sexual harassment

Washington House representatives listen to testimony, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, before they unanimously voted to approve a code of conduct for the Legislature in Olympia, Wash.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

The handling of sexual harassment in the state Legislature will evolve following a new code of conduct that has already passed one chamber.

The unanimous resolution was passed in the House, and it’s the first bill of the 2019 legislative session to change the chamber’s workplace culture in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

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Following eight months of meetings, a workgroup on the prevention of sexual harassment in the Washington state House is recommending the formation of an independent office where victims could report misconduct.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

In response to the #MeToo movement, the Washington state Senate will create a new human resources officer position to investigate complaints of harassment and other workplace misconduct, replacing a previous system of “facilitators” who served as a go-to resource for victims.

Washington Legislature

Washington House leaders are recommending that state Rep. David Sawyer, D-Tacoma, lose his chairmanship, but are not demanding he resign from the Legislature, following the findings of an external investigation into his conduct that could also result in an ethics probe.

Washington Legislature

Two embattled Washington state representatives have filed to run for re-election—despite ongoing investigations into their conduct.

Democrat David Sawyer of Tacoma and Republican Matt Manweller of Ellensburg both registered their candidacies with the Secretary of State’s office on Monday, the first day of filing week.

Washington Legislature

Washington House Democrats voted Wednesday to suspend state Rep. David Sawyer as chair of the Commerce and Gaming Committee, pending the outcome of an investigation into workplace conduct. House leaders said the rare disciplinary vote was prompted by preliminary results of that investigation into Sawyer’s behavior toward women that “confirmed evidence that supported some allegations” against the three-term Democrat.

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Oregon officials have hired outside lawyers to investigate allegations of discrimination, harassment and abusive behavior at the state's economic development agency. 

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday signed into law several measures aimed at addressing sexual harassment in the workplace. They include a prohibition on non-disclosure agreements that silence victims of harassment or assault.

In March, Governor Jay Inslee announced Dale Peinecke's resignation as commissioner of the Employment Security Department following a workplace conduct investigation. But Peinecke ended up running the agency remotely for two more months after that.
Washington Employment Security Department

Washington Employment Security Department Commissioner Dale ​Peinecke is resigning following a workplace investigation into allegations he behaved inappropriately toward women on his staff.

ASU Department of English - tinyurl.com/y9rody2b

In the opening scenes of the documentary film United by Water, writer Sherman Alexie reads his poem ‘Powwow At The End Of The World.’

     I am told by many of you that I must forgive and so I shall
     after an Indian woman puts her shoulder to the Grand Coulee Dam
     and topples it. I am told by many of you that I must forgive
     and so I shall …

Washington Legislature

As a politician, Washington state Rep. David Sawyer of Tacoma says he’s in the business of getting to know people and networking. As a 34-year-old unmarried man, the Democrat says he sometimes tries to date within political circles because those are people who understand his life best.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Efforts to address sexual harassment in the Washington state Capitol have suffered a setback. Legislative leaders had pledged to improve the workplace climate following reports late last year that revealed a history of misconduct at the Capitol. But finding a solution has proven more difficult than expected.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Victims of sexual harassment are urging Washington lawmakers to take steps to make the workplace safer. At a public hearing Wednesday, lawmakers heard personal stories and a rare acknowledgment of past failures.

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Washington lawmakers are taking steps to address sexual harassment at the state Capitol. The House passed a resolution Thursday to establish a task force on sexual harassment. Members will include lawmakers, lobbyists and staff.

Deborah Wang / Northwest News Network

The Republican leader in the Washington state House says he was sexually harassed at the Capitol more than a decade ago. Dan Kristiansen revealed his experience Thursday during a legislative preview event hosted by the Associated Press.

Washington House Republicans - tinyurl.com/yc7cqc2w

Public records released by Central Washington University this week show professor and GOP state Rep. Matt Manweller is barred from contacting past or present students while the school investigates allegations of sexual harassment against him.

Washington Legislature

This story has been updated

Washington state Rep. Matt Manweller has been placed on paid leave from his job as a professor at Central Washington University pending an investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct.

The university released no details of the allegations, but said in a statement that the investigation will be conducted by an outside investigator and “will be thorough, objective, and fair."

Previously Manweller has been accused of sexually harassing and even propositioning females students at the university—allegations he denies.

Walker Orenstein / The News Tribune

The ex-wife of Matt Manweller contends the embattled GOP state representative leveraged his age and status as her former high school teacher to marry her when she was 18.

In an interview with The News Tribune, The Olympian and Northwest News Network on Friday, OraLynn Reeve spoke at length about her courtship and marriage to Manweller, who has been investigated for allegations of inappropriate interactions with students at Central Washington University, where he teaches political science.

Washington Legislature / Washington Legislature

A fiery top Republican in the Washington Legislature is facing renewed scrutiny over allegations he sexually harassed students as a professor at Central Washington University.

Washington Legislature

Washington state Sen. Karen Keiser said she wants to encourage disclosure of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace. To that end, the Democrat introduced legislation on December 4 that would place limits on non-disclosure agreements.

WSDOT - tinyurl.com/yddspl8b

Women who signed a “Stand With Us” anti-harassment letter to Washington legislative leaders in November say they want a “safe, neutral space” to formally and informally report allegations of misconduct.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

In response to recent reports about sexual harassment at the Washington state Capitol, a state Senate committee voted Tuesday night to require all senators and staff to take annual sexual harassment training.

The vote by the Senate’s Facilities and Operations Committee was unanimous.

WSDOT - tinyurl.com/yddspl8b

Beginning next year, Washington state senators and Senate staff will be required to take annual sexual harassment training. The Senate’s operations committee unanimously approved that requirement at a meeting Tuesday night.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

More than 170 women who work or have worked at the state Capitol have signed onto a letter urging sweeping change at the Legislature to end inappropriate behavior and misconduct women say they face on the job.

Washington Legislature

A former legislative assistant for Washington state House Democrats says she was sexually harassed by Rep. Jim Jacks nearly two years before he was forced to resign for “inappropriate behavior,” but that the House’s system for addressing misconduct failed her.

Washington Legislature

A Washington state lawmaker who abruptly resigned his seat in March 2011 had been accused by a female staff member of inappropriate behavior.  

That’s according to a statement released late Wednesday by House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan in response to renewed questions from the media about the resignation of Democrat Jim Jacks of Vancouver.  

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Leaders in the Washington Legislature said they won’t tolerate sexual harassment, and encourage women to report unwanted attention from men. Those comments follow our investigation with The News Tribune of Tacoma into the workplace climate at the state Capitol.

Women At Washington State Capitol Say 'Me Too'

Oct 31, 2017
Pamela Wang

Nicole Grant was excited when she arrived at the state Capitol in 2010 to lobby on behalf of the Certified Electrical Workers of Washington. A journeyman electrician by training, Grant would be representing her fellow union members on issues such as workplace rights and safety.

Grant quickly realized that the workplace climate in Olympia was different than anything she had experienced.

Oregon Legislature

Oregon state Sen. Sara Gelser said a fellow lawmaker sexually harassed her at the Oregon Capitol. Gelser, D-Corvallis, first raised the issue publicly on Twitter last week, but initially said she would not name the lawmaker in question. 



Douglas County PUD

After 50 years, Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife will no longer operate the Wells Hatchery on the Columbia River near Pateros.

The Douglas County PUD, which owns the hatchery and a satellite facility in Winthrop, decided Monday to exercise a 90-day termination clause in its contract following an investigation into a “highly sexualized workplace” culture at the facility.

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