Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D. issues First Executive Order

 Topeka– Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D. today issued his first executive order as Governor of Kansas.  The order put forth a policy regarding sexual harassment in the Executive Branch of Kansas government.  He was joined by Cabinet Secretaries as well as the President of the Women’s Foundation as he signed the order.

“It is incumbent upon us, the leaders of this state to attack this issue head on,” said Governor Colyer in a news conference on Monday morning, “We now have the opportunity to look in the mirror and see whether we can do a better job of protecting state employees. This executive order is an important first step toward ensuring Kansas employees are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

The Governor’s Office has already conducted their first harassment training session in partnership with the Women’s Foundation.

“We are pleased Governor Colyer is taking action during the very first week of his administration to combat sexual harassment and ensure a safe and professional workplace culture across state government,” said Women’s Foundation President and CEO, Wendy Doyle. “His decisive leadership sends a clear message that sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation will no longer be tolerated under the Capitol dome or anywhere in state government.”

The full text of the Executive Order can be found below.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 18-04

Policy Regarding Sexual Harassment

WHEREAS, sexual harassment and retaliation for sexual harassment claims are unacceptable forms of discrimination that must not be tolerated in the workplace; and

WHEREAS, state and federal employment discrimination laws prohibit sexual harassment and retaliation in the workplace; and

WHEREAS, officers and employees of the State of Kansas are entitled to working conditions that are free from sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation; and

WHEREAS, the Governor and all officers and employees of the State of Kansas should seek to foster a culture that does not tolerate sexual harassment, retaliation, and unlawful discrimination.

NOW THEREFORE, pursuant to the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Kansas, I hereby order as follows:

  1. All Executive Branch department and agency heads shall have available, and shall regularly review and update at least every three years or more frequently as necessary, their sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation policies. Such policies shall include components for confidentiality and anonymous reporting, applicability to intern positions, and training policies.
  2. All Executive Branch department and agency heads shall ensure that their employees, interns, and contractors have been notified of the state’s policy against sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation, and shall further ensure that such persons are aware of the procedures for submitting a complaint of sexual harassment, discrimination, or retaliation, including an anonymous complaint.
  3. Executive Branch departments and agencies shall annually require training seminars regarding the policy against sexual harassment, discrimination, or retaliation. All employees shall complete their initial training session pursuant to this order by the end of the current fiscal year.
  4. Within ninety (90) days of this order, all Executive Branch employees, interns, and contractors under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Governor shall be provided a written copy of the policy against sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation, and they shall execute a document agreeing and acknowledging that they are aware of and will comply with the policy against sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.
  5. Matters involving any elected official, department or agency head, or any appointee of the Governor may be investigated by independent legal counsel.
  6. The Office of the Governor will require annual mandatory training seminars for all staff, employees, and interns in the office regarding the policy against sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation, and shall maintain a record of attendance.
  7. Allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination, or retaliation within the Office of the Governor will be investigated promptly, and violations of law or policy shall constitute grounds for disciplinary action, including dismissal.
  8. This Order is intended to supplement existing laws and regulations concerning sexual harassment and discrimination, and shall not be interpreted to in any way diminish such laws and regulations. The Order provides conduct requirements for covered persons, and is not intended to create any new right or benefit enforceable against the State of Kansas.
  9. Persons seeking to report violations of this Order, or guidance regarding the application or interpretation of this Order, may contact the Office of the Governor regarding such matters.

This document shall be filed with the Secretary of State as Executive Order No. 18-04 and shall become effective immediately.