updates my own understanding of sexual harassment.
it was very important to be here. i want to take social media, i'm a good friend of representative comstock asked about it in a different way. if you look at millennials and maybe some a little older get their news, they get it from facebook. we're talking about how do you get men -- thank you, dr. katz -- understanding sexual harassment. look, when you're going to have a demonstration in the united states today, you go on social media. all you got to say is where you'll be and people come. so if we are going to update, chair lipnic, and deal with some of the issues you raise like prevention, is the commission doing anything with social media, for example, as a way to reach men who are not likely to step forward and say talk to me on sexual harassment, or for that way, for that matter, in a
way to spread the notion of how shameful it is to engage in sexual harassment. has anybody at the commission focused on social media as a way to prevent and to get an understanding of why this must be prevented? >> congresswoman, we are taking a look at sort of all of our platforms in terms of how we communicate to the public on this issue and on issues of discrimination more broadly. how people will know about their rights and particularly for young people, as i mentioned earlier, we have a whole program for them but this is something we are -- it's an ongoing effort. >> you've been on the forefront, of course, you've come here before to talk about what you've been doing, the chair, the eeoc, has continued in its groundbreaking role. i urge you to use social media. i tweet more than i do releases. i tweet more than i talk.
that's because i know who i'm talking to. so i really think social media may be a better way to do prevention than all the lessons, excuse me. i did want to ask you whether the high-profile coverage, coming from this very body, with our own bill, with the way women have stepped forward themselves so courageously. has that resulted in an increase, if you look at when that began to occur, in complaints at the eeoc? >> we've been watching this very closely, as you might imagine, and we have not yet seen a surge in charges filed with the eeoc. now, part of this, a couple things, one is because of social media, you know, i think that a lot of younger people, in particular, but not exclusively, are not thinking that they want to have this whole complaint filed with the federal government and get the whole machinery of federal government
operating. they would rather just post something on social media. i think it will take at least a year before we're able to assess the impact in terms of our own charges. >> and some may file at state commissions. >> that's right. >> but it takes a lot of guts, frankly -- >> yes. >> -- to file one of these complaints. that's why i'm interested in what you had to say about prevention. >> right. we have seen -- we have definitely seen an increase because we are offering new types of training. so we have seen an increase in requests for training from the eeoc. most of our offices around the country are booked at least six months out right now in terms of requests for training. >> yeah. training by social media would be interesting because people may look at it. finally, let me ask you about your budgets in the last couple years. has there been any change in your budget, have there been increases, is it level funding? where do you stand?
you indicated a backlog. where do you stand on resources? >> right. so, well, i've been at the commission since 2010, and essentially, the commission's budget has been level funded for the past, certainly over the last five or six years. >> i note to the leadership of this panel that almost 100 members of congress sent a letter asking for an increase in your budget and now we're 2019 coming up, we might do that again based on what we've heard at this hearing. thank you very much. i yield back. >> thank you very much. very good to have you here. get some historic prospective. let's see, we have representative coleman. >> thank you to the women's caucus, i want to thank you for the opportunity to be leer today. to each of the witnesses, i'm really grateful for the information you shared. i know about discrimination, exists on all levels.
i wasn't thinking of the pervasiveness of this. i have questions about, for eeoc in particular. is there anything that we need to do to better define what is or is not sexual harassment? where is that line? is that, perhaps, a deterrent for women who may have encountered something not to file an actual action? >> congresswoman, i think there are many deterrents and certainly as the law defines it, and as the case law defines it, so if it's a quid pro quo case of sexual harassment, right, that you are asked for some type of sexual favors in exchange for a promotion or something, that's pretty obvious. >> right. >> the hostile work environment is the other type of harassment.
