Top Senate leaders say a former senate aide’s allegations of sexual harassment will be investigated if she files a formal complaint, but even if she doesn’t, senate policies governing sexual harassment will be reviewed soon.
“This summer we’re going to sit down as leaders and make sure that we have a very strong policy and procedures on sexual harassment and other issues,” Senate President Pam Jochum, a Democrat from Dubuque, said today.
Kirsten Anderson was fired Friday from her job as communications director for Senate Republicans and she went on a Des Moines TV station Sunday morning to say she had complained about how women were treated by other senate staff and by legislators, too. Her boss says Anderson was fired for doing “substandard work.” Jochum said at this point, there’s nothing to investigate since Anderson hasn’t filed a complaint.
“It really is a personnel issue,” Jochum told reporters.
Mike Marshall is the secretary of the senate, a senate employee who helps manage staff as well as the debate in the senate. He told reporters today that the senate’s written policy regarding sexual harassment is “about 20 years old” and there have been periodic training sessions with videos detailing what is and isn’t appropriate in the workplace.
“It has been, in the past, provided for staff on a mandatory basis and then, individual senators on a voluntary basis,” Marshall said.
Anderson, the woman who alleges the capitol work environment was “toxic” during her five-year tenure there, was being paid nearly $60,000 a year when she was terminated.