The Harassment Settlements and Payments in Congress

The Congressional Office of Compliance has released the following data on its settlement of sexual harassment claims against members of Congress. Visit the site yourself:

Since 1997 (through 2017), there have been 264 settlements for a total of $17 million disbursed to pay claims.

The worst year? 2007, with 25 complaints settled for over $4 million in settlements, followed by 2002 with 10 complaints settlement for almost $4 million. 2017 is almost $1 million as of November 16.

Wait! There’s more!

If a staff member wishes to file a harassment complaint, he or she must first trot through an Office of Compliance process (from the office’s website):

“Counseling” is the name given to the OOC’s intake process. To file a claim of harassment (or any other violation of workplace rights under the 13 statutes incorporated by the CAA), you must request counseling within 180 days of the date of the alleged violation.
Although the OOC counselor does not provide you with advice about the strength or merits of your case, upon receipt of the counseling request, she considers the information that you provide and gives you information on your workplace rights and the administrative procedures under the CAA.

Wait! There’s more!

The whole process is secret. After counseling you go to mediation. Here are the rules on mediation:

At the beginning of the mediation process, all parties sign an agreement to keep confidential all communications, statements, and documents that are prepared for the mediation. Information obtained, exchanged, or imparted during mediation may not be disclosed by the mediator or any party to the mediation. This means that you can’t discuss what was said during mediation or share information you learned for the first time through mediation. The purpose of this limited confidentiality obligation is to encourage the parties to share information in order to seek resolution of the claim.
Wait! There’s more!

Here are the rules on settlement.

Whether and how to settle a claim are matters for the parties to decide. The OOC does not have any standardized language that parties are required to include in their settlement agreements, and it does not require parties to include nondisclosure provisions in those agreements. The contents of settlement agreements— including any provisions governing disclosure—are solely determined by the parties and their representatives. The only statutory requirement for settlement agreements in the CAA is that they be in writing.

Wait! There’s more!

No names or actions are revealed. You wlll never know which elected officials did what and when. Again, from the website:

Under current law, the OOC is not authorized to release information about individual awards and settlements.

Wait! The last straw!

Tax dollars paid for everything!

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
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