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I_WorkplaceStudy_2018A 07/09/2018 09:02:09 AM Committee Summary

PUBLIC
STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING
INTERIM COMMITTEE  LEGISLATIVE WORKPLACE INTERIM STUDY COMMITTEE
Date 07/09/2018
Attendance
Gardner X
Moreno X
Saine *
Winter X
Martinez Humenik *
Duran X
Time 09:02:09 AM to 02:36:26 PM
Place HCR 0112
This Meeting was called to order by Duran
This Report was prepared by Amanda King
Hearing Items Action Taken
Opening Remarks Committee Discussion Only
Committee Charge Committee Discussion Only
Current Structure of and Process for Changes to Legislative Workplace Laws, Rules, and Policies Committee Discussion Only
Overview of Legislative Workplaces in Other States Committee Discussion Only
Overview of the Investigations Law Group 2018 Legislative Workplace Study Committee Discussion Only
Investigations Law Group Recommendations Regarding Human Resources Department Structure Committee Discussion Only
Committee Discussion Regarding Human Resources Department Structure Committee Discussion Only

Opening Remarks - Committee Discussion Only


09:03:27 AM  

Speaker Duran called the meeting to order.  A meeting agenda was distributed to the committee [Attachment A].  Speaker Duran made opening remarks about the committee. She discussed the issues that arose during the last legislative session regarding sexual harassment and the steps that have been taken to address matters regarding workplace harassment, including hiring a human resources administrator, increasing training, and commissioning the 2018 Investigations Law Group (ILG) report, which can be found through the following link (http://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/the_report_final_2.pdf). 



Current Structure of and Process for Changes to Legislative Workplace Laws, Rules, and Policies - Committee Discussion Only


09:11:04 AM  

Mr. Barry provided an overview of the legislative workplace laws, rules, and policies. He referenced federal laws that address discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in the employment context. He reviewed analogous state laws that are contained in Article 34 of Title 24, Colorado Revised Statutes.  He stated that the ILG report did not recommend making changes to these state laws.  Mr. Barry discussed the state laws that may need to be changed based on the report, including adopting laws to create a human resources department for the legislative branch and revisions to the Colorado Open Records Act.

 

Mr. Barry reviewed Joint Rule 38 of the Senate and House of Representatives and the Workplace Harassment Policy of the General Assembly [Attachment C]. He discussed how Joint Rule 38 influences the Workplace Harassment Policy and the procedures for revising them.  Mr. Barry discussed the possible role the Legislative Culture Committees, recommended in the ILG report, could have in reviewing future changes to the Workplace Harassment Policy.  He reiterated the charge of the committee.  He stated the final report of the committee could contain draft documents, including draft policies, bills, and resolutions.

09:19:30 AM  

Mr. Barry answered questions regarding Joint Rule 38, including how long it has been in effect and whether it complies with current federal and state laws.  Mr. Barry answered questions about the current human resources administrator position.



Committee Charge - Committee Discussion Only


09:07:29 AM  

Amanda King, Legislative Council Staff (LCS), and Jerry Barry, Office of Legislative Legal Services, introduced the nonpartisan staff who would be assisting the committee. Ms. King reviewed the LCS memorandum that provides an overview of the committee [Attachment B].  Specifically, she outlined the committee's charge, the committee's schedule, and the authority the committee has to make recommendations to the Executive Committee.



Overview of Legislative Workplaces in Other States - Committee Discussion Only


09:23:15 AM  

Jonathan Griffin, National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), presented to the committee on legislative workplaces in other states. He referenced a handout on NCSL Recommendations Regarding Legislative Sexual Harassment Policies and Training [Attachment D].  Mr. Griffin stated that over 125 bills have been introduced throughout the country to address legislative sexual harassment and that most of the bills deal with internal policies.  He discussed the states that have expelled members or that have had members resign.  He answered questions about whether NCSL has been tracking states that have had complaints against legislators, to which he said no due to confidentiality issues.  He stated that at least 13 states have set up committees to look at legislative workplace harassment policies. He discussed the efforts states have made to address harassment of third parties, such as lobbyists and contracted employees. Mr. Griffin specifically referenced the policy changes in Georgia, Maryland, Maine, and Illinois.   He discussed the workplace harassment hotline set up in Illinois. He discussed other efforts to address workplace harassment in Washington, Indiana, and Virginia.

