House and Senate leadership will meet to review of how workplace harassment issues are handled in the General Assembly, according to a Tuesday press release. The meeting is in direct response to allegations of workplace harassment involving four Colorado legislators.
The Executive Committee of the Legislative Council is hiring an independent consultant to review the legislature’s existing procedures regarding workplace harassment and issue recommendations to the legislature, as well as to determine the review’s scope and timeline.
The review will research the matter and seek input from those involved, and will then hold a hearing on the recommendations and proposed rule changes.
The review will also look at:
· A best-practices survey of workplace harassment policies in other states and the private sector.
· Whether an independent body or other neutral third-party organization should be established to handle workplace harassment complaints, and potential models to consider.
· Suitable methods for reporting complaints, including online reporting options.
· How confidentiality should be handled in workplace harassment or sexual harassment complaints.
· Suitable remedies for complaints of workplace harassment.
· Record keeping.
· Protections against retribution.
· Proper safeguards to allow patterns of harassment to be clearly detected and handled appropriately.
· Best practices for awareness and training on what constitutes workplace harassment and the procedure for filing a complaint under the policy.
Research and input will be gathered from a wide range of sources, including the Office of Legislative Legal Services, Legislative Council, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the state Department of Personnel and Administration, the state attorney general’s office, human resources and employment law experts, victims’ advocacy groups, legislators, employees and others who do business at the legislature.
Legislative leaders have agreed to discuss formalizing proposals for workplace harassment training to be conducted annually for all legislators and staff and to be expanded to offer the most comprehensive training available. Currently, workplace harassment training is held every two years and is mandatory for all legislators and all new staffers.
The Executive Committee of the Legislative Council includes Senate President Kevin Grantham, House Speaker Crisanta Duran, Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert, House Majority Leader KC Becker, Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman and House Minority Leader Patrick Neville. The date and time of the Executive Committee meeting will be announced as soon as it is confirmed.
Four state lawmakers face allegations of sexual harassment: Rep. Steve Lebsock, Rep. Paul Rosenthal, Sen. Randy Baumgardner and Sen. Jack Tate. All of them have denied any wrongdoing.
House Speaker Crisanta Duran issued a statement saying, “This is not a partisan issue; this is about working together to address what clearly is a problem.
“I am glad that all four caucuses have agreed to set up a comprehensive review of our harassment policies, and I hope that through this process we can create a welcoming and respectful workplace for everyone.”