it is the case that harassment is on a continuum, though, right, so we have everything from, you know, at the far end, the flat-out sexual predators, to behaviors or remarks in the workplace that only under the law if they are severe or pervasive enough do they constitute something that is legally actionable, but that doesn't mean it's not harassment. >> right. >> you know, it may not -- it may not survive in court, but it doesn't mean that it's not -- >> i guess my other question is, depending upon how a woman reacts to that interaction, also probably impacts whether or not she's going to file or move forward in an action. in your office, in the cases that you either see on your level or through some of the state divisions on civil rights, i worked for one for many years, do women generally prevail on
their complaints of sexual harassment? >> i'm not sure i know the precise answer to that question, so i'd want to be careful in what i say. the -- you know, the eeoc in terms of charges of discrimination that are filed with us, we find cause, which means we think it's more likely that discrimination has occurred in about 3% of the charges that are filed with us. now, when we go to court, on any type of discrimination case -- >> i'm sorry, 3% on any kind of -- >> any kind. >> any kind of case. >> right. that's actually about the same in terms of harassment charges that get filed with us as well. when we go to court, the eeoc, our record is pretty -- is really good. i mean, we'll prevail in about 90% of the cases that we end up taking to court.
but i do think that, you know, concerns about both the legal standard and just generally the process that anyone has to go through, you know, not women or men in terms of sexual harassment, you know, we see horrendous cases of racial harassment. you know, it is a daunting process for people. and so efforts -- that was part of the reason for our task force, efforts at confronting it before it becomes legally actionable are really critical to dealing with this problem. >> so expanding the kind of training, training not only the employee to know what his or her rights are, but training the employer to know what can be interpreted is something that is obviously very important. are you anywhere near the capacity to be able to provide that kind of service, and if not, have you looked at what you would need as an agency in order to be able to do that?
my time is up, and after you answer that, i yield back. >> well, i will say -- >> thank you. >> -- quickly, we have looked at -- we've revamped a lot of the training that the eeoc offers on harassment, in particular. we developed a very particular type of what we call respectful workplaces training because one of our conclusions from our task force is not only does the training have to change, but is that civility, lack of civility in workplaces, one of the academics termed the gateway drug to harassment in workplaces. we have an entirely different type of training module. i do know and patty could probably speak to this, there is a lot of review right now by the employer community, by the legal community, by training providers about better ways to train on
this topic. different types of pedagogic techniques that will work including using things like social media that may make a difference, but i think everyone is really, including the eeoc, evaluating what is going to work best in this climate today. >> representative norcross? >> thank you, first of all, thank you for the chairs and quite frankly the entire caucus for putting this together and dr. katz, thank you for the statement you made. immediately came to my mind. the ultimate measurement of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. easy thing to do is sit there and let this go by and i like to use the rule, what would you do if they treated your mother, your wife, your daughter, that way? we need to apply that across the board. but one of the things i keep
hearing is about leadership and the culture and this brings me back to, in particular, the tip industry. $2.13 an hour. $7.20 an hour. do you realize it's been a decade since the last vote on minimum wage? not to suggest this wouldn't happen in other industries because we're here now, but the fact of the matter, those who are most vulnerable who don't have a chance to say no because they want to take home food for their child. making these worse and unbelievable decision is part of it. do you think if we eliminated across the board tips that would go a long way to addressing it, marie? your story was compelling. >> yes, absolutely. as i mentioned earlier in the seven states that have one fair wage rather than a tipped minimum, the incidences of sexual harassment have literally
been cut in half. as per our research at r.o.c.k. >> is that a remarkable statement in limit half of it by paying -- we're still talking minimum wage. gives everybody on this panel and congress the opportunity to raise wage act which would go a long way to addressing this. i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you. okay. representative custer, just to let you know, every member is asking one question or within the five minutes. thank you. >> thank you very much, congresswoman annie custer from new hampshire, and i want to thank you all. thank you for telling your stories and doing the research and one of the things we're changing. one of the things we did here because we need to attend to our workplace is try a training that's called green dot that was done the air force is using it. my goal, one of my goals to work
with my colleagues across the aisle is to bring new training to the u.s. capitol. that's much more interactive and i think along the lines of what you talked about that you have to make it more of an experience and include everyone in the training. it's not just on women and it's not just on women who are being harassed or sexually assaulted. but it's everyone can be part of the solution and i just wonder if you have any comment about how we approach that, how we include -- i want to thank mr. norcross to join us in the women's caucus. you're welcome any time. to have our colleagues here, thank you as well, our colleague from maryland just joined us. thank you, jamie. but it's everyone can be part of the solution and the power of that bystander in intervening and understanding what it is the tipped employee is going through. just any comments at all?
