Philly Council committee backs training for city workers to prevent sexual harassment

Philadelphia City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Philadelphia City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

A bill approved by a Philadelphia City Council committee calls for mandatory annual training for city workers to prevent sexual harassment.

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown said the training is just common sense.

“Enforcing mandatory training against sexual harassment is a concrete, tangible step in the right direction,” she said. “Training is intended to educate, enlighten, and inform employees on the civility and appropriate behaviors we should hold towards our co-workers.”

The city needs to set an example for other employers, Reynolds Brown said, “making certain to stress not only how to act, but how not to act, and how not to conduct ourselves in the workplace.

“Studies indicate that more women report incidents of sexual harassment when sexual harassment is clearly defined,” she said.

In many cases, people are unaware they’re harassing colleagues, said Amber Hikes, executive director of the city’s Office of LGBT Affairs.

“I came to city government in March 2017, and since then I have no less than 10 city employees who have transitioned and and have experienced harassment in their transition from both fellow employees and supervisors,” Hikes said.

If the measure is approved by the entire City Council, voters would have to approve amending the City Charter to incorporate the change.

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