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Colleen O’Dea | April 19, 2019 | NJ Spotlight |

Civil Service spokesman says proposed rule will reflect what Gov. Phil Murphy wants

New Jersey has proposed updates of the rules for reporting and investigation of sexual harassment complaints, but one state Senate leader who has spearheaded reforms in this area says the existing language of the changes could make it less likely for victims to come forward.

Meanwhile, the Civil Service Commission, which proposed the change in the state’s workplace-discrimination policy, may wind up not adopting the rule as written because it does not reflect exactly what Gov. Phil Murphy wants, a commission spokesman said.

Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) was sharply critical of a provision in the rule proposal that would keep all complaints and investigations confidential indefinitely and subject those who violate that confidentiality to disciplinary action, up to termination. She called it “an affront to survivors everywhere.”

In an April 16 letter to the Civil Service Commission, Weinberg said the provision “would in fact make it harder for survivors to report harassment and assault.” She said such a strict confidentiality rule is contrary to the Legislature’s new harassment policy and would “fly in the face” of a law Gov. Phil Murphy signed last month preventing employers from forcing accusers to sign non-disclosure agreements.

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