09:28:59 AM  

Mr. Griffin highlighted the efforts in California to address workplace harassment and responded to questions about those efforts.  Mr. Griffin discussed the California legislature's Subcommittee on Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response.  He stated that the subcommittee issued its final recommendations on June 21, 2018.  He discussed the establishment of California's Legislative Counsel's Legislative Workplace Conduct Unit and California's efforts to address retaliation.

09:34:39 AM  

Mr. Griffin answered questions about California and Maryland's efforts to establish independent review commissions. In response to questions, he discussed how complaints against legislators are handled in other states, the role of independent commissions, and educating people about the policies that are in place.  Mr. Griffin answered questions about state models for addressing legislator misconduct. He stated that many states have various reporting entities and many states have committees to review complaints brought against legislators, such as a rules committee.  In response to committee questions, Mr. Griffin stated he would provide additional information about the committees in other states that review complaints against legislators, including how the committees are structured, how votes and confidentiality are handed, whether non-legislators serve on the committees, how the committees are accessed, and whether the committees also handle complaints involving employees and third parties. He referenced the voting requirements for the committee in Virginia and the recently adopted policy in New Mexico.

09:52:19 AM  

Mr. Griffin answered questions about states removing members without an ethics committee investigation.  In response to a question, he said that he could provide follow-up information about the human resource structures in other states, such as Oregon and Idaho. Mr. Griffin was asked to provide the committee with information about whether any states have adopted policies requiring accommodations for people bringing forth complaints that go beyond confidentiality.  He answered questions about policies regarding confidentiality.  The committee requested copies of  the policies adopted in California, Maryland, Delaware, Wyoming, and New Mexico. He discussed the sessions that will occur at the NCSL Annual Summit on workplace harassment.



Overview of the Investigations Law Group 2018 Legislative Workplace Study - Committee Discussion Only


10:03:10 AM  

Ben FitzSimons, Legislative Human Resources Administrator, provided an overview of the ILG report.  He stated there are four main topics of the report recommendations, which are structure, culture, response to complaints, and transparency.  He reviewed the policy recommendations starting on page 121 of the report.  Mr. FitzSimons answered questions about the report regarding student interns and lobbyists.  He reviewed the recommendations regarding awareness campaigns and required trainings.  Mr. FitzSimons answered questions about best practices regarding training, including citizen lobbyists in the policies or trainings, making trainings mandatory, and providing bystander training.

10:14:00 AM  

Mr. FitzSimons continued to review the policy recommendations in the ILG report. He reviewed the proposed Colorado General Assembly's Respectful Workplace Expectation beginning on page 124 of the report. He discussed prohibited discriminatory harassment and sexual harassment activities as outlined in the report. Mr. FitzSimons highlighted the differences in applicability of the policy for all people in the workplace versus protected classes by law, as outlined in Section 6 versus Sections 7 through 10 of the report. Mr. FitzSimons responded to questions about those differences and whether the policies would apply both for on-premises and off-premises conduct.

10:21:32 AM  

Mr. FitzSimons discussed the reporting process outlined in the report starting on page 130. He discussed the complaint resolution process. He answered questions about the informal resolution process and when it can be used. Committee discussion with Mr. FitzSimons continued about the informal process recommended in the report and the roles of the equal employment opportunity (EEO) officer and ombudsman. The committee discussed the ability for complainants to have a support person during proceedings.

10:33:22 AM  

Mr. FitzSimons answered questions about retaliation and how it can be best defined. The committee recessed.

10:40:40 AM  

The committee reconvened. Mr. FitzSimons clarified that only the formal resolution can be used if the harassment is discriminatory. He responded to questions about what is considered severe, pervasive, and unwelcome behavior. Mr. FitzSimons continued discussion of the recommendations related to retaliation. He referenced Appendix C starting on page 150 of the report concerning finding of facts, investigation reports, determination of policy violations, and recommendations for action. He answered questions about the proposed EEO advisory panel and legislative culture committees. Mr. FitzSimons discussed how complaints against third parties would be handled. He reviewed recommendations regarding social media, electronic communications, off-site work, and annual reporting and review.



Investigations Law Group Recommendations Regarding Human Resources Department Structure - Committee Discussion Only


12:03:33 PM  

Mr. FitzSimons provided the committee with information about his professional background.  Valerie Simons, Association Vice Chancellor and Title IX Coordinator, University of Colorado Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance, introduced herself to the committee.  Tamara Dixon, Human Resources Director, Town of Parker, introduced herself to the committee.

