Murphy revises state policies for handling alleged sexual misconduct

In an apparent response to its handling of a state employee’s rape allegation, the Murphy administration has released changes to how it will address allegations of sexual misconduct going forward.

“By embracing a survivor-centered approach in New Jersey, we are creating an environment where survivors of sexual harassment, misconduct, or assault are not only encouraged to come forward, but when doing so, they are met with dignity, respect, and a straightforward process to attain justice,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement.

The revised policy applies to all employees and applicants for employment, including gubernatorial transition offices.

It also broadens the definition of sexual assault to include “sexual physical contact that involves any form of coercion, force, or lack of consent.”

The policy will clarify that victims can file a criminal complaint with law enforcement where the incident occurred as well as with the Equal Employment Office.

Once a complaint is filed but before an investigation begins, corrective measures can be taken, including “separation of parties, removal of parties from the workplace, and involvement of law enforcement when appropriate.”

Finally, the policy will expand the list of factors in determining whether a case should be opened for investigation.

The revised policies and procedures will require a formal rule change in the New Jersey Administrative Code, but EEO Officers will be trained immediately on the new rules.