TRENTON, N.J. – Two bills (A5629 and A5630), sponsored by Assemblywoman Nancy F. Munoz, that strengthen the state’s response to workplace discrimination and harassment by creating a hotline for state employees and ensuring the governor is made aware of reports, were back in the Assembly today to concur with Senate amendments. They once again passed the full Assembly unanimously.
The bills were part of a package that addresses the findings by a legislative panel responsible for providing oversight and transparency of the administration’s hiring practices.
Assemblywomen Nancy Munoz (R-Union), who served as vice chair of the Legislative Select Oversight Committee, said, “I commend the Assembly for taking a positive step forward to protect all state workers who want to report harassment and discrimination.”
The first bill (A5629) ensures that those in leadership positions like the governor are made aware of complaints and that those who are the subject of the complaint be made aware of the investigation outcome within 30 days.
“By ensuring the governor is aware of a complaint, we can ensure accountability for following through with that complaint,” said Munoz. “This bill just clarifies what should have been happening all along. Heads of agencies and the governor are in need-to-know positions.”
Munoz’ second bill (A5630) requires the Civil Service Commission to create and maintain a telephone hotline so state employees can submit reports and receive information on the laws, regulations, policies, and procedures relevant to incidents of discrimination or harassment in the workplace. Upon the request of an employee who calls the hotline, the hotline must provide the employee with appropriate referrals for further assistance and counseling. The commission must provide for the confidentiality of the names of the employees calling, the information discussed and any referrals. They also must train persons staffing the hotline in consultation with the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
“Workers deserve a confidential avenue to make reports and find help,” said Munoz. “I urge the governor to make the safety of state workers a priority and sign these bills into law.”