Vote to repeal harassment transparency protections came just months before scandals brought spotlight to issue
INDIANAPOLIS— Congressmen Rokita’s and Messer’s recent stands on sexual harassment can’t make Hoosiers forget about their votes to eliminate protections and sunlight for victims just months before congressional scandals came to light.
Just two months before a series of harassment reports began to shock Washington, Congressmen Rokita and Messer voted in February to end transparency requirements that companies bidding for federal contracts disclose recent workplace sexual harassment issues and other labor violations.
Their vote also allowed those companies to take workers with harassment complaints to arbitration instead of to court, where employees are more likely to win, according to Politico. Under the rule overturned in the February vote, federal contractors would have been prevented from using arbitration, a method responsible for keeping settlements like those seen at Fox News secret.
Yet now, with political pressure mounting, Congressmen Rokita and Messer have flip-flopped within a matter of months. Both men now support legislation that would grant transparency to sexual harassment settlements for congressional staff after denying similar protections to the employees of federal contractors. Meanwhile, some of their GOP colleagues have introduced legislation that would now ban the “very same secrecy agreements that [Congress] voted to keep legal less than a year ago,” Politico wrote.
“Standing up for harassment victims should be a matter of principle, not a cause to support only when you can score political points ,” said John Zody, Chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party. “Flip-flopping on an issue as serious as sexual harassment after it comes into the spotlight just goes to show how obvious it is that Congressmen Messer and Rokita aren’t truly interested in the positions they’re grandstanding on.”