News & Press: Announcements

Workplace Anti-Harassment Committee (WAHC)

Wednesday, September 2, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Erin Roosa

A little over three years ago, the curtain was pulled back, exposing the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace and forcing the issue onto the mainstage of our culture. WGR immediately began working to support members to recognize, recover from, and prevent harassment. The Safe and Productive Workplace Environment (SPWE) Committee was founded and immediately began collaborating with thought leaders. The Committee also engaged the WGR membership with a confidential survey answered by nearly 200 women. More than half of those responding reported that had experienced sexual harassment and most had tolerated it to keep their jobs. Many did not trust their HR departments and did not know their rights.

The SPWE committee took these results and built website of resources for those who might experience sexual harassment, not just inside their workplace but in doing their work on the Hill and elsewhere, as well as those who supervise and support them.

Since then, the work and role of the Committee has evolved. Recently, the committee reevaluated the name and mission in order to refine and focus what the Committee hoped to accomplish. The new committee, the Workplace Anti-Harassment Committee (WAHC), will work to empower WGR members, task forces, and committees to prevent and eliminate sexual harassment and hostile work environments. A hostile work environment may be created both inside and outside of an immediate workspace, ranging from uncomfortable behavior from superiors and peers to sexual harassment and assault and sex discrimination. The committee’s strategies include:

  • Informing WGR members on available resources related to knowing their rights, reporting sexual harassment, and navigating hostile work environments;
  • Cultivating an environment of professional support for members who experience sexual harassment and/or a hostile work environment;
  • Supporting members in preventing and addressing harassment at their organizations internally and with clients and external partners; and
  • Educating external partners and elected officials on the prevalence of sexual harassment and discrimination field of government relations.

As the Committee invigorates it’s mission and strategies, the WAHC is partnering with the Financial Services Task Force for a workshop, Workplace Equity: Empowering Women to Thrive Through Controversy on September 9th. This will be a chance to discuss workplace equity at the intersection of financial services and government affairs. This event was born of the sexist remarks that Representative Ted Yoho (FL-3) made to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14). This event will feature Toni Bellissimo, Executive Director of the Card Coalition and Emily Dickens, Corporate Secretary, Chief of Staff and Head of Government Affairs of the Society for Human Resource Management, facilitated by Shannon Patrick of the Centurion Group.

The Committee will also provide the WGR membership additional opportunities to come together to discuss this important issue, as well as continue to collaborate with thought leaders and decisions makers in order to execute the Committee’s mission and goals. We hope that you will join us on this journey! The WAHC is also invites you to join the Committee as we continue this exciting work. If interested, please contact Jaime Werner at jwerner@congressfoundation.org.