The Research Department of the Minnesota House of Representatives found in a recent survey that 20.4 percent of staffers and 19.7 percent of members have “experienced or witnessed” something “that could be described as sexually harassing behavior.”
However, when asked who they have “seen subjected to sexually harassing behavior,” the top answer among both House members and their staffers was “no one” at 46 percent for members, and 45.8 percent for staffers.
Additionally, the report found that most “sexually harassing behavior” was witnessed at “off-premises events.”
Overall, 40.9 percent of House members said they were “satisfied” with the “work culture,” and 40.9 percent said they were “very satisfied.” None responded that they were “very dissatisfied” with the work environment. Similarly, 45.4 percent of staffers said they were “very satisfied” with the workplace culture, and 38 percent said they were “satisfied,” while just 1.8 percent said they were “very dissatisfied.”
For several of the questions, the House Research Department lumped “inappropriate behavior” with “sexual harassment” and “discrimination,” but didn’t provide any details on what may constitute “inappropriate behavior.”
Nearly all of the respondents said they were familiar with the “policy against discrimination and harassment,” and knew how they could “report” an incident.
Among House members, 72.7 percent said they had “never” experienced or witnessed “anything that could be described as sexually harassing behavior in the legislative workplace.” Those numbers dropped slightly to 69.8 percent among House staffers.
Finally, 70.8 percent of House members and 56.2 percent of House staffers said they would not be “afraid of retaliation” for reporting “harassing, inappropriate, or discriminatory behavior.”
The survey was conducted in response to an April Resolution on Workplace Safety and Respect adopted by the Committee on Rules and Legislative Administration. The survey was open to members and staff from October 4 to November 1, and allowed for anonymous responses.
The survey recommends that “all members and staff” receive “harassment and discrimination training at least every two years.” Additionally, it recommends training for “House chairs, leadership, and members of the personnel committee” on “implicit bias,” which should be conducted every one or two years.
The full results of the survey can be read here.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Minnesota House Chambers” by Chris Gaukel CC2.0.