From the Governor’s Office, Feb. 13, 2020
To ensure equity for employees, government training and reporting processes to be evaluated and reimagined
As part of the commitment Gov. Phil Murphy made during his State of the State address in January to changing the culture of Trenton and promoting equity for all employees, the governor on Feb. 13 announced that the state of New Jersey will be reevaluating current workplace standards and training procedures. The aim of this initiative is to ensure the broadest scope of workplace protections possible for the broadest number of state employees, with the end goal of ensuring inclusion and equity for all regardless of sex, race or gender identity.
“As I have said previously, I am committed to making real, positive, and long-lasting changes to address the culture in Trenton, particularly around reports of the unacceptable treatment of women,” Murphy said. “I have said time and time again that my goal is to make New Jersey stronger and fairer for everyone. Make no mistake: I believe that a more respectful culture for women in our state is a moral imperative. Getting to the root causes and dismantling a system that has existed for far too long won’t be easy, but today’s announcement is the most recent example of my Administration taking meaningful steps in the right direction.”
“I have spent the entirety of my career in public service working to support the intrinsic dignity of all people, including in the workplace. People should be able to make a living and engage in meaningful work without being harassed or disrespected because of their race, gender, creed, nationality or religion. That is why I stand with Governor Murphy on this important workplace reform initiative,” Lt. Gov. Sheila Y. Oliver said. “While this initiative is for state government, it is my hope that the protections and training we put in place extend beyond state agencies and inspire meaningful change at workplaces throughout New Jersey.”
The state is currently in the process of identifying an expert partner in the field of labor to assess the current systems and procedures and make recommendations on how to move forward. That partner will work with labor unions, other experts and interested parties in the field and will be tasked with the following:
- Conducting a thorough review of current training for employees and making recommendations on how to improve that training;
- Conducting a comprehensive evaluation of what steps are presently taken in state government to prevent sexual harassment or workplace issues and determine where systems work and fail and for what reasons;
- Developing new, more robust and thorough training sessions through a lens of equity and inclusion that focus on challenging custom, habit, and implicit bias;
- Developing constructive training on how to build equity-based work environments, not simply training that deals with managing an issue after the fact.
Murphy is also committed to the following:
- Investing the time and resources to do in person and interactive training for state employees;
- Providing the opportunity to more people in government to become trainers, ensuring that everyone has equal access to a seat at the table;
- Measuring outcomes and reaching for specific benchmarks to ensure that this work is done thoughtfully and in an accountable way.
“While we have made progress, I recognize that our state has a long way to go,” Murphy continued. “I will embrace and take every action necessary to ensure that work environments are fully characterized by mutual respect and dignity and I will ensure they are places where everyone can succeed. New Jersey can and must be a national model on this and I will not rest until that goal is achieved.”
Since taking office, Murphy has enacted a substantial portfolio of initiatives aimed at promoting equity. He has signed legislation creating resources for victims of harassment and discrimination, bills to change how these situations are handled in government, and legislation prohibiting non-disclosure provisions relating to claims of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. Murphy also knows broader economic and racial issues contribute to long-term inequity. To combat that, he has expanded paid family leave, established universal paid sick leave, restored critical funding for women’s health, and signed legislation requiring equal pay for equal work.