Wilson refuses harassment training, may lose staff
The chair of the House Rules Committee says if a North Pole Representative doesn’t go to sexual harassment training by the end of the month, she will lose her two staff members. During session, as head of the Rules Committee, Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux authorizes all the hiring and firing.
That’s not likely, however, since Rep. Tammie Wilson says before she’ll go to that training, she wants a third-party investigation into how allegations of sexual assault were handled by the House Majority Leadership. Rep. LeDoux has said that won’t happen, since an internal investigation by a non-partisan member of the legislative council, Human Resources Manager Skiff Lobaugh, determined that House Leadership did nothing wrong.
Rep. Wilson did not show up at the mandatory training held on the second day of the legislative session. She says losing her staff is a small price to pay for a message she wants to send.
“Whatever consequences come it’s worth it," Wilson said. "I mean, you have to stand up for women and men who have been sexually harassed in the workplace and feel unsafe. This is the time to do it and if I have to have the punishment and unfortunately my staff, who are very supportive of what has happened as part of that, I just have no other choice.”
On a whiteboard in her office is a guessing game of when Rep. Wilson’s two staffers would be fired. Wilson says people didn’t know how to handle the awkward conversation.
“There was tension and I wanted them to know it’s ok to talk about it,” she said.
Rep. Wilson adds that her two staffers are 100 percent supportive of her decision not to tend the training, even if it means they lose their jobs. Both her staff have already gone through the sexual assault training. Rep. Wilson says they are unfairly being punished by Rep. LeDoux.
“How someone could retaliate when they took the training or are scheduled to take the training is beyond me,” she said.
In an email exchange given to us by Rep. Wilson, Rep. LeDoux writes that she “wants all legislative staff to have a safe working environment. I would not feel comfortable in the current environment allowing employees to work in an environment where their supervisor is not trained.”
The administrator for the Select Committee on Legislative Ethics says not going to the training is also a violation of state statute. If Rep. Wilson doesn't go, there could be a complaint filed against her.
A press secretary for the House Majority told KTVA through email that Rep. LeDoux is going to personally talk to Rep. Wilson and offer her alternative training dates, but that if she doesn’t attend one of them, her staff will be fired. However, as soon as Rep. Wilson completes the training, she can re-hire her staff.
The press secretary says, “it’s unfortunate that Rep. Wilson is playing politics with the lives of her staffers.”
Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: