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Senate Moves Sexual Harassment Rule Change

January 11th, 2018 by Mike Vasilinda

The Florida Senate Rules Committee today approved new rules for training Senators and staff about sexual harassment. The rules come after two resignations last fall. One because of an affair with a lobbyist, the other after multiple complaints from staff and others. Senate Rules Chairman Lizbeth Benacquisto says the training is mandatory and annual.

 

“Prior to the opening day of every regular session, all Senators shall complete a course at least one hour in length, that addresses workplace harassment, sexual harassment sensitivity, and the proper handling of such issues in the workplace. It’s also states that Senators filling a vacancy complete the course before being sworn into office” Benacquisto told committee members.

Afterward, we asked why the training could be done in private sessions.

“If the training is interactive and gives the opportunity for an individual to ask a question, what do you think about this? You know, they might not be as free to ask that question in front of other people, and it might be about something that is happening to them, and for them to be able to ask those question about whats being done to them in private is appropriate” the Rules Chair told us.

The rule also prohibits retaliation, but at least one Democrat is worried the rule doesn’t specifically spell out what constitutes retaliation.

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