>> i would -- thank you for that question. green dot is among the experts who we had come testify in front of the task force at the eeoc and the concept being the bystander intervention. so we borrowed that concept from in what the types of training that have been taking place on college campuses related to sexual assault on campuses. i know dr. katz talked about that as well in terms of his testimony. >> thank you, chair. yeah, boy. let me say i'm one of the people who created or introduced this whole approach, bystander approach to the field. those of us, i can speak for a global consensus of men who work with young men and boys all over the world, multiracial, international environments, but here as well in the united states, the most effective training for men is what's called gender transformative training, giving young men and
boys the idea to talk about how cultural ideologies about manhood affect their behavior toward women, other men, and toward themselves. the bystander approach, the way i and my colleagues employ it, we talk openly about gender, masculinity, femininity. some of the ways that the bystander approach has been implemented in various settings has degendered and depoliticized it to the point where it becomes glorified nightclub bouncer training. it's like if you see something, say something training which is like tsa in the airports. what's really transformative is getting men in a room to talk honestly about the peer culture and what are the norms in here, what are the ways in which the dynamics between men affect men's ability to speak up when they see abusive behavior? so i just want to urge anybody here who's in any position to put together policy about prevention. gender has to be talked about. it's like if we're going to talk about working against racism and not talking about race, we're just going to say we need to interrupt a racist act when we see it but in the context of the training, we're not going to
talk about race. you know why? because some white people feel uncomfortable so we can't let them feel uncomfortable and as a result let's talk about how everybody can do it, talk about it in a degender, depoliticized way. i think that what's happened is so many women in the field are nervous that men are going to be uncomfortable in these conversations so they put together programming that's gender neutral so that men won't be pushed in any way, men won't be uncomfortable. i'm here to say as a man, been working with men for decades and decades. my colleagues do it all the time. men can handle the conversation. okay? men can handle being challenged. men can challenge each other. men can work with women. we can have separate spaces, by the way, for single gender training. that's one of the things that's clear in the sexual harassment field as a whole, is that a lot of men clam up and don't say anything. they sit there and take notes or they sit there and look at their watch during sexual harassment training because they know if they start talking honestly about their real beliefs and
feelings, some of them are sexist, some them are unchallenged, sexist attitudes and beliefs, then they're going to get slammed and they know they're going to get slammed so they just say, you know what, i'm not going to say anything. if you can put men in a room together with -- has to be guided with -- by people who know what they're doing. i'm not saying just go talk, but if you put men in a room in a single gender setting, a lot of men will be honest and will talk about real dynamics that are going on. same with women. i've worked in the military. i'm a pioneer of working in the sexual assault field in the military. 21 years since i started working with the military. 21 years. women in the military in mixed-gender settings rarely talk honestly about their experiences in front of men. if you get those same women who are in a mixed-gender setting in a single-gender setting, in other words, the women separated from the men, some of the same women who wouldn't have said a thing about their experiences of harassment and abuse will then start talking, oh, my god, this is what happened to me, et cetera. i'm not blaming these women. i think what the reason is, they don't want to share their vulnerability, they want to make
it in a very male-dominated system, in which acknowledgement of vulnerability somehow undermines your claims to authority. a lot of those women don't say anything. if you get them in a safer space, they'll be very honest. that's also true of men, when you get them in a safe space with other men guiding the conversation, i think a lot of men will share feelings and other men will be able to guide them and say, look, what you just said sounds to me like you're blaming her for your behavior. is that what you want to be doing here, is that what it means to be a strong man, going to shift accountability off of yourself onto her? the target of your harassment and abuse? you can say that as a man to another man in a way that because a lot of men aren't triggered in the same by by own personal experiences of harassment and abuse, you can be generous in the guiding of that conversation and it's much more, much more powerful than just keeping it degendered. last thing, the passive voice is the enemy of truth in this subject matter. when i say that, i mean the way that we think about the subject, the way we talk about it is so often governed by power as it's
represented by the passive voice. we say, for example, how many women were sexually harassed last year? as opposed to how many men sexually harassed women? we say how many women are raped on college campuses rather than how many men raped women. we'll see how many teenage girls got pregnant, rather than how many men and boys impregnated teenage girls. in each case, the use of passage language has the effect of shifting the accountability off of the group with more power onto the group with less, which is how power functions. in this case, through shifting of accountability,. so i think one of the challenges we have and you have as lawmakers is to think about how you can embed in language in the law accountability through use of active language whenever possible. >> okay. very interesting. thank you. okay. so here's -- we're going to have representative wilson and representative brooks, myself, and then representative will ask some questions. >> thank you so much to the committee for holding this hearing today.
