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New Jersey may get the first government harassment reporting plan

Does the New Jersey government have a problem with sexual harassment? Some lawmakers in Trenton think that a "toxic culture of abuse" requires some proactive measures to get legislators on the same page before they take office.

A state senator from Monmouth County is sponsoring a bill that would require an independent investigation of reported harassment and discrimination in the state government. Moreover, the bill includes a provision to require training to prevent harassment for politicians, with penalties for candidates and officeholders who fail to complete it.

New Jersey would have the first system in the nation to investigate these cases independently. California has previously considered similar laws after a series of reported incidents. In the Garden State, a recent gubernatorial campaign was marred by a staffer sexually assaulting a co-worker, while a congressional campaign was suspended after the female candidate struggled with harassment.

The proposed system would include various ways of reporting incidents of harassment, including a potential anonymous option. Investigations would be overseen by at least one independent professional with certification and experience in helping the survivors of sexual abuse and assault.

One of the results of the system would be a unified database of complaints. This would help track the potential of abuse and assault if politicians and staffers change venues throughout New Jersey.

Victims of sexual harassment in any careers and jobs have the right to speak up for themselves and recover with support. Lawsuits against employers and firms with problems harassing employees and others can help prevent future issues and compensate victims for the trouble they have experienced.

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