By Pat Kessler

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) —  A new survey reveals that one in five legislators or staffers in the Minnesota House has seen or experienced sexual harassment at the State Capitol.

The month-long survey was conducted by the Minnesota House in October.

Its findings show that House employees and some lawmakers believe sexual harassment in the legislature is fairly common — a problem House leaders say they are moving quickly to address.

“What the country is learning is that women view this differently than men,” said Democratic Rep. Melissa Hortman. “And for too long, men have been running the bulk of the workplaces and seeing conduct that they don’t perceive to be sexual harassment, and women do see it as sexual harassment.”

The anonymous survey found that 20 percent of Minnesota House staffers and elected lawmakers either have witnessed sexual harassment or have been a target themselves.

These findings come after a year of multiple harassment allegations at the Capitol.

Respondents who saw or experienced sexually harassing behavior said most of it happens away from the Capitol, but also in legislator’s offices.

And a number of respondents said it happens “everywhere and anywhere.”

The Minnesota House spent a year studying sexual harassment in the workplace. Two legislators were pressured into resigning a year ago after allegations of harassment: one Democrat, one Republican.

Now, every House member and staffer is required to take sexual harassment training.

Pat Kessler

  1. Sexual harassment is free speech and freedom of conscience, especially if people keep their hands to themselves and it’s just verbal.