Female Staffers in DC Face Unusual Gender Hurdle
National Journal: Some say they're not allowed to be alone with the boss, ever
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2015 2:02 PM CDT
The Capitol building is seen through the columns on the steps of the Supreme Court.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

(Newser) – A poll by the National Journal of women who work as congressional staffers has turned up a surprising hurdle they face: Some are never allowed to be alone with a male boss, ever. The idea is to avoid even the hint of impropriety, which might work great for the congressman but not so much for a woman trying to do her job or perhaps move on to a better one. And, of course, it means that male employees are the ones called on to attend one-on-one meetings or go to evening events. It may be more than unfair—some experts think it's illegal.

"The practices are clearly discriminatory in my view," an attorney who specializes in job discrimination tells the Journal. The story makes clear that such rules aren't "the norm," but examples turned up often enough in the survey of more than 500 women. "It's definitely something that a lot of women on the Hill experience and not necessarily because the boss is creepy or that it's protecting her," says a female GOP House aide. "It's to make situations not seem untoward."