Delaware’s Department of Human Resources released a report on the state’s sexual harassment policy and reporting procedures.
The 16-page report looked at the state’s current policy, training, and procedures and recommended ways to improve them.
“It’s kind of almost common sense if we want to create an environment where people, all people, are valued,” said Saundra Ross Johnson, DHR secretary. “While I think we have some incredibly talented and generously spirited employees who believe in equity and in justice, there were corners of our areas where this was not happening. And so when that occurs, you fix it.”
Gov. John Carney directed Johnson to conduct the audit in December as part of his focus on improving workplace conditions for state employees.
“As we all know, in recent months, allegations of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace have emerged across our country,” said Carney, a Democrat. “The state of Delaware, like all employers, has an obligation to protect our employees from facing harassment and assault of any kind.”
The report identified the need to revise the state’s current anti-discrimination and sexual harassment policies into one concise policy. Other recommendations include developing a one-stop-shop system where employees can create, manage, and track reported allegations of harassment; mandate sexual harassment awareness and prevention training to all new and existing employees; and set clear and specific performance expectations designed to hold all employees accountable.
“We are without an evaluation tool that specifically requires that kind of performance plan and certainly I think that is one of the strongest, strongest items because, from the cabinet leadership all the way throughout every department, every rank of every department, when we redesign things, everyone is going to have an area where the workplace, the respectful workplace item, is included. I think that’s huge,” Johnson said.
DHR also included completion dates for each recommendation.
“DHR has a responsibility to create and sustain an environment for state employees that is free from discrimination, sexual harassment, and assault,” Johnson said. “We are committed to achieving this by implementing the recommendations of this report and developing consistent and clearly defined policies, practices and procedures.”
House Bill 4 created the agency last summer, where the focus is to help confront issues important to state employees, improve the delivery of human resources services, and promote diversity and inclusion across state government.
Here’s the full report: