South Dade News Leader: #MeToo Movement an Opportunity to Change American Workplaces for the Better

By Carlos Curbelo

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Washington, D.C., December 8, 2017 | Joanna Rodriguez (202-225-2778) | comments

When I worked in the private sector, as a School Board Member, and now as a Member of Congress, I've always tried to establish a culture of respect and decency in the workplace.

The revelations of the #MeToo movement the last few months have given the unacceptable behavior taking place in many of America's workplaces attention it has long-needed. Sadly, harassers hide in positions of power across many fields – they're in our schools and universities, in small businesses and private corporations, in the media, and most despicably, in government.

Those in positions of power — especially elected officials — should never be allowed to hide or cover up their inexcusable behavior. The heroes of the #MeToo movement who have bravely come forward deserve our respect. These stories are tragic and I greatly wish none of these instances had ever happened, but the bravery of those coming forward has given our nation an opportunity to better itself. We must take it.

I believe that Congress must lead by example in taking up this opportunity. Currently, the process for reporting workplace harassment on Capitol Hill puts an unacceptable burden on victims and protects harassers with mandated nondisclosure agreements, little oversight, and massive payouts of taxpayer dollars.

Representing the American people as a Member of Congress and working on their behalf as a congressional staffer is a privilege, and all those with that honor need to show one another respect. I hope House leaders will continue to work with Members to bring stronger legislation, like the ME TOO Congress Act, to the floor so we can ensure the House of Representatives is an example of the kind of workplace all American businesses can aspire to be.

Now is the time to take action, because if we do this right, we can create a culture where my daughters — and all our children — won't need to fear being treated this way.

Read the full column here.

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