Lawmakers to take part in annual sexual harassment training after Gov. Holcomb signs bill

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Gov. Eric Holcomb at the bill signing ceremony on March 22, 2018.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed a bill Thursday to require sexual harassment training annually for all members of the General Assembly.

The governor signed House Bill 1309 with the bill’s author state Rep. Karen Engleman, Senate sponsors Sen. Jim Buck and Sen. Tim Lanane, and co-author Rep. Cherrish Pryor.

“In light of the many recent, high-profile sexual and workplace harassment cases, it makes sense for all branches of government to take a look at their own policies. There’s zero room for harassment of any kind in Indiana’s state government workplaces, and I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished to ensure that message is loud and clear in the legislative, executive and judicial branches,” Holcomb said.

Additionally, Holcomb announced the following changes to the state’s harassment prevention policies for the executive branch:

  • Recognizing that organizational culture is set at the top, state agency heads will complete annual training workshops focused on workplace harassment, conduct, and civility.
  • Managers and supervisors at all levels will receive additional sexual harassment training as part of a new program under development by the Indiana State Personnel Department to launch this summer.
  • All state employees are currently required to complete computer-based training on an annual basis and during new employee onboarding. This training module has been updated and will be launched in May.

As for the state’s judicial branch, Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush outlined a strengthened policy. Changes include:

  • A revamped policy distributed by the Chief Justice to all Supreme Court employees.
  • An online complaint form for employees to more easily report problems immediately.
  • An increased emphasis on civility in all curricula dealing with harassment.

“Past sexual harassment trainings often focused on what behavior was illegal. By emphasizing whether the offensive behavior was illegal, employers appeared to condone harassing behavior if it did not expose them to liability. Training for Judicial Branch employees will make clear our expectation is for an environment free of sexual harassment, intimidation, disrespect, and uncivil behavior,” said Rush.

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