this is something that is extremely timely. and i actually have two questions, if that's all right. okay. my first question has to do with power. the surge of power and role modeling across the country. and we have seen at the highest level of this government role modeling of disrespect for women. women who find themselves in a position that they are -- have been sexually assaulted or some, in some way, maligned by the highest level, the white house, our president. the united states -- >> excuse me, excuse me, the chair would remind members from engaging against personnel -- personalities against -- >> okay. who have been aligned by the
highest level of these -- the highest in government in these united states. and do you think that the whole tenor and environment of the country changes because of the actions of the persons, and that includes the congress and everyone else, who sets the tone for these actions? that's the first question. and that question is for everyone. and the other question is sort of an experience i had. i served in the florida legislature and while serving there, i did a lot of work in female prisons and in those prisons, there was a lot of power over the women inmates. and even with the passage of a
bill that i passed to make rape in prison a felony, because it was not a felony, you could rape a woman and use the term, defense -- i mean, use the term, consensual, as your defense, and get off. so once the bill passed and they could no longer rape the women without going to prison or be charged with a felony, then they began to withhold necessary items from these inmates like food and sanitary napkins and things that they really needed so they would go through the whole month without sanitary napkins, using just rags simply because they would not acquiesce. so this whole movement goes from the very top of government until
the very egregious part where we actually have people serving time that we put there who suffer. so i'm asking you, do you think that this has any impact over what you're trying to do and the issues that you are trying to bring forward because of the tenor of the country right now? >> i would say that a couple things. so everything we're talking about is certainly not new, right, it's not that this suddenly started happening, you know, because of the particular people in power right now. however, i would also say -- i think that, because it's spoken about publicly and sort
of normalized in the media in that way, that, you know, maybe some people are more emboldened to act that way or that, you know, they can be more flippant about, you know, their own actions in terms of who they have power over. that said, i think that in a more of a micro scale, it's this still happens everywhere because there are bubbles of power dynamics whether in a restaurant, in an airplane, whether it's in an area of government and then i also just want to add that -- i'm so sorry, i can't remember who said it earlier, but the -- the change has to come from the top and whether that's in your restaurant, whether that's in the, you know, whatever organization or whether that's, you know, the government of your country, like, you are setting the stage for what's acceptable.
