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Ernest LuningErnest LuningNovember 18, 201718min27250

In the days since additional claims of sexual misconduct by Colorado legislators emerged in a news report, numerous women who have worked with state Sen. Jack Tate, one of the lawmakers accused of improper behavior, have come forward to challenge anonymous allegations about Tate. They say they’re alarmed the Centennial Republican could be unfairly caught up in a scandal they agree is bringing long overdue scrutiny to harassment at the state Capitol.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchNovember 11, 20173min1810

Bless him for forethought or curse him as a buzzkill, but the ever-cheerful Tony Gagliardi, the Colorado state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, deserves some kind of credit for the holiday advice out his home office this week.

The NFIB released its wise words for holiday parties, so the small-business organization that normally lobbies for bills and amendments is arguing for common sense for the season.

The small business group recommends:

  • Use professional bartenders, and instruct them not to serve anyone who appears intoxicated.
  • Distribute drink tickets to limit the number of free drinks.
  • Serve lots of free food to soak up the alcohol.
  • Ask trusted managers and supervisors to be on the look-out for people who have had too much to drink and unable to drive or need
  • assistance getting home.
  • Pay for cabs to take impaired employees and guests home or offer designated drivers.

“Socializing, alcohol, and mistletoe combine to create an environment that can lead to sexual harassment or fighting,” the NFIB notes in its holiday advisory. “Just because it’s a holiday party doesn’t mean you can’t be liable for what happens as an employer. Employee lawsuits can result from voluntary events held outside the office and outside normal work hours.”

To keep the boss out of trouble for employees’ hanky panky and sexual harassment, NFIB advises:

  • Don’t hang mistletoe.
  • Remind employees about company anti-harassment policies before the party.
  • If your business does not have an anti-harassment policy, get one! Check out the free sample policy developed by NFIB. Have an attorney review it.
  • Ask trusted managers and supervisors to intervene and stop any fighting or inappropriate conduct witnessed or reported.
  • Finally, make sure that all employees understand that a holiday party is a work-related activity, and that rules for appropriate work behavior still apply.

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Kara MasonKara MasonOctober 30, 20174min7750

Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, recently took to Facebook to detail her experiences with sexual assault and harassment, the latest with a colleague, she told southern Colorado-focused newsmagazine PULP.

Posts tagged with “Me Too” have been widely shared across the internet after several women alleged Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein had sexually assaulted or harassed them.

Esgar recounted the incident, which Esgar said had happened to her a week earlier, to PULP:

As she was standing, waiting to say goodbye and slip off to the next gathering, Esgar said she felt a hand wrap around her thigh “and start moving upward.”

“There was a table of people around that didn’t realize what had just happened,” said Esgar, who exclaimed, “Oh my gosh!” as she quickly realized she was groped by a man she only described as somebody she regularly works with sitting at the table.

The response from the man was, “Now, darling. You don’t need to make a scene,” according to Esgar.

Esgar didn’t name names in the article, but said it was a colleague she works with on a regular basis.

She also said in her post and to PULP that this wasn’t her first experience with sexual assault or harassment: The first time she can remember being sexually harassed was before she was old enough to go to school. Esgar also said she’d been in two abusive relationships.

The outpouring of similar stories have taken social media by storm. Rebecca Cranston, who is running for Senate District 15, said in a Facebook post she was a survivor of human trafficking.

And a two-page letter from 150 California lawmakers, lobbyists and staffers encourages other women to speak up about unwanted advances rather than stay silent.

“As women leaders in politics, in a state that postures itself as a leader in justice and equality, you might assume our experience has been different,” the open letter reads.

Esgar told PULP she wants to use her platform to advocate for other women who’ve had similar experiences as she’s had:

“The therapy I went through helped me because of what happened. Every single day I’m working to stand up for people at the Capitol. I try to hold myself in that strength and to move me forward and be strong not just for myself but for the people I make decisions for everyday.”

House Speaker Crisanta Duran also commented, saying, “it’s clear that this is an issue that impacts us all, and we should all strive to create a more inclusive, safe, and respectful environment, in the legislature and more broadly.”