網頁

Thursday, March 15, 2018

麻州眾議會議長兩度聲明 議會不知眾議員DiZoglio曾受騷擾


“The comments of the two representatives that agreements were used by the House to cover up wrongdoing are based on irresponsible speculation. The fact that the House today enacted a provision that waives any non-disclosure or non-disparagement provision of any agreement executed prior to today directly refutes their irresponsible speculation. The rule adopted today specifically waives any non-disclosure or non-disparagement provision of any existing agreement and allows any current or former member, officer or employee of the House to report or discuss a claim of sexual harassment or retaliation based on sexual harassment.
“The House along with outside legal counsel conducted a through independent review of our entire human resources function. The review revealed deficiencies in our current function and those deficiencies were rectified with today's vote. As part of that review, counsel met with the Attorney General’s office to discuss best practices. The review did not identify any reason to notify the Attorney General, much less require the Attorney General to conduct a review, nor did anyone raise a reason to do so today.”


Statement of Speaker Robert A. DeLeo

Most importantly, as I informed the Boston Globe yesterday, I would like to say that we believe Representative DiZoglio’s statements regarding the harassment she experienced after the incident that occurred in the House Chamber in April of 2011 and we are deeply troubled by them. No member, officer or employee of the House of Representatives should be subjected to the sort of treatment described by Representative DiZoglio.

That said, the Boston Globe has made a number of unsubstantiated allegations some of which have no basis in fact.

·        To be clear, yesterday was the first time that I or any member of my staff, House Counsel’s Office or House Human Resources heard of the harassment Representative DiZoglio experienced after the incident that occurred in the House Chamber in April of 2011.
·        Members of my staff, and Counsel’s Office met with Representative DiZoglio three times in June of 2011 as part of the investigation into the incident that occurred in the House Chamber that April. At none of these meetings did Representative DiZoglio report that she was experiencing harassment. She did repeatedly express concern for her job security and frustration with the media’s coverage of the matter.
·        No member of my staff, House Counsel’s Office or House Human Resources met with Representative DiZoglio on this matter after the conclusion of the investigation June 14, 2011.
·        Despite being instructed to the contrary, Representative DiZoglio’s then supervisor unilaterally terminated her employment on August 31, 2011. I reiterate, as I said yesterday, that Representative DiZoglio’s then supervisor notified the House only after he had unilaterally terminated her employment and that the termination was not consistent with House procedures.
·        Within days of the House receiving notification of Representative DiZoglio’s termination, House Counsel was contacted by an attorney representing Representative DiZoglio.  Her attorney similarly never raised the issue of harassment with the House at any point in the course of representing and negotiating for Representative DiZoglio.
·        While I cannot speak as to whether Representative DiZoglio’s former supervisor instructed her not to talk about the incident, I can say unequivocally that neither I nor any member of my staff, House Counsel’s Office or House Human Resources instructed Representative DiZoglio that she was prohibited from speaking about it while she was a House employee. In fact, at the conclusion of the investigation in June of 2011, House staff specifically informed her that she was free to speak to the media if she wished to do so and, at her request, assisted Representative DiZoglio with the preparation of a statement to the media. 

Below is the full statement provided to the Boston Globe on Wednesday March 14, 2018:

“At the outset, I would like to say that we believe Representative DiZoglio’s statements regarding the harassment she experienced after the incident that occurred in the House Chamber in April of 2011 and we are deeply troubled by them. No member, officer or employee of the House of Representatives should be subjected to the sort of treatment described by Representative DiZoglio.

“The incident that occurred in the House Chamber in April of 2011 was investigated by the House. That investigation determined that no member, officer or employee of the House had engaged in any inappropriate conduct. This conclusion was based on interviews with several witnesses, including Representative DiZoglio. Representative DiZoglio was personally informed of the results of the investigation and expressed her agreement with the conclusion.  It was also our understanding at the time that Representative DiZoglio appreciated and approved of the way in which the House addressed the matter.

“At the conclusion of the investigation, Representative DiZoglio did express concern about her job security as a legislative aide. Because of her concern, and in light of the results of the investigation, the House repeatedly notified her then supervisor that Representative DiZoglio had not engaged in any inappropriate conduct and that no disciplinary action was warranted or would be approved by the House.

“Regrettably, approximately two months after the investigation was completed, and despite receiving numerous warnings that disciplinary action was not appropriate, Representative DiZoglio’s then supervisor unilaterally terminated her employment. It is important to note that Representative DiZoglio’s then supervisor notified the House only after he had unilaterally terminated her employment and that the termination was not consistent with House procedures.

