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Workplace discrimination not a new issue in Congress

Issues of workplace discrimination -- particularly sexual discrimination and harassment -- dominated the news headlines in late 2017. These newsworthy events involved not just well-known celebrities, but also politicians throughout the United States. While some employment lawdisputes are taken all the way through the litigation process, others are settled out-of-court. Of course, workplace discrimination in Tennessee and across the nation is not new. In fact, recent statistics reveal that between 2008 through 2012, over $342,000 was spent settling workplace discrimination disputes in the U.S. House of Representatives. Of that, almost $175,000 was paid out to settle disputes involving sexual harassment and discrimination.

These statistics were the work of the U.S. House Office of Compliance. This entity is funded by federal taxes, and deals with settlement payouts to workers in the House of Representatives who have employment law disputes. This means the statistics include not just politicians who may have discrimination claims held against them, but also staffers who may have discrimination claims held against them. The statistics recently released did not name specific names with regards to who the discrimination claims were being lodged against.

Specifically, according to these recent statistics, $342,225.85 was paid out to settle discrimination claims from 2008 through 2012. Of that number, approximately $115,000 were paid out to settle three claims of sexual harassment. In addition, around $53,000 was paid out in the settlement of five claims of sexual discrimination. Other claims included an age discrimination, racial discrimination and wrongful retaliation.

With this recent report and the numerous politicians currently facing sexual harassment allegations, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate will be requiring all U.S. congressmembers and their staffers to go through a training program on sexual harassment. Also, legislation is being introduced that would get rid of mandatory confidentiality clauses with regards to mediated employment law disputes, and legislation has been introduced that would require congressmembers to repay with their own money any payouts made via taxpayer dollars in employment law settlements.

Hopefully the current climate of employment law in the U.S. Congress will change. All workers deserve to work in a discrimination-free environment. Those who have questions about employment law issues such as discrimination are encouraged to bring their concerns to an attorney.

Source: spectrumlocalnews.com, "House Paid Over $300K In Workplace Discrimination Disputes," Dec. 19, 2017

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