so it surprised me that, you know, maybe some people would take from, you know, the current, you know, government or whatever is happening, specifically, in whoever's office, you know, it doesn't surprise me that maybe it would seem more acceptable because that is the stage that they're setting. >> thank you. i have a question, would like to ask the panel, building on the issue about power and changing the culture of leadership, we've heard that, accountability and leadership from the top. and i'm curious, for instance, roushaunda, with the hands off pants on campaign, has the management of the hotel industry bought into the campaign? i know it's now a local council
matter that passed as an ordinance. has the management agreed and are they, management of hotels and so forth, have they agreed to abide by those rules? >> i feel like i'm supported in my place of employment. i did need to make mention, though, i'm familiar with, if i'm not making minimum wage, i'm familiar with maternity leave, i'm familiar with osha standards, i'm familiar with if i'm being racially profiled, even everything to the flu. i know where i can go and get hand sanitizer. but it's alarming to me that i do not know where i can go and get help from guests that are harassing me. >> and i think --
>> where i can go -- where -- whom i can go to for protection. >> and that's actually part of the reason for today's hearing is to try to educate, and we really appreciate the chair of the eeoc being here, patty, you've served on the board that -- or the commission, the task force, that came up with recommendations and i know sara, you've recommended a task force specifically with the airline industry and i'm curious maybe, patty, from your work, and your work as a lawyer in this space, what are the things that we can do to better educate, better educate the workforce, better educate the leaders of the workforce, about how sexual harassment policies need to change, they need to be enforced, people need better training, it needs to start at the top. how do we do that?
and how do we in government and the eeoc help all the different sectors represented here? >> i think it's -- it is on all of us. it is a collective responsibility. the eeoc cannot do it all. it can't -- someone asked about mandating training. i think that's probably not the answer. i just testified recently in california before a bipartisan subcommittee. they're wrestling with similar issues, and they have mandated training in their state. and we don't have a lot of research about what training actually works and i think it's time for a lot of new ideas. bystander training, civilian training, different methods of delivery. i think what we're seeing, social media is so interesting because i think women, largely women, maybe younger people, are taking the matter into their own hands with the me too movement and time's up. the young woman from google who created the list.
it is true, as chair lipnic said, most women and victims do not want to report. that's the least common response. there's a reason for that. people, they just want the harassment to stop. so because even compliant employers who have good legally compliant policies who have maybe done training year in and year out haven't stopped the problem. i think we're seeing that people are taking it into their own hands. they're helping others to spread the word, to stay away from those people who are harassers, who are abusing, misusing their power, and they are protecting themselves that way. they're protecting their relationships, both professional and personal, and so i think we need to engage employers and employees together to come up with those new solutions. panic buttons, we wouldn't have heard of that ten years ago. so that's a solution. it's, yes, it's distasteful.
you'd like to think that no one needs to panic button in their workplace, but frankly, everyone's entitled to be safe. psychologically and physically safe in their workplace. and so if that's what we need now and that's what the employees are telling us they need, then they're entitled to that. and i think employers, the leadership of the employment, of all the workforces, they need to engage with their employees and find out what other solutions do you have, what else can we do? >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. thank you. again, this has been a very incredible hearing because i said, it's one thing to read about all this and then when you hear it, it's -- it's shocking because how pervasive sexual harassment and abuse is across these industries and it's very sad. you know, if somebody was -- if a ceo was robbing a woman -- a
hotel worker, a hotel maid, if someone went in and held her up and took her money, call the police, call the police, right? what is this? this is -- this is robbery in a way because we are basically hurting the pocketbook -- i mean, robbing the pocketbook of women across the country. either that or if you said, okay, no, what if they set up torture chambers in workplaces? that's not allowed. well, this is basically -- it sounds to me what's happening across this country. so i was very interested to especially hear -- just to follow up what you said, representative brooks, about the importance of leadership at the top, just really being very firm and demonstrative about sexual harassment not being acceptable. one of the reasons i think it's so important because when i
think of the -- especially of the restaurant and the hotel industry, that is a pretty transient industry. is that correct? so it seems to me that training is almost -- is probably very difficult. trying to figure it out. how do you do it? you're here today and gone tomorrow. representative holmes-norton i think made a very good point i thought about with somehow using social media. because somehow from the -- in terms of the potential victims, women and men, too, have to know how to say no, how to report, how -- right, how to defuse. that has to be part of this training. it's not just training men to be polite. it's also training the women or the potential victims how to respond and it's very hard, i would think, i don't know -- i want you to answer that, how we
