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Indianapolis could soon have a standard sexual harassment policy for its top employees

Posted at 2:19 PM, Apr 12, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — After years with no standard policy, the City of Indianapolis could soon require all its top officials to undergo sexual harassment training.

A proposal introduced by City-County Councilor Michael McQuillen, R-District 4, would mandate all city and county elected officials, councilors and supervisory-level employees to attend a sexual harassment awareness and prevention training program.

“Indianapolis kind of has a patchwork [policy],” McQuillen said. “Some departments have things they do, some don’t. The sheriff’s department, for example, has a plan, and some city departments. But I thought it was a good idea to have a standard for the city and county – Indianapolis and Marion County – just so we have expectations in place on what’s appropriate and what’s not.”

Supervisory-level employees are defined in the proposal as “all city and county department heads, directors, and supervisors.”

But why shouldn’t simply every city or county employee be required to undergo this training?

McQuillen said that’s what he believes will eventually happen.

“In the beginning, it was more important to start with the supervisors, those people who are over others and make sure those expectations are clear for those individuals to begin with,” McQuillen said.

He also said he’s heard stories and situations of harassment, but not any “really horrible situations” in his years on the council. The goal of the proposal is to be more proactive than reactive to what’s happened.

McQuillen, the council’s minority leader, said he believes there will be a lot of support for his proposal.

There has been a lot of national and state media attention on the #MeToo movement. Victims of sexual harassment or abuse have felt more empowered to speak up and report what’s happened.

It was also on McQuillen’s mind when he filed the proposal.

“Unfortunately, so many times, cities and municipalities are driven by what’s going on in current events and around the country,” he said. “I think there’s been a lot more focus on this issue lately. There was no reason to wait any longer, now is the time to strike.”

The proposal still needs to go through the council’s ethics committee, scheduled for April 25 at 5:30 p.m. After that, it will go to the full council for a vote.