Iowa Senate Republican staffer fired after reporting sexual harassment
A female former staffer for the Iowa state Senate Republicans says she was fired only hours after she reported sexual harassment by male lawmakers.
In an interview on Sunday, Kirsten Anderson told WHO-TV that she had worked as the communications director for the state Senate Republican Caucus until Friday when she was fired after providing documentation about the sexual harassment.
“When you go to the workplace, you should have a safe environment,” she explained to WHO-TV’s Dave Price. “Women especially should not have their body parts scrutinized, objectified. People should not be ridiculed or mocked for simply the color of their pants that they are wearing, and those sorts of things were taking place at the Capitol.”
“Things that would make you blush,” she recalled. “Things that you don’t want your daughter, your mother, your sister having to put up with. And that sort of attitude about women — objectifying women — it has to change.”
Anderson said she was told that the senators “had the authority to terminate me at this time.”
Pressed by Price, the former staffer said that she was not prepared to name names because her complaint “was more about changing the work environment.”
Ed Failor Jr., a top assistant to state Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix, on Sunday insisted that Anderson had been fired for failing to improve her work performance.
“I can assure you that under Senator Dix’s leadership, sexual harassment is not and will not be tolerated,” Failor told the Des Moines Register. “She was given an opportunity to improve her work performance and it did not improve.”
Watch this video from WHO-TV, broadcast May 20, 2013.
(h/t: Talking Points Memo)