Akron, OH– More cases of harassment in the Ohio Statehouse have were uncovered this week after several media outlets requested records from the legislature. The request comes on the heels of a sexual harassment scandal involving a state senator who resigned recently.
Additional Harassment and Discrimination Claims Against Ohio Lawmakers Uncovered
Three legislators were ordered to undergo harassment and discrimination training over the past three years according to records obtained by reporters. Just one incident involved sexual harassment; the other claims involved discrimination, according to Cleveland.com.
One incident involved state Rep. Michael Henne, R-Dayton who was accused of saying something inappropriate to a group of people in 2015. A woman among the group filed a complaint, and Rep. Henne was ordered to participate in sensitivity training. He also lost his position as the vice-chair of a committee over the incident, Cleveland.com reports.
Rep. Henne did not recall what he said but insisted his comments were not sexual. He said in an interview that it was “embarrassing” he upset someone.
In 2017, Democrat Representative Bernadine Kennedy Kent was ordered to undergo remedial training after a former employee accused her of age discrimination.
Another Democratic lawmaker was reprimanded for making a racial comment. There is no record of what the comment was.
Resignation of Senator Cliff Hite
A Republican Senator from Findlay was forced to resign in late October after allegations that he repeatedly solicited a legislative staffer for sex. He pursued her for several weeks even though she rebuffed his advances over and over.
Hite’s harassment was revealed by a memo drafted by the woman’s employer. He resigned just a few days after the memo was sent out.
State and National Lawmakers Mull Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training
Days after Hite’s resignation, the Republican-controlled Senate in Ohio said they believe that sexual harassment training should be mandatory.
Politico reports that two top Republican Senators and a prominent Democrat are working together to craft bipartisan legislation to address sexual harassment on the Hill, including mandatory training and a revamp of reporting procedures.
Currently, staffers who are the victims of harassment must attend mandatory counseling and mediation before they are allowed to file a complaint. The process can take months, so victims are reluctant to come forward.
Congressional lawmakers are concerned about the reporting procedures in Congress. Several officials in Congress told CNN that they are unable to even get a count of how many sexual harassment complaints have been lodged in the Capitol.
Workers don’t have to tolerate harassment. If you face discrimination, harassment or other workplace abuses. Let USAttorneys connect you with a lawyer with an in-depth knowledge of Ohio’s workplace discrimination and harassment laws. We have a devoted team of sexual harassment attorneys in Akron, Ohio.