get to the training in these transient industries and that what gets me back to this whole leadership issue. and other incentive -- because we're here -- we will during the course of these hearings showcase hopefully some really good programs that are going on, but ideas in terms of how congress can incentivize, i mean, is it tax breaks, is it letters, is it just letters, is it trying to get these ceos in a room? i mean, this is -- that's my question. if you can answer both those questions on the transient nature and how the, again, what we can do about getting to these ceos. >> i'd like to say that one of the things -- again, there's not
enough research on training and what's effective and we need more research, but one of the things we know is it can't be a one time effort. it can't be that annual training that so many employers have done year in and year out. it has to be continuous and that's where that leadership commitment comes in and devoting the resources. it could be -- there's training, many modules and microbursts that could be delivered to mobile devices that every employee can have at their hand readily available that they could watch. it could be part of regular meetings, however employees get communication from their employers. it could be almost constant. that comes from the leadership. what mess age do they wan to send. leaders have to be involved in sending the message and employees have to know that leaders mean what they say. >> you have an idea how we get to the leaders? >> yeah. actually, again, this task force report that we carry, we start out by talking about why leaders should be committed to this and so many reasons largely it's a
dollar that's an economic issue for leadership. if they don't believe it for other reasons, it's pretty compelling. >> can i also follow-up on that? i don't know exactly what you're already doing, so forgive me, please, but if you could -- i'll just say this as a fantasy. all members of congress should have annual training, not just one hour or two hours and it can't be done on social media, honestly and it can't be done on online training because that's important in terms of accessing information. we need people in the room. you need people in the room. all federal employees -- imagine all federal employees required to go through annual gender violence prevention training that includes sexual harassment but it's not exclusive to sexual harassment because sexual harassment is part of a continuum that includes abuse and sexual harassment in the workplace is one piece of a much
bigger puzzle. i've been advocating for years that municipalities and cities, mayors and city councils could require for all stow employees training that's up to seed with the best practices about how do you engage -- this is engaging men because if you make it required, not an optional thing, if you make it optional then women will show up and men will not. if you make it required and you say, ton an employee of this municipality or this organization or this government agency you'll have to go through annual training on these matters, then you'll get men coming in to the room who sometimes come in defensively. are we just going to hear another male bashing session? what they get if they get the best training available today is not that. they get an engaged conversation about what they can do in their personal and professional lives to challenge and interrupt men around them to act better. that has to be part of the training. it's not just about knowing what is sexual harassment and knowing how to not cross the line.
we have to engage people at a deeper level. when you do that with leaders, especially, the men can respond to that. if they can't then they're not capable of being leaders. if we say that we require this of good leadership in the 21st century, if you can't step up to that then you are failing to be a good leader. not that you're failing to be a nice guy or -- not sensitive enough. you're not professional and you're not successful. >> chair lipnic, maybe we have to get to the boards and then i'd like to hear about the transient worker, okay. >> two points just very quickly. one, as to the training, so it was said earlier, she's trained on lots of things but one of the critical parts about training is knowing what you as an employee can do, who are you supposed to go to and what the leadership of the organization has to communicate is that you will be taken seriously if you make a
complaint. and that is often times missing from a lot of training. training first line supervisors so that they know how to respond appropriately in any type of industry is critical and then the other point i would make is you've seen today from the service industries there are unique issues in the service industry and industries that in particular are highly dependent upon what the customer wants have very unique issues and certainly, you know, congress has jurisdiction over many industries in all of your committees of jurisdiction and the more you can engage industries specifically because they all have unique work situations and as sarah said earlier even engaging the airlines in terms of what's very specific to those workplaces or what's very specific to hotels because of the customer service nature, that makes that unique. other industries are going to have differences and the more
