City Beat

Audit finds gaps in sexual harassment policies at Sacramento City Hall

The city of Sacramento’s sexual harassment policy does not meet state requirements and “could benefit from a comprehensive update,” the city auditor found.

A report released late Thursday by City Auditor Jorge Oseguera also identified gaps in the process the city uses to ensure that its supervisors comply with sexual harassment training requirements set by state law. It found that more than 130 supervisors who should have taken state-mandated training had not done so.

Oseguera issued his report at the request of Councilman Steve Hansen, who asked for a review of the city’s sexual harassment policies last month in the wake of claims made against Mayor Kevin Johnson and Councilman Allen Warren. The claim against Johnson was later found to be unsubstantiated by the city attorney and an independent counsel, but the claim against Warren is still under investigation.

The auditor will present his findings on the sexual harassment policy at the City Council’s Tuesday night meeting.

“It’s pretty self-evident that the auditor found our policies are not up to snuff and they’re in need of some major reform,” Hansen said. “If we can accomplish that reform, it at least sends the right message that we have zero tolerance for harassment.”

The auditor’s report said city management is working on a draft policy that includes many of Oseguera’s recommendations.

Oseguera’s inquiry found that the city’s sexual harassment policy had not been significantly updated in years, although some changes had been made. It also found several areas in which the city’s policy should be updated to meet guidelines set by the state Fair Employment and Housing Commission. Those areas include disclosing the illegality of sexual harassment, providing more details on how to file complaints and clarifying that sexual harassment can occur between people of the same gender.

The audit also recommended incorporating elements of sexual harassment policies from other cities. Those include specifying how complaints against City Council offices should be handled and addressing harassment of transgender people.

Oseguera’s office examined how the city of Sacramento is complying with AB 1825, a state law that requires supervisors in organizations with more than 50 employees to take sexual harassment training every two years.

The audit found 1,085 of 1,112 city supervisors who were told to take the training had done so. However, another 134 supervisors were not ordered to take the training and should have been, the report stated. The audit said those supervisors should take the training by the end of this year.

Johnson called last month for every member of the City Council to take the training, despite a legal opinion from the city attorney that AB 1825 did not apply to elected officials. Oseguera’s report said Johnson and every member of the council has taken the training.

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