DIX’S DENIAL: Staffer Not Fired Because of Harassment Claims

UPDATE: Iowa Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix, a Republican from Shell Rock, strongly denies a former staffer’s claims that she got fired after she told higher-ups that male staffers and senators harassed her. Dix told Channel 13 news Monday night, “Looking at the situation, Kirsten has made some assertions on her part. From my standpoint, this is strictly an issue of her career performance.”

Dix said his staff told Anderson early in the legislative session that she needed to improve her performance as the senate Republican caucuses communications director. Some of Anderson’s duties included writing news releases and legislative updates for constituents. Dix said, “We’ve worked with her over the last couple months. Her performance on the job hasn’t met the standards of my expectations.”

And because Anderson’s performance hadn’t improved, Dix said, “She had been notified her job could be in jeopardy. It should have not come as a surprise to her that her employment was terminated.”

 Dix said he doesn’t tolerate harassment in the office. He said, “From my perspective, we’ve been offering a calm and professional climate for her to work in.”

He added that he wasn’t aware of Anderson making any previous complaints about inappropriate behavior in the workplace. Dix responded, “No. Not to my knowledge. Not with me or my staff.”

When asked why Dix decided to fire Anderson the same day she presented her document to him alleging her complaints, he responded, “The two are unrelated.”

Dix maintained it was just a coincidence those two events occurred on the same day.

PREVIOUS STORY POSTED MONDAY NIGHT:

Governor Terry Branstad said Monday the senate should look into claims by a fired Iowa Statehouse staffer who claimed Sunday in an interview on Channel 13 News that male staffers and senators sexually harassed her.

Kirsten Anderson served as communications director for senate Republicans and said senators were among those who made inappropriate comments about her body and clothing.

Anderson sent a memo to her staff supervisor expressing those concerns the day she was fired. Read the full memo here.

Branstad said, “I think it should be investigated by the senate. It’s a separate branch of government. So I think they have the right procedures in place and they should investigate and determine whether or not…whether those allegations are true or not.”

But Branstad pointed out several times the legislative branch is separate from the executive branch and that it is the senate’s jurisdiction to look into the claims.