House Speaker Linda Upmeyer says part of this year’s “enhanced” anti-harassment training for lawmakers has emphasized that all 150 members of the House are in positions of authority.
“The things you say to people, the way you handle yourself can be interpreted differently when you’re in that position,” she says.
Legislators represent a wide range of occupations and personal experiences when they meet as a group in Des Moines. Upmeyer says the training has reviewed how legislators are perceived by others.
“We have to remind them that you guys do have sort of an authority position when it comes to the employees and that’s something we’ve worked hard to make sure is clear,” Upmeyer says.
Upmeyer hired a human resources director for the legislature last fall, shortly after a fired staffer in the Iowa Senate was awarded more than a million dollars to settle her sexual harassment lawsuit. Late last week, Upmeyer again told reporters she “can only speak for the House.”