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Has Brown Been Ignoring Discrimination?
Laws have changed to enhance reporting of allegations

The Department of Administrative Services (DAS) is responsible for the statewide human resources (HR) system, which includes workplace discrimination and harassment investigations.

Workplace discrimination and harassment leaves employers liable for lawsuits and negative publicity, as well as low employee morale and self-esteem.

A recent audit by the Oregon Secretary of State, Bev Clarno has revealed that DAS does not provide sufficient oversight of agency workplace discrimination and harassment investigations, as it does not track or analyze allegation or investigation data. We found agencies are inconsistent in how they conduct investigations, with differing timelines, procedures, and documentation standards. DAS could use investigation data to assess whether allegations are handled appropriately and to identify other potential root causes, statewide trends, and risks that require proactive mitigation.

Agencies can be slow to begin investigations and take an average of 56 business days to complete them. Longer investigations can result in significant costs to the state. HR personnel conduct most investigations, but some agencies use dedicated investigators to increase independence and expertise in this area. Dedicated investigators generally took longer to complete investigations, but had higher quality files and documentation that complies with DAS’s revised policies.

The state lacks formal training for staff who perform discrimination and harassment investigations. There are no requirements investigators receive initial or ongoing training specific to investigations and investigators do not feel the training they are able to obtain is adequate.

The SOS audit report contains six recommendations to DAS intended to enhance oversight of workplace discrimination and harassment investigations.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-14 11:49:09Last Update: 2020-10-14 11:49:54



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