Kentucky lawmakers have finished their first-ever training on sexual harassment.
More than a hundred lawmakers heard a lecture from Aime McFerren, a Louisville attorney with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She shared strategies for identifying sexual harassment, and the benefits of preventing it.
“Sex harassment, retaliation, it’s prevalent still,” she said. “It’s costly in a monetary sense, but also in a non-monetary sense. I’m sure you can understand that when a workplace is involved in an investigation where someone has alleged discrimination or retaliation it can be very upsetting to the workplace.”
McFerren stressed that investigations of claims are necessary when allegations are made. But the legislature should ensure that the behavior never occurs in the first place.
“Well, obviously our position is awareness and prevention are the best tools in ensuring that a workplace is free from harassment, free from retaliation,” she said.
A bill filed in the House by Rep. Sannie Overly would make such harassment training mandatory for lawmakers.
This has been a major topic in Frankfort for months, after allegations that former Representative John Arnold harassed two staffers, and little was done to address the charges.
Representative Will Coursey has also been accused of retaliating against a female state employee who spoke out about his alleged treatment of a female intern.
Both men have denied the charges.