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Feds To Visit Oregon Capitol After Sexual Harassment Training Complaints

<p>The Oregon Capitol in Salem.</p>

John Rosman

The Oregon Capitol in Salem.

Leaders from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will visit the Oregon Capitol this week after some legislative employees complained about mandatory sexual harassment training led by an EEOC staff member.

Almost a half-dozen legislative employees signed onto a Feb. 7 letter raising concerns about the harassment training. They said the trainer was dismissive of some forms of inappropriate behavior and discouraged people from coming forward to report harassment.  

Lawmakers responded to the letter by promising to do better and calling on the EEOC to respond. Representatives from the commission will participate in a listening session with staff who raised concerns about the training.

Top Democrats in the statehouse have vowed to improve workplace conduct training after sexual misconduct scandals rocked the Salem Capitol.

Two years ago, two female lawmakers accused Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, of repeated inappropriate behavior. Kruse denied any wrongdoing but later resigned his seat.

Late last year, investigators with the Bureau of Labor and Industries reported the legislature has  a hostile work environment when it comes to sexual harassment. Lawmakers are in mediation with the state over possible solutions.

A new legislative Committee on Culture is considering how to create a better environment for victims of sexual harassment and to prevent harassment from happening in the first place.

Copyright 2019 Oregon Public Broadcasting

OPB Staff