NEW ORLEANS - This morning, Councilmember At-Large Helena Moreno formally filed notice that she will introduce an ordinance at the May 24th New Orleans City Council Meeting to establish and codify New Orleans' first legal guidelines to prevent sexual harassment and properly train City government officials and employees to avoid, identify, and punish harassment wherever it may be found within the City's charter-ruled agencies.
"I'm committed to enacting the highest standards to ensure New Orleans' city government is one of the safest, most welcoming workplaces in the country. The public and our colleagues deserve it," said Councilmember Moreno. "This is a vital first step, not only in complying with state law but showing true leadership for our sister municipalities on this critical issue."
The wide-ranging policy, which provides for a uniform set of rules, procedures, and penalties across municipal departments and agencies, is inclusive of all forms of sexual harassment including verbal, non-verbal, visual, physical, and text/electronic, specifically prohibits retaliation, and follows national best practices designed to put New Orleans' on the forefront of safe and harassment-free workplaces. The ordinance, co-authored by all seven Councilmembers, builds upon existing memoranda by former CAOs to include and codify mandatory sexual harassment training and reporting. The policy, as drafted, would:
- Clearly defines sexual harassment
- Lays out procedures for reporting and investigations
- Mandates annual training for all employees and additional training for those investigating complaints
- Requires annual reports available to the public listing number of complaints, results of complaints and percentage of employees who have completed training
Councilmember Moreno files this ordinance in response to pending state Legislative mandate (HB524), co-authored by Moreno when she was a member of the legislature, and would make New Orleans the first municipality in the state to proactively conform with the new legal guidelines.