Speed Reads

Sexual Harassment

California Senate hires firms to investigate sexual harassment allegations in the Capitol

After more than 140 legislators, staffers, political consultants, and lobbyists signed an open letter saying there is a "pervasive" culture of sexual harassment and mistreatment in the California state Capitol, California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León announced Monday he has hired two outside firms to investigate the allegations.

The law office of Amy Oppenheimer will conduct an external investigation into the accusations, while the consulting firm CPS HR Consulting will review the Senate's policies on harassment and discrimination, the Los Angeles Times reports. "There's always more employers can do to protect their employees," de León said in a statement. "Everyone deserves a workplace free of fear, harassment, and sexual misbehavior and I applaud the courage of women working in and around the Capitol who are coming forward and making their voices heard."

It's not enough for some of the women who signed the letter. "To find the truth and rebuild trust, we need a truly independent investigation, not a secretly hand-picked self-investigation," Adama Iwu, government affairs director for Visa and the leader of the campaign, told the Times. "We need full transparency. How was this firm selected? Who will they report their findings to? What exactly are they investigating? Is the Assembly involved?" The signers are launching a nonprofit called We Said Enough, which will advocate for victims of harassment and abuse.