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Lessons from the sexual harassment scandals in Congress

Legislators from Florida are taking action on the recent scandals involving members of Congress and alleged unwanted sexual advances. The resignation of Sen. Al Franken and the planned retirement of Rep. John Conyers has prompted Congress to implement new rules with regard to sexual harassment awareness and training. During a news conference on the same day that Franken went public with his decision to step down from his legislative duties, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that members of Congress will be required to attend training on workplace harassment before every session.

Representative Theodore Deutch from Florida's 19th district has sent a letter to Congress demanding to learn more about the allegations brought against the two aforementioned politicians. At this point, the congressional Office of Compliance has responded that such complaints are handled confidentially; however, Representative Deutch and other lawmakers demand to know more about settlements, reassignments, retaliation and overall handling of complaints filed by victims.

On Capitol Hill, the ongoing scandals have managed to call national attention to various issues such as wrongful termination and unwanted sexual advances in general. These are situations that can take place in any work environment, from the halls of Congress to the corporate parks of Florida.

The potential legal and financial repercussions of sexual harassment complaints cannot be understated. Individuals who have been retaliated at work due to reporting harassing behavior may want to obtain legal counsel. In some cases, employers unlawfully fire workers for reporting such behavior. If necessary, a lawyer could potentially file a lawsuit for damages on the worker's behalf.

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