NC lawmakers discuss sexual harassment training at General Assembly

General Assembly (CBS North Carolina)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Across the country, there are increasing instances of sexual harassment allegations from Hollywood to the business world and government.

CBS North Carolina wanted to know what protections are in place at North Carolina’s legislature.

“Anyone who works in the General Assembly should feel confident that they can report harassment of any nature,” said Sen. Terry Van Duyn, (D-Buncombe County).

That is where policy comes in.

A review by the Associated Press of all 50 state legislatures finds those policies and procedures vary greatly when it comes to sexual and other kinds of harassment and how to report them.

“There are certainly policies and procedures which address it today,” said Sen. Floyd McKissick, (D-Durham County). “I think the important thing is that all staff are aware of it, as well as the legislators.”

“What women have assumed, at least women my age, is that their experiences were unique to them,” said Van Duyn. “What we’ve learned in the last few weeks is that is not true. This is a very pervasive problem.”

CBS North Carolina requested Thursday to see the North Carolina General Assembly policies through the legislative services office but have not heard back.

Lawmakers said they receive training at the outset of their two-year terms.

A complaint can be sent to the Legislative Ethics Committee.

“Legislators are forewarned when they first take office that proper conduct is expected,” said Rep. John Faircloth, (R) Guilford County, one of the chairs of the Legislative Ethics Committee.

Some lawmakers think, given what has happened nationally, people should come to the table and review what is on the books.

“I think we probably need to put together a committee that really looks at this issue holistically and comes up with some recommended policies and procedures that will better inform our staffs, as well as legislators,” said McKissick.

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