MONMOUTH COUNTY – Senator Vin Gopal will co-sponsor two bills introduced by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg aiming to create new training and resources to defend public employees from harassment and discrimination, and to create new means for public employees to report workplace harassment and discrimination where they exist.
The first bill (S-3983) would require all State employees responsible for investigating harassment or discrimination complaints to receive additional training in best practices and legal justice from the New Jersey Attorney General’s Advocacy Institution or a similarly appropriate organization.
The second bill (S-3981) would require the Civil Service Commission to create a hotline for State employees to submit reports of workplace discrimination and harassment. The hotline would be available, at a minimum, on weekdays between 8:30 AM and 5:30 PM, allowing any employee of a State agency to confidentially report a suspected incident of discrimination or harassment in the workplace. The hotline will be required to respond to each report with general or individualized information about any laws, regulations, policies, and procedures relevant to the reported incident. If a caller requests it, the hotline must provide that employee with appropriate referrals for further assistance and counseling.
To ensure the hotline’s integrity, all information discussed and employee names who use it must be kept confidential. This hotline must also be publicized to encourage employees to utilize it. To the greatest extent possible, all persons staffing the hotline must have experience or education on the laws, regulations, policies, and procedures regarding discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
Senator Gopal released the following statement regarding these bills:
“All employees – and especially women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and all other members of protected groups – deserve a workplace that will treat them with respect and dignity. Harassment and discrimination can take many forms, and it’s important that we create a forum where these incidents can be swiftly confidentially and anonymously reported. I’m grateful to Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg for standing up for those injured by harassment and discrimination, and I hope that these bills can help us create a State Government that is more responsive to these incidents and better able to advocate for those they affect.”