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CAO Says Staffers Give Harassment Training a 4 out of 5

Nearly half of House staffers have completed mandatory sessions

Staffers have been asked to give feedback after every harassment training session. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Staffers have been asked to give feedback after every harassment training session. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Anecdotal evidence shows House staffers haven’t exactly been gung-ho about the recent workplace harassment and discrimination training.

But according to the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, the sessions have received high marks from Hill staff — with an average review score of 4.4 out of 5 points. 

Attendees offer anonymous feedback and their rating at the end of each 90-minute training session. 

“Well over half” of House staffers required to complete the Workplace Rights and Responsibilities education sessions by July 2 have done so, the CAO said. 

House Resolution 630, adopted in November, requires each member, staffer and employee of the House to complete an annual education program focused on workplace rights and responsibilities.

The 90-minute-long training takes place in rooms of the Capitol complex. Individual sessions have seen anywhere from six to 40 attendees.

Training exercises include instructors and trainees talking through mock scenarios of harassment in the workplace. They also discuss sexual harassment as well as diversity and general biases.

Attendees can ask questions on note cards, and they’re given the trainer’s contact information to submit anonymous questions online. All answers are posted online.

The House awarded its training contract on April 6 to the firm FranklinCovey, which specializes in management and workplace training. Sign-ups for the roughly 400 sessions in D.C. began on April 16.

Since then, offices have been receiving periodic reports updating management on how many of their staffers have completed the sessions.

Offices could choose to do the training together in a session of their own, but that would cost them $4,275 from their Members’ Representational Allowance funds to be paid to FranklinCovey. Such requests had to have been made by April 25. The CAO said some offices had taken this route, but it didn’t provide specifics. The $4,275 cost could also be shared by more than one office, which some have done, the CAO said.  

Staffers in district offices also have to complete the training and travel to one of 90 sites FranklinCovey has set up across the country.

Those locations could be minutes or hours away from the district offices, depending on the state. District offices usually consist of around eight staffers, so that would require at least two vehicles to get everyone to the training site. Travel expenses also come out of each office’s MRA.

Staffers in Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands can take the course via live webinar.

As a result of another House resolution, adopted in February, the CAO is also working to establish an Office of Employee Advocacy to provide legal assistance and consultation to House employees on relevant issues.

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