Contact: Ron Boehmer 202-225-2906
Members also ask if omission was intentional after facilitators were told to explicitly exclude such guidance
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (WI-02) today led a group of 58 House Democrats in calling on Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Rep. Gregg Harper, Chairman of the House Administration Committee, to include guidance on sexual orientation and gender identity as part of the Workplace Rights and Responsibilities education program attended by Members of Congress and staff. The Members also expressed concern that omission of this content was a deliberate decision, after learning that program facilitators were directed to explicitly exclude guidance about discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity as part of the training.
“Despite a stated objective of the training – to decrease harassment and discrimination – the program omits any discussion of discrimination in the workplace based on real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity,” wrote the Members. “We are especially concerned that the omission of content on this subject may be a deliberate decision rather than a simple oversight. Upon completing the training and inquiring about the issue, a Member was told that the program facilitators were directed to explicitly exclude guidance about discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity as part of the training.
“While the stated goal of the training is laudable, comprehensive guidance on critical workplace safety issues requires a discussion of harassment and discrimination related to sexual orientation and gender identity. Any directive to exclude this content from the programming intentionally leaves congressional offices open to harmful workplace violations,” Members continued. “Whether this decision was intentional or inadvertent, it is critical for the well-being of this institution and its employees that the programming is amended to include a discussion of these issues. As Congressional offices shine a spotlight on the importance of workplaces free from harassment, I urge you to update the content of the training to fully incorporate guidance on these issues.”
The full letter is available here.