MONTPELIER, Vt. – On Friday, Dec. 22, 2017, Secretary of Administration Susanne Young issued a directive requiring all executive branch employees participate in sexual harassment training classes offered through the State of Vermont Department of Human Resources (DHR).
In response to the national dialogue around the prevalence of sexual harassment, Governor Phil Scott called on DHR to review the State’s sexual harassment policies and procedures and recommend any necessary changes. Policies were found to be current and in line with best practices, and the Department identified an opportunity to improve training requirements to increase effectiveness.
“What we’ve seen and heard about the prevalence of harassment and assault from many across the country is disappointing, and it is clear we must all take a strong stand against this abuse,” said Gov. Scott. “I appreciate the work of our agency and department leaders in ensuring the state is vigilant in protecting its employees.”
The directive requires all state employees to take sexual harassment training, which will be provided by DHR through the Center for Achievement in Public Service (CAPS). The training, Preventing and Addressing Sexual Harassment, is designed to educate state employees on how to identify, prevent, and address sexual harassment issues in the workplace.
“Ensuring a safe work environment for all employees is the top priority of our department, so the Governor’s leadership on this issue is appreciated,” said DHR Commissioner Beth Fastiggi. “We will offer as many courses as necessary to complete this task, and have already scheduled 400 trainings across the state over the next year.”
“Everyone in state government, from frontline workers to cabinet members, has a critical role in maintaining professional and respectful work environments,” stated Susanne Young, Secretary of Administration. “Providing this training to all employees in a classroom setting, rather than online as it is today, will undoubtedly enhance the experience and promote healthy and civil discussions.”
This directive to state employees is in addition to requirements for the Governor’s appointed staff to attend training relating to sexual harassment at least annually, as detailed in an updated Executive Code of Ethics Gov. Scott issued earlier this month.