Attorney General announces plan to fight harassment in state government

1 year 6 months 3 weeks ago Tuesday, February 20 2018 Feb 20, 2018 Tuesday, February 20, 2018 4:14:00 PM CST February 20, 2018 in Top Stories
By: Allyson Wallenta, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

JEFFERSON CITY – Attorney General Josh Hawley announced Tuesday he is taking a stance against harassment and discrimination in the state government.

Hawley’s office will be partnering with the Women’s Foundation to fight problems, specifically sexual harassment, that are seen in the Capitol and across the state.   

"Harassment and discrimination are never acceptable," Hawley said. "They cause incalculable personal damage. Research indicates the victims who suffer from harassment and discrimination can suffer effects that can last their entire lives." 

Hawley’s main goal is to conduct a review of existing discrimination and harassment policies.

He highlighted the need for action a report in January.

It said discrimination claims against the state create a burden on tax payers and reflect “a deep-seated culture of discrimination and retaliation throughout state government.”

The report found more than $8 million in payments, in 2017 alone, for claims filed under the Missouri Humans Right Act.

“We’ve seen in the last couple of years, two or three years, a significant spike in MHRA claims and MHRA cases and I believe there are hundred of more that are currently pending," Hawley said. 

Hawley said things need to change.

“Harassment and discrimination undermine our government's ability to serve the people of Missouri,” he said. 

Hawley’s office is proposing the following seven general principles to guide the review:

  • Policies should clearly define harassment, discrimination, and retaliation and should provide concrete examples of prohibited conduct
  • Policies should establish clear and expeditious procedures for reporting, investigating, and acting on allegations of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation
  • Policies should provide victims with channels for submitting anonymous complaints to alleviate possible concerns regarding retaliation
  • Policies should provide for specific, predictable, and prompt consequences for employees found to have engaged in harassment, discrimination, or retaliation
  • Policies should provide strong checks to prevent retaliation against those who report possible harassment, discrimination, or retaliation
  • Policies should provide regular review and updating of employment policies 
  • Agencies with interns should have policies that specifically address issues relating to employee conduct toward interns

Hawley said agencies should be “held to the highest standards in preventing and remedying these issues.”

Wendy Doyle, president and CEO of the Women’s Foundation, thinks Hawley's initiative will bring change. 

“I think you’re going to see, across the board, a reduction in sexual harassment, a reduction in sexual harassment claims because the policies and procedures have been put into place.”

However, Doyle said there is still a bigger issue that goes beyond the state government. Women from all over Missouri are facing unequal pay and poverty, she said. 

According to a 2017 study of Status of Women in Missouri conducted by the Women’s Foundation:

  • 2/3 of Missouri seniors living in poverty are women
  • A Missouri woman working full-time earns only $0.78 for each dollar a man earns. This is a gender gap of almost 22 percent, higher than the nation’s average of 20 percent
  • 9.8 percent of Missourians have no health insurance.
  • Women make up 51 percent of Missouri’s population but only 22 percent of the legislature. This number has declined 2.7 percent since 2016
  • Black women and Hispanic women making roughly only 66.7 percent of what white men make
  • 20.5 percent of single-parent families headed by men and 41.3 percent of single-parent families headed by women were poor in 2015

Some democrats think Hawley is being hypocritical. 

"Josh Hawley seems to be happy to talk about sexual harassment when it benefits him politically, yet has refused to denounce a major Republican donor facing serious allegations of sexual harassment," said Missouri Democratic Party spokesperson Brooke Goren.

She said Hawley needs to consider the case of former RNC finance chair Steve Wynn, who is being investigated for sexual harassment. 

"If Hawley believes that women deserve to be treated with respect, he has the opportunity to demonstrate that today's discussion isn't just talk by finally denouncing Wynn.”

Hawley said he has not accepted any money from Steve Wynn, or his affiliates. He said some Democrats have accepted money from people accused of sexual harassment, including Sen. Claire McCaskill.

“The senator has, the Missouri Democrat Party has, so I think they all owe us an answer as to why they’ve done so and why they have not taken immediate action. Why hasn’t the money been returned? This was months ago," Hawley said. 

Hawley said, for now, he looks forward to seeing new sexual harassment policies implemented across the state government.

More News

Grid
List
BOONVILLE, Mo. (AP) — The family of a South Dakota woman who was found shot to death in Missouri last... More >>
15 minutes ago Sunday, September 15 2019 Sep 15, 2019 Sunday, September 15, 2019 2:39:29 PM CDT September 15, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Officers have taken a man into custody in relation to a shots fired incident on Sept. 3... More >>
17 hours ago Saturday, September 14 2019 Sep 14, 2019 Saturday, September 14, 2019 9:51:00 PM CDT September 14, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Officers responded to reports of a car crashing into a home in the 900 block of Sardonyx... More >>
17 hours ago Saturday, September 14 2019 Sep 14, 2019 Saturday, September 14, 2019 9:45:00 PM CDT September 14, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A truck crashed into the Ventura Townhome complex Saturday morning in relation to a domestic assault, according... More >>
21 hours ago Saturday, September 14 2019 Sep 14, 2019 Saturday, September 14, 2019 5:20:00 PM CDT September 14, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The 4th annual Tunnel to Towers 5K was held at the Governor's Garden on Saturday. This... More >>
22 hours ago Saturday, September 14 2019 Sep 14, 2019 Saturday, September 14, 2019 4:29:00 PM CDT September 14, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY — The Jefferson City Police Department announced its participation in the National Child Passenger Safety Week enforcement campaign... More >>
23 hours ago Saturday, September 14 2019 Sep 14, 2019 Saturday, September 14, 2019 3:37:00 PM CDT September 14, 2019 in News
NEW LEBANON - For one group, New Lebanon's bicentennial celebration was a unification decades in the making. While researching her... More >>
23 hours ago Saturday, September 14 2019 Sep 14, 2019 Saturday, September 14, 2019 3:07:00 PM CDT September 14, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The percentage of successful disability cases aimed at reversing the denial or re-evaluation of benefits... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, September 14 2019 Sep 14, 2019 Saturday, September 14, 2019 10:37:39 AM CDT September 14, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department is investigating two homicides after three people were shot overnight. Officers said they... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, September 14 2019 Sep 14, 2019 Saturday, September 14, 2019 3:04:00 AM CDT September 14, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Below are scores from football games around mid-Missouri. Final scores are in bold. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 6:32:00 PM CDT September 13, 2019 in Friday Night Fever
JEFFERSON CITY - A recent Facebook post showed grass clippings left out in Jefferson City. Many commented on the post... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 6:11:00 PM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia police and the city's Solid Waste Department will expand the search area in the Megan Shultz case.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 4:44:00 PM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - It's been nine months since Melissa Peskey's death, and the family together with the Missouri State Highway... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 4:15:00 PM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Senate unanimously passed HB 1, which will allow the sales proceeds of more than one... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 3:54:00 PM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
SEDALIA - A boil water advisory has been expanded in the city of Sedalia. The city is expanding the... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 3:46:00 PM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – The Board of Curators at Lincoln University approved a plan Thursday night to rebuild the Dickinson Research... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 3:23:00 PM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
COOPER COUNTY - State troopers ended up making a large drug bust after a K9 found methamphetamine during a traffic... More >>
2 days ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 12:46:00 PM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
JOPLIN (AP) — Jasper County authorities say a deputy was shot and a man was later found dead after a... More >>
2 days ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 11:40:08 AM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 91°
3pm 91°
4pm 91°
5pm 90°
6pm 88°