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It’s Handled: Mayor Bowser Announces New Sexual Harassment Policy For D.C. Government Employees

It’s Handled: Mayor Bowser Announces New Sexual Harassment Policy For D.C. Government Employees
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D.C.’s Mayor Muriel Bowser is cracking down on sexual harassment. This week, the Mayor issued a new executive order, which updates the sexual harassment policy for D.C. government employees.

“We’re going to make the policies as clear as possible, so that people can be compliant,” said the Mayor. “And at the end of the day, people have to do the right thing. And if they don’t, there will be consequences.”

Per the press release, “With this Mayor’s Order we are underscoring the message that DC Government does not and will not tolerate any form of sexual harassment. While that has always been our value, now we are putting in place an even stronger and clearer policy.”

“This order will help ensure that everyone, at every level, is clear about our expectations,” the release continued.

As local news outlet WMAL reports, the new order includes the below directives:

  • “bans all sexual and romantic relationships between supervisors and the employees in their chain of command;
  • establishes obligations of District Government employees, including to affirm the anti-harassment policy and attend yearly training;
  • adds the Mayor’s direct reports to those required to be referred for outside investigation of sexual harassment;
  • and directs the Sexual Harassment Taskforce to further examine the District’s sexual harassment policies and provide recommendations to further the goal of a harassment-free workplace.”

But not all areas of government are impacted—the new order will not apply to the D.C. courts, D.C. Council, or the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.

The last time the district made updates to their sexual harassment policies was in December of 2017, at the height of the #MeToo movement.

While this order was in the pipeline for “many months,” it is not surprising that it was released after the scandal surrounding one of Mayor Bowser’s long time aides John Falcicchio, the former deputy mayor for planning and economic development.

Falcicchio abruptly announced his resignation just “before the mayor’s office launched two investigations into several sexual harassment claims against him.” The investigations found that Falcicchio did sexually harass “two lower-level employees.”

Brianne Nadeau, Ward1 1 Council Member, believes this order is a step in the right direction. “The idea that we haven’t had a definition, or rules around other consensual relationships, or relationships within the chain of command, obviously has led to issues within our government,” stated Nadeau, adding “And this would resolve that. On the whole, it seems like a lot of good changes here.”

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