March 6, 2018: Subcommittee holds hearing on investigation and response to sexual harassment allegations

March 06, 2018

SACRAMENTO – Assembly and Senate legislators will today examine how best to investigate and respond to sexual harassment incidents, complaints and allegations in the fourth hearing of the Joint Committee on Rules Subcommittee on Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response.

The Subcommittee hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. March 6, in Capitol Room 4203.

The hearing will tackle the core issue for developing policies and procedures for the Legislature.  It will feature an opening presentation by Hon. Carlos Moreno, retired California Supreme Court Justice. Justice Moreno will speak on the spectrum of severity of conduct, on due process and on the special considerations involved with respect to elected officials.

The Subcommittee will hear a panel on investigation with Amy Oppenheimer, author of “Investigating Workplace Harassment,” and Fair Employment and Housing Department Director Kevin Kish.

A second panel on response to allegations will include Patricia Wise of the national EEOC Task Force on Harassment in the Workplace, and Fania Davis, co-founder and executive director of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth.

“Clearly there are concerns not just about how reports of sexual harassment are investigated, but also about the extent of due process and accountability for all involved,” said Assemblymember Laura Friedman, chair of the subcommittee.  “With this hearing, we’ll dig deeper into how we can build a fair and transparent process that the Capitol community can trust.”

The Legislature has already taken steps to assist employees. The Assembly and Senate have agreed to work with WEAVE to provide a hotline for all legislative employees to contact WEAVE for confidential counseling and support services, offsite if so desired.  An online Sexual Harassment Prevention Suggestion Box has been set up at http://assembly.ca.gov/content/suggestions.

In addition to the Chair and Vice Chair Senator Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), the bicameral and bipartisan Subcommittee includes Senate Republican Leader Pat Bates (R-Laguna Niguel), Assembly Republican Leader Brian Dahle (R-Bieber), Senator John M.W. Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino), Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes  (D-San Bernardino) and Assemblymember Marie Waldron (R-Escondido).

The Subcommittee will hold a subsequent hearing March 14.