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By the Numbers: Harassment Claims on Capitol Hill Peaked in 2011

2016 saw the lowest number of claims over the last 10 years

The U.S. Capitol as seen from the East Plaza. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
The U.S. Capitol as seen from the East Plaza. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With two Democrats, Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota and Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, facing allegations of sexual misconduct in and outside the workplace, Hill watchers may be wondering just how many sexual harassment complaints get filed each year in the Capitol. 

The answer is less than clear because Congress’ Office of Compliance releases only topline numbers on the complaints filed with the agency each year. In the OOC annual report on the state of the congressional workplace, harassment is one line item, which could include sexual and other types of hostile workplace harassment. 

When Roll Call pulled the numbers from the last 10 fiscal years (2017 is not yet released), the highest number of harassment complaints came in fiscal 2011, with 113 cases out of a total of 333 — roughly a third of all complaints. 

[Congress’ Compliance Watchdog: Settlement Payouts Highest in 10 Years]

There were 15 harassment or hostile work environment complaints discussed during the OOC’s formal complaint process in fiscal 2016 — the lowest annual total of the years Roll Call analyzed.


In all, there were 83 complaints raised to the OOC in fiscal 2016, which could include training or leave and discipline issues, in addition to the harassment or hostile workplace category.

The employee complaints covered by the report came from staffers in offices in the House, Senate, Architect of the Capitol, U.S. Capitol Police and the Office of the Attending Physician.

In 2016, the AOC had the highest number of complaints from employees in their office at 19. The Capitol Police were next with 18, and the House and Senate had eight combined. 

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