Gov. Phil Murphy Outlines Initiatives For State Workplace Reform

Gov. Phil Murphy said the state is beginning its review of current workplace standards and trainings in an effort to combat culture issues in Trenton.

The aim, according to the governor, is to ensure the broadest scope of workplace protections possible for state employees, ensuring equity for all regardless of sex, race or gender identity. 

“Make no mistake: I believe that a more respectful culture for women in our state is a moral imperative,” said Gov. Murphy. “Getting to the root causes and dismantling a system that has existed for far too long won’t be easy, but [this] announcement is the most recent example of my administration taking meaningful steps in the right direction.”

Review Outline

The state is currently in the process of identifying a labor expert to assess the current systems and procedures and make recommendations on how to move forward. The consultant, working with labor unions and other interested parties, will be required to:

  • Conduct a thorough review of current training for employees and making recommendations on how to improve that training;
  • Conduct a comprehensive evaluation of what steps are presently taken in state government to prevent sexual harassment or workplace issues and determine where systems work and fail and for what reasons;
  • Develop new, more robust and thorough trainings through a lens of equity and inclusion focusing on challenging custom, habit, and implicit bias; and 
  • Develop constructive training on how to build equity-based work environments, not dealing with managing an issue after the fact.

Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, who is part of the Workgroup on Harassment, Sexual Assault and Misogyny in New Jersey Politics, wants the reforms to go beyond Trenton.

“While this initiative is for state government, it is my hope that the protections and training we put in place extend beyond state agencies and inspire meaningful change at workplaces throughout New Jersey,” said Oliver. 

Investing Resources

Additionally, the governor committed investing resources to do in person and interactive training for state employees; providing the opportunity to more people in government to become trainers; and measuring outcomes and reaching for specific benchmarks to ensure the work is done thoughtfully and in an accountable way.

Murphy believes the state can be a national model on making the workplace reforms needed to root out toxic cultural issues.

“While we have made progress, I recognize that our state has a long way to go,” opined Gov. Murphy. “I will embrace and take every action necessary to ensure that work environments are fully characterized by mutual respect and dignity and I will ensure they are places where everyone can succeed.” 

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