“Shortly after receiving the notification that Representative DiZoglio’s supervisor had unilaterally terminated her employment, the House was contacted by an attorney representing Representative DiZoglio. House Counsel and Representative DiZoglio’s attorney then negotiated a termination and severance agreement that we understood to be mutually acceptable to both the House and Representative DiZoglio. At no time during these negotiations did Representative DiZoglio’s attorney allege the harassment you have detailed today on Representative DiZoglio’s behalf.

“It has been highlighted over the course of the last several months that victims of sexual harassment are often reluctant to come forward for a number of reasons. This matter appears to be an instance where – unfortunately, but understandably – a victim has only recently become comfortable reporting the harassment that she experienced. However, the fact that this is the first that we have been informed of the harassment endured by Representative DiZoglio does not diminish the House’s commitment to investigate these allegations.

“As for your specific questions the answers are as follows:

  1. Prior to today, and specifically when she was interviewed as part of the investigation of the April 2011 incident, Representative DiZoglio was adamant that no inappropriate conduct occurred in the House Chamber. Moreover, Representative DiZoglio was represented by legal counsel and to hear now that she did not want to agree to the terms of the termination and severance agreement is troubling. Her attorney competently negotiated the agreement on her behalf and we presumed that his client was in agreement with the terms.

  1. With respect to the Representative’s contention that the nondisclosure and/or non-disparagement provisions of the agreement were an attempt to silence her and/or to cover up the harassment she was experiencing, we were only made aware of her troubling allegations of harassment today by virtue of your inquiry. Prior to today, and specifically when she was interviewed as part of the investigation of the April 2011 incident, Representative DiZoglio has been adamant that no inappropriate conduct occurred in the House Chamber. Nor did she raise concerns of any other inappropriate conduct at that time.  Moreover, her attorney never raised the issue of sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct/comments of a sexual nature during the negotiations which led to the execution of the termination and severance agreement. While we understand why a victim of such harassment would fear disclosing it, we have to reject any assertion that we were aware of it prior to today or that we sought to silence her and/or to cover up any harassment with the 2011 agreement.

  1. Currently, the House employs approximately 480 people (not including members). Since January 1, 2010 more than 860 employees have concluded their employment with the House of Representatives. Of those, approximately 150 had their employment terminated by the House (or separated from employment in some way other than a voluntary resignation). Of those 150 employees, approximately 33 individuals (less than 4% of all those concluding their employment with the House during this period) were offered a small severance payment in exchange for executing a written agreement.

None of these agreements were to settle complaints of sexual harassment, but rather a formalized process for providing terminated employees with a modest severance benefit. Since Speaker DeLeo was elected Speaker, the House of Representatives has not paid any money to settle a complaint of sexual harassment/misconduct brought against or by any member, officer, employee or third party.
  1. The Speaker believes that the Rules amendments that will be debated tomorrow will greatly strengthen the House’s ability to address the issue of sexual harassment specifically as well as other general employment matters. Additionally, the Speaker believes that the House has used these agreements judiciously in the past. That said, the Speaker is working with the Chairman of the House Committee on Rules to prepare an amendment that would do the following:

    1. While none of the 33 agreements previously executed by the House were to settle claims of sexual harassment, the Speaker’s amendment will require House Counsel to waive any non-disclosure or non-disparagement provision of any such agreement executed by the House prior to 3/15/2018 to allow any current or former member, officer or employee to report or discuss a claim of sexual harassment or retaliation based on sexual harassment.
    2. In an effort to maximize the resolution options available for victims while minimizing any inappropriate use of these agreements, the amendment will provide clear guidelines for any future House use of agreements to settle a legal claim or a potential legal claim.  Specifically, it would ensure that no member, officer or employee of the House can execute any agreement to settle a legal claim or a potential legal claim of sexual harassment, or retaliation based on a legal claim or a potential legal claim of sexual harassment unless the following conditions are met:
                                                        i.      the request to negotiate the agreement is initiated, in writing, by the person filing or eligible to file the legal claim or potential legal claim or a person legally authorized to represent that person;
                                                      ii.      the person filing the legal claim or eligible to file the legal claim is given 15 days to review and consider the agreement;
                                                    iii.      the duration of any non-disclosure or non-disparagement provision of the agreement is for a finite period of time as agreed to by the parties;
                                                    iv.      the agreement specifically provides that no provision of the agreement, including any non-disclosure or non-disparagement provision, shall preclude any party from participating in an internal House investigation or an investigation by any law enforcement agency; and
                                                      v.      the agreement is approved in writing by House Counsel, the HR Director and the (to be appointed) Equal Employment Opportunity Officer.”

No comments: