In an attempt to stay in front of a disturbing nationwide issue, Idaho lawmakers are spearheading workplace harassment awareness. Legislators were required to attend a training session on the issue Tuesday afternoon.
“We want to set the example frankly,” House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, said.
An example of the type of behavior that everyone should be conducting in their workplace in Idaho.
“Just making everyone aware so that this place can function as it should as an example to all the other businesses in the state,” Bedke said.
Every legislator from Sandpoint to Montpelier was required on Tuesday to attend a workplace harassment training session to help clear up any misconceptions or questions they may have regarding harassment in the workplace.
“We have a requirement that we keep a safe working place, that we adhere to all those policies and procedures that others do; and I think that it's really important in this environment that we're reminded of what our posture should be,” Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb, D-Boise, said.
These training sessions are nothing new, Bedke along with Senate Pro Tem Brent Hill have held them on the second day of the session over the last several years.
“Civility one year, it may be ethics the next, this year was about respectful workplace,” Bedke said.
An issue many of those on both sides of the rotunda agree should be addressed.
“We have turnover in our body, we have different youth every year, we have different people working in the environment. We've got to make sure that we're on our game and that it's top of mind,” Buckner-Webb said.
Tuesday's presentation was given by two attorneys with the Idaho Division of Human Resources and the Idaho Attorney General's Office. The two helped define what harassment is, reporting avenues, how common it is in the workplace, and the potential penalties for workplace harassment.
“It's a starting point. There's more to learn, there's more to go, but at least we've got the ball rolling and we're talking about an issue we need to talk about,” Rep. Mike Moyle, R-Star, said.
Hill and Bedke are putting together a committee to help update their 10-year-old harassment policy.
“We hope to appoint a steering committee made up not only of legislators, but of members of the lobby corps and the press and others to make sure that we don't miss anything,” Bedke said.
Hill announced during Tuesday's training that legislators will now be required to go through similar harassment training every two years.