New HR job to handle sexual harassment at Iowa statehouse

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Republican leaders in the Iowa Legislature are creating a human resources manager position to oversee sexual harassment complaints at the statehouse.

The move comes about six weeks after the state agreed to pay $1.75 million to settle a lawsuit involving a former Senate Republican staffer who alleged sexual harassment at work.

Staff for the GOP-controlled House and Senate in Iowa plan to hire someone before the start of the legislative session in January. The job, which does not directly reference sexual harassment issues in its description, will not involve oversight by an independent state agency. Experts on sexual harassment issues say the setup raises questions about accountability.

Senate staffer Kirsten Anderson filed the lawsuit after being fired in 2013, hours after reporting sexual harassment in the GOP caucus office. There also have been growing complaints about alleged sexual harassment at state capitols around the country following sexual abuse allegations against film mogul Harvey Weinstein.

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