- Associated Press - Saturday, July 29, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Attorneys for a former Iowa Senate Republican caucus aide awarded $2.2 million in a sexual harassment lawsuit this month have filed a motion seeking an independent investigation into the caucus office’s workplace culture.

Attorneys for Kirsten Anderson filed the motion Thursday, the Des Moines Register reported . It accuses GOP party leaders of doing nothing to curb an ongoing toxic environment at the statehouse.

If a judge approves the motion, the caucus would be ordered to hire an independent consultant to complete an investigation and write a report. Republican Senate leaders would also be required to hire a consultant to develop new policies and training designed to stop sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

The motion also asks for the appointment of a five-member panel of human resources and employment law experts to oversee the Senate Republicans and their staff to ensure compliance with any of the judge’s orders. Under the request, a judge would continue this supervision of the caucus for five years.

A spokesman for the caucus did not return a call from the newspaper seeking comment.

In her trial earlier this month, jurors sided with Anderson, 39, who was fired in 2012 as the caucus communications director hours after handing in a memo detailing rampant sexual harassment in the caucus office.

Anderson testified that sex, race and sexual orientation were regular topics of conversations and jokes in the office and that one man in the office regularly referred to women using an obscenity. Jurors also heard testimony from others accusing a former Republican state senator of making comments about female lobbyists’ and staffers’ bodies.

Following the verdict, Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix, R-Shell Rock, issued a statement saying any issues that arose during the trial “will be investigated and addressed immediately.”

But Anderson’s attorneys point to Dix’s comments in the same statement expressing disappointment with the verdict and again asserting that Anderson “was terminated only for her poor work product and absolutely no other reason.”


Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com

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