Lawmakers Meet Milestone on Workplace Harassment Update
DENVER – The Executive Committee of the Colorado General Assembly today gave unanimous bipartisan approval to long-awaited updates to the legislature’s workplace misconduct and harassment policies, completing a critical first phase in a rewrite of the rules launched by the Senate President in November of 2017. The vote comes after months of deliberations by a special bipartisan task force. The Executive Committee made the changes that were within its power to make: any additional measures will have to be approved by the Assembly as a whole when it reconvenes in January.
The policy changes made today include:
* Easing the ability of staff, lobbyists, and legislators to file a formal complaint, by allowing complaints to be made to nonpartisan Legislative Human Resources Administrator, instead of a partisan elected official.
* Establishing a “Preponderance of Evidence” standard for determining if a violation has occurred, bringing clarity to a previously contentious aspect of the process.
* Officially prohibits and defines retaliation against a complainant, someone who has assisted in filing a complaint, or someone who participated in an investigation. Individuals are now encouraged to file a formal complaint if they experience retaliation. * Establishes rights and responsibilities of both the complainant and the respondent, respectively.
* Establishes a timeline for resolution process, including a 90-day limit from time of complaint to time of resolution.
Grantham thanked members of the task force for their efforts to diligently study the matter and reach agreement, where they could. He also expressed hope that the steps taken today, though not yet the end of a process he put in motion one year ago, will help reassure everyone who visits or works at the Statehouse that proactive steps are being taken to make the Capitol the safe, welcoming, comfortable, harassment-free environment it should be.
“I’m grateful to all who helped craft the important changes we approved today, including not just task force members but the professional staff, outside experts, private organizations and individuals who provided the feedback we needed to see where existing policies were falling short and in need of improvement,” Grantham said after the vote. “This building belongs to all the people of Colorado and everyone who works here, does business here, or even drops in for a visit must feel as safe, comfortable and respected as they possibly can. This isn’t the end of the process, since there are additional policy changes that only the General Assembly can debate and approve, but I hope the reforms we approved today will help restore and rebuild public confidence in this treasured institution.”