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Legal Alert: New Executive Order Impacts State Agencies’ Requirements for Sexual Harassment Training, Claim Investigation and Resolution

On December 12, 2017, Governor Rick Scott issued an executive order requiring state agencies to provide sexual harassment training to all new employees and supervisors and to adopt detailed procedures for investigating and resolving complaints of sexual harassment.  The goal of the order is to encourage reporting of harassment and help prevent further harassment or retaliation against victims of harassment.  In issuing the order, Governor Scott seeks to work toward the eradication of sexual harassment and misconduct in state government. 

The order (Executive Order 17-319) requires all new agency employees to receive sexual harassment training within thirty days of starting employment.  Additional training must be provided to all management or supervisory-level personnel.  Documented evidence of the training must be maintained in all employees’ personnel files.

When investigating and resolving complaints of sexual harassment, state agencies must designate an individual to receive the complaints, ensure  that all complaints are “promptly” investigated, protect the complainant’s privacy, eliminate contact between the parties during the pendency of the investigation, and protect the complainant from retaliatory action.  Post-investigation, agencies must advise complainants of the results and refer complainants to the state’s employee assistance programs.

Additionally, the order requires agencies to notify its employees of these procedures, to obtain its employees’ written acknowledgement of receipt, and to retain this documentation in its employees’ personnel files. 

Although the order only applies to state agencies, Governor Scott specified that “all other components of state and local government are encouraged to adopt similar practices” in order to help present sexual harassment and misconduct.    

If you have any questions about this or any other labor/employment issue, please feel free to reach out to Brett Schneider (bschneider@wsh-law.com) at (561) 835-2111 or Brooke Ehrlich (behrlich@wsh-law.com) at (954) 763-4242.

Categories: Labor and EmploymentLocal Government
Tags: Special Counsel to Local GovernmentFort Lauderdale Labor Law Attorneys