State task force established to review sexual harassment, discrimination policies in agencies
Gov. John Bel Edwards issued an executive order announcing the Governor’s Task Force on Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Policy. The seven member board is tasked with reviewing current harassment and discrimination policies within every state agency that falls under the executive branch, as well as researching and identifying the most effective ways to create work environments that are free from any form of harassment or discrimination.
“Every person, whether they work in state government or private industry, should be able to do their jobs without fear of being sexually harassed or discriminated against,” said Gov. Edwards. “There is no circumstance under which harassment or discrimination of any kind will be tolerated by my administration. This task force will help us identify which current policies are effective and which ones are not, whether new ones need to be implemented and whether additional changes need to be made in these areas. The goal is to ensure state employees are safe at work and have the confidence in knowing that any allegation made will be taken seriously and that there are adequate procedures in place to address those complaints. The work has already begun, and we will have helpful discussions and feedback in very short order.”
The duties of the task force members include the following:
- Review the sexual harassment and discrimination policies of each state agency within the executive branch.
- Research and identify the most effective mode of training to prevent workplace sexual harassment and discrimination and evaluate the effectiveness of the existing video state employees are required to view each year.
- Develop a protocol for sexual harassment and discrimination policy orientation for new employees, those participating in any state sponsored training academy and employees promoted to supervisory positions.
- Research and identify the specific conduct that should be prohibited by sexual harassment and discrimination policies.
- Research and identify a clear reporting process when an allegation is made as well as the most appropriate action that should be taken once an investigation is completed.
The task force will make specific recommendations to ensure uniformity of sexual harassment and discrimination policies across the agencies and submit a report to the governor regarding its findings no later than March 1, 2018.
Further, before January 1, 2018, all state agencies within the executive branch are to review their policies relative to sexual harassment and discrimination and submit a detailed report to the commissioner of administration.