12:08:32 PM  

Mr. FitzSimons reviewed the recommendations from ILG regarding human resources department structure starting on page 73 of the report. He provided a handout to the committee [Attachment E]. He reviewed the roles of the recommended four human resources employees, which include a human resources director, an EEO officer, a workplace culture specialist, and an ombudsperson. He discussed the EEO advisory panel that would have five members. Mr. FitzSimons discussed the legislative culture committees in each legislative chamber. He discussed the anonymous complaint hotline.

12:15:52 PM  
Mr. FitzSimons, Ms. Dixon, and Ms. Simons answered questions from the committee regarding the suggested name of the Office of Legislative Culture. Mr. FitzSimons answered questions about the current human resources structure of the legislature.
12:25:25 PM  

Ms. Dixon continued discussing the ILG recommendations regarding human resources department structure. She discussed the need for training of the committee members and consistency between legislative chambers. Ms. Simons discussed how the University of Colorado - Boulder Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance is structured. She reviewed the role of the Education Unit, Case Resolution Unit, and Remediation Unit. She discussed the recommendation of the ILG report regarding human resources structure. She reviewed what she thought were the strengths and weaknesses of the report and potential issues that might arise.  Ms. Simons discussed the rule the ombudsman would have, and how that might differ from the typical role of an ombudsman. She raised issues that might arise with the panel, such as the panel selecting its successors.

12:41:02 PM  

Ms. Dixon, Mr. FitzSimons, and Ms. Simons answered questions about what occurs when a complaint arises against elected officials in the public sector. Ms. Simons answered questions about formal and informal resolution process utilized by her office. She discussed how the remedial and protective measures are utilized to ensure safety. Ms. Dixon discussed the business-partner model she utilized in setting up human resources departments, and how she has utilized outside professionals in investigations. Ms. Dixon and Ms. Simons answered questions about the legislative culture committees and trauma-informed training. Mr. FitzSimons answered questions about the ombudsman role recommended in the report. He referenced the Colorado State Employee Assistance Program. The committee discussed involving victim advocates in the process.

01:01:15 PM  

Ms. Simons answered questions about how the anonymous complaints are handled by her office. She responded to questions about best practices for training. Specifically, she discussed micro-focusing on specific areas of campus. Ms. Dixon discussed the training her department utilizes regarding culture. Ms. Simons discussed training of supervisors, trauma-informed training, and the resolution process.

01:10:10 PM  

Mr. FitzSimons answered questions about the current human resources structure and how many human resources functions are handled. Ms. Simons answered questions about the CU-Boulder structure and relevant federal rules. Mr. FitzSimons answered questions about the role of the EEO advisory panel.  Ms. Simons discussed the potential role for outside investigators. Ms. Dixon answered questions about how questions about the investigations are handled. Mr. FitzSimons, Ms. Simons, and Ms. Dixon answered questions about how investigators keep impartiality. Ms. Simons discussed compliance and recusals. Ms. Dixon discussed utilizing outside investigators and the role of former legislators on the EEO advisory panel.

01:29:31 PM  

Ms. Dixon and Ms. Simons answered questions about accountability once an investigation is completed. Ms. Simons and Ms. Dixon discussed how comparative cases are provided to allow for consistency in resolutions. Ms. Dixon, Mr. FitzSimons, and Ms. Simons answered questions about appeal processes. Ms. Simons discussed appeals processes, the number of complaints files to her office, and the number of which are handled informally or referred to another office.



11:01:39 AM

The committee recessed.



Committee Discussion Regarding Human Resources Department Structure - Committee Discussion Only


01:41:29 PM  

Mr. FitzSimons and the committee discussed possible structures for human resources departments. The committee recessed.

02:06:08 PM  

The chair called the committee back to order.  Committee members commented on getting additional information about training options, office structure, how the policies will be revisited over time, retaliation, possible amendments to the Colorado Open Records Act, confidentiality, setting up an anonymous hotline, and training.  Committee discussion ensued about the focus of the new office, the role of investigators, victim advocates, trauma-informed training, including accommodations for the parties involved in complaints, the committee charge, and the cost of implementing the recommendations.

02:24:50 PM  

Committee discussion continued concerning the investigation and resolution process and how the committee could move forward in making recommendations.


02:36:26 PM   Committee Adjourned






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