LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an executive directive that he said will improve reporting procedures for city employees to log harassment and discrimination claims.
The directive will help ensure that any employee who encounters or experiences harassment or discrimination is able to easily report a complaint though a new online portal, Garcetti said.
“Everyone in Los Angeles has the right to feel safe in their workplace,” he said. “City Hall must set an example for LA’s entire workforce, by making a systemic shift in how we handle sexual harassment and discrimination reporting.”
Nearly 18 percent of Los Angeles city employees who responded to a recent survey said they have been sexually harassed in the workplace. The survey was the result of a 2017 motion by council members Paul Krekorian and Nury Martinez.
Garcetti said the portal is part of the city’s “no wrong door” approach where all forms of harassment and discrimination can be reported to an employee’s supervisor, the involved department’s sexual harassment counselor, the Personnel Department’s sexual harassment counselor, the city’s Office of Discrimination Complaint Resolution, and/or any external non-discrimination enforcement agency.
The directive calls for the portal to be up and working by Aug. 31.
“With the #MeToo movement giving voice to victims across America, it’s imperative Los Angeles lead the way as an example of a city where there is no place for sexual harassment,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said. “I want to thank Mayor Garcetti, as well as council members Martinez and Krekorian, for their continuing roles in this vital effort.”
The directive also calls for:
— a working group that Garcetti recently formed to submit a report with a series of recommendations on creating a streamlined process for staff in the Personnel Department to review, process and track incidents of harassment and discrimination;
— creating an independent review board that can be called upon to review certain complex or sensitive cases of harassment and discrimination, and provide recommendations;
— formalizing the Personnel Department’s policies that allow for the anonymous reporting of incidents of harassment and discrimination;
— and developing new training techniques.
“When I asked for the Personnel Department to conduct the employee survey in November, I wanted our employees to know that we cared about their safety and their thoughts,” Martinez said.
“With that feedback, we are taking the steps necessary to put the city at the forefront of workplace protection. There is more to do and I am going to keep working with the mayor to make sure we finish what we started.”
After Krekorian and Martinez raised concerns last year that the city lacked a centralized system for tracking sexual harassment complaints, Garcetti in December created a system that requires all managers to report any incident of sexual harassment involving an employee, customer, visitor, volunteer or contractor to the Personnel Department’s Equal Employment Opportunity Division.
The new system almost immediately led to an increase in official reports of harassment. From Dec. 15 through Feb. 14, the EEOD received 26 incident reports, and of those, only three would have come to the attention of EEOD prior to the implementation of the new policy.
The EEOD said it received 35 sexual harassment-related complaints in the five years between 2013 and 2017.