Governor Hochul Reminded All State Employees of Their Right to a Workplace Free Of Unlawful Discrimination and Harassment

Executive Chamber Will Retain Independent Firm to Investigate Any Claims of Unlawful Discrimination and Harassment, and Create New Human Resources Department

Nearly 200 Chamber Employees Have Taken Part in Mandatory Ethics Training Since Governor Hochul Took Office

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced new initiatives aimed at ushering in a new era in State government and within the Executive Chamber. In a video message sent to all State workers, Governor Hochul reaffirmed her commitment to a workplace free of bullying and discrimination, and informed workers about how to file a complaint of unlawful harassment or discrimination. Governor Hochul also announced new initiatives aimed at creating a safe, respectful workplace in the Executive Chamber including retaining an independent firm to investigate all claims of workplace discrimination or harassment, mandating all Chamber employees take part in in-person trainings, and setting up a new Human Resources department within the Executive Chamber.

“From the moment I took office, I’ve made it a priority to radically change the culture in Albany politics and promote a respectful and collaborative environment as we serve the people of New York,” said Governor Hochul. “Everyone has the right to a workplace completely free of unlawful discrimination or harassment. The new measures we are implementing in the Executive Chamber and across State government mark a major step forward in ensuring New Yorkers get the leadership they deserve from public servants at the highest levels.”

In the video message and a letter sent to all New York State employees, Governor Hochul announced that New York State will be embarking on a new live training program for everyone in State government to discuss the laws that protect workers from unlawful discrimination and harassment. Governor Hochul reminds State workers of the process for filing a complaint with the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations, and reaffirms the State’s zero tolerance policy for retaliation.

To view Governor Hochul’s video message to all state employees, click here.

Governor Hochul also directed her administration to retain Calcagni Kanefsky, LLP, an independent, outside firm that will investigate any claims of unlawful discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in the Executive Chamber. Calcagni Kanefsky, LLP will make findings without any interference from the Executive Chamber, report all findings to the Counsel’s Office, and will recommend appropriate discipline and corrective action. As part of this announcement, all Chamber staff were provided resources to educate them on the easy, confidential ways to file a complaint.

Additional steps to address harassment and discrimination include mandatory in-person trainings for all Chamber staff as well as creating a new Human Resources department within the Executive Chamber. Since Governor Hochul took office in August, nearly 200 Chamber staff — both new hires and veteran employees — have received ethics trainings that covered financial disclosure, standards of conduct, the Public Officers Law, JCOPE and more.

From day one of her administration, Governor Hochul has prioritized ethics, transparency, and changing the culture of State government. This includes major personnel changes including appointing a new Inspector General, ending the controversial “special counsel” initiative in state agencies, and replacing all Chamber staff who had been named in the Attorney General’s report. Governor Hochul also directed all agency heads to submit transparency plans, is taking steps to reduce the FOIL backlog in the Executive Chamber, and has begun conversations with key stakeholders on how to overhaul JCOPE.

Source: Governor NY State