you can engage industry throughout industry is important. >> did you want to add something? >> yeah. >> go ahead. >> so i can actually sort of speak to both of your questions. one, just about restaurant workers being transient workers. while that's true, i also just want to emphasize that, you know, that's not true across the board. he with do have a lot of veterans. it's not just, you know, people in college trying to get some spending money, you know. these are professions for people as well, restaurant jobs, and when i speak of one fair wage i also want to point out that that actually helps with employee retention as well. so it's not just, you know, $3 here, when you value your employees they feel empowered and that's helpful across the board. in terms of, you know, how you can help us, we also have an
organization called raise which stands for restaurants advancing industry standards and employment. they work with the restaurant opportunity center to educate operators and employers on how to take the high road. in funding organizations like raise they provide training for managers not only sexual harassment training but know your rights training which would be incredibly helpful across the board as i've mentioned. not only in my own experience but as, you know, it seems like that's a very common experiences, not really knowing where to turn, what your rights are, what your resources are and that would be incredibly helpful as well. >> i think -- representative comstock and holmes-norton, i'd like to ask you and our transportation committee to have a hearing on sexual harassment in the airline industry and maybe we can set an example for some of the other committees
that might try to do something similar. did you want to -- >> i want to join too as being part of the transportation committee. >> i think we should do that. >> sure. i think we can all agree. that was one of the things that i -- maybe we take note of as we go through this process, but if it's something i guess particularly with victoria, the number of board members in all these various industries on of women or, you know, as well as just diversity in general, when i looked at the media boards as all of these stories were breaking with charlie rose and -- it was mostly men, and, you know, i think women have hit the 20%, sheryl samburg talks about the 20% at the top of all of these professions, it's also
the case of board and it hasn't been growing. so i think how does that impact particularly in an industry that's particularly dominated by women, yet it's a reverse on who's on the boards and how we can look at that and how we can come up with some ideas -- it's highlighting it too. in working with some of the companies particularly trying to get more women in leadership, one of the things they point out maybe this is the way to get on it is that companies that have women -- more women at the top have a higher return, they're doing better financially. they're just making more money in general so it's not only illegal and first of all, more rally wrong and illegal it's financially stupid. the more women we can get in senior roles the more we are going to have a prosperous and well performing company. i think a lot of companies that
have done that have found that to be true so that the literal tour does exist out there on that so we had a workforce hearing where we did bring forward people there so maybe we can highlight that as well as the board membership too, to make this an economic issue for the country as well as for the individual women who are losing traction in their lifetime earnings because of harassment. thank you. >> i just have a quick question and if you can't answer this i do want to answer to it. it's surprising the findings of the report for me was there's very few studies about the issues of harassment faced by women of color, lgbt women, older women and there is a intersexual -- intersectional harassment piece in here that if we don't do the research, if we don't include that factor in our
studies, how can we address that? and so that's something to me that is very important, that we understand how sexual harassment -- some women of certain groups and socioeconomics. in cults are targeted, older women, younger women, more than others. and if we really want to move forward to addressing this issue, we need to include that in our studies. >> i would just say, i think that might be another effort of us maybe next spending -- appropriations bill to get some money for research. for the eoc. >> well, it is 4:00. i can tell the fact that hardly no one has left the room, except for some members that have had to go to other obligations, but i really want to thank everyone for coming today, for sharing. obviously we realize that this
is a significant issue. we knew it, but i think you really have -- are shining the light on the issue, particularly in the service industry. we want to thank you for your courage, for your hard work. in addition to your other work that you do for yourselves and your families. i also want to thank the other witnesses and to the chair for being here all afternoon essentially. really appreciate you all coming in. you've given us a lot of ideas of things we can continue to work on together. i want to thank the members of the women's caucus for ensuring lois and i to put this on. i think that we see that we have a lot of work to do. we're very pleased, though, that we are coming together and we're committed to continuing to work in this -- working in a bipartisan way on this really critical issue. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> with that, this meeting and hearing and adjourned.
while on capitol hill, housing and urban development secretary ben carson addressed how a dining set costing about $31,000 was requisitioned for his office. you can watch all of the house hearing on c-span.org. here is a look at his comments. >> well, thank you for that opportunity. first of all, when