SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon Secretary of State audit has found the Department of Administrative Services does not provide sufficient oversight of investigations into workplace discrimination and harassment throughout state government.
The Statesman Journal reports the audit, released Wednesday, also concluded that investigations were conducted differently across state agencies, long investigations cost the state millions of dollars, investigations can be slow to be initiated and the state lacks formal training for staff who perform these investigations.
One of the key findings was that the length of investigations vary dramatically between state agencies. On average, agencies took 56 business days to complete an investigation from the date the allegation was received.
Oregon Secretary of State's Office news release:
Secretary of State Bev Clarno Releases Audit of State Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Practices
SALEM, OR — The Department of Administrative Services (DAS) has an opportunity to enhance its leadership, oversight, and analysis of statewide workplace discrimination and harassment trends and risks, according to an audit released today by the Secretary of State.
The findings are outlined in the report entitled: “DAS Needs to Provide Oversight to Improve Investigations of Workplace Discrimination and Harassment at State Agencies”
DAS has a legal responsibility to provide oversight of workplace discrimination and harassment investigations. However, the agency has delegated the authority to conduct these investigations to state agencies. Additionally, DAS has provided no training and limited guidance on how to conduct these investigations. Recent changes to state laws and policies have increased employers’ responsibility to respond to and track allegations, but auditors found gaps in the laws and policies, as they contain no guidance on how to use the allegation data.
“All of us have a duty to take steps to prevent and address acts of discrimination and harassment,” said Secretary of State Bev Clarno. “While Oregon has taken steps to better address allegations and support victims, there is still more that can be done. By implementing the recommendations contained in our report, DAS will demonstrate its leadership and commitment to protecting those serving in government.”