Civil Rights

Congress may finally do unto itself as it has long done to others. During the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, it was widely noted that Capitol Hill had exempted itself from prohibitions on sexual harassment, as well as most other rules it has imposed on employers. But an amendment to the civil rights bill, which the Senate began debating on Oct. 23, would give Congress' 33,000 employees the same protections as other private-sector and government workers. Since lawmakers have always been reluctant to let other agencies poke into their business, they're still likely to bar the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from investigating complaints on the Hill. Instead, workers would first have to go to in-house panels, then could take their cases to court.

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