Texas House Expands Its Sexual Harassment Policy

Texas House Administration has expanded its sexual harassment policy document to include mandatory training for legislators and staff which must be completed by Jan. 31st.  Note - there doesn't appear to be an enforcement mechanism for legislators that do not comply with the new requirement.

It describes sexual harassment as the following:

Unwelcome actions such as the following are inappropriate and, depending on the circumstances, may meet the definition of sexual harassment:

• Sexual pranks, or repeated teasing, jokes, or innuendo;

• Verbal abuse of a sexual nature;

• Touching or grabbing of a sexual nature;

• Repeatedly standing too close to or intentionally brushing up against a person;

• Repeatedly asking a person to socialize during off-duty hours when the person has said no or has indicated that he or she is not interested;

• Giving sexually suggestive gifts or displaying in the workplace sexually suggestive objects; • Repeatedly making sexually suggestive gestures;

• Making or posting sexually demeaning or offensive pictures, cartoons, or other material in the workplace; or

• Off-duty, unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that affects the work environment.

The policy outlines where complaints against members or staffers will be directed and also specifies that complaints will not be subject to public record request.  However the list of those that have completed (or not completed) the training will be available to the public upon request.

Read the policy here via the Texas Observer.

The Texas Tribune also has great coverage here and has set up a way to collect tips on those who've experienced harassment and would like to discuss their experience with the Texas Tribune (scroll down the page).

Amy WhitedComment