In a twist of irony, a Democratic congresswoman who made it her business to squash sexual harassment on Capitol Hill by drafting a bill, had a snarly situation right under her nose.
A Politico report early Tuesday revealed that Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.) employs a chief of staff who has been the subject of numerous complaints by women in the office. In late October, the congresswoman introduced the Congressional Sexual Harassment Training Act, which would “require every congressional office to enroll employees in training to prevent sexual harassment.”
“I care deeply about preventing and responding to sexual harassment in federal workplaces, and I believe it is unconscionable that every congressional office is not required to participate in this simple training solution that is already available,” Lawrence said at the time.
Three of the lawmaker’s now former aides told the pub that Chief of Staff Dwayne Duron Marshall behaved differently around the female employees than he did the male staff. And that’s putting it mildly. They said he made “inappropriate comments” and “physical contact” that made them uncomfortable.
The congressman was vague on what action she took — if any — to address the situation in her own office. She said no sexual harassment had transpired.
Marshall is still her chief of staff. He has held the position for nearly three years.
The employees who complained called the congresswoman “complicit” in the negative workplace atmosphere.
The office has officially been Weinsteined. Behaviors ranged from comments on female employees’ appearances, remarks on a female staffer’s legs to unwanted back and shoulder rubs. He’d allegedly comment on female staffers wearing flat shoes as opposed to high heels. One semi-ridiculous detail: Politico‘s story says he’d brag that three women in the office had landed spots of The Hill‘s “50 Most Beautiful” list, a beauty contest that emerges each summer on Capitol Hill.
The list of weird alleged behaviors and commentary goes on and on.
The most damning quote of all came from a former aide who reacted like this to Lawrence’s denial: “She’s completely full of shit.”