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Hempstead Town to contract for harassment prevention training

Town of Hempstead officials say they are planning

Town of Hempstead officials say they are planning to train their staff on harrassment prevention. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Town of Hempstead is seeking proposals for harassment prevention training, including to avoid sexual harassment, in light of the recent allegations of inappropriate behavior and misconduct elsewhere across the country, officials said.

The request for proposals' deadline is July 6, according to a copy posted on the town's website.

The consultant who receives the contract will review the town's current harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination and workplace violence policies to determine if they are in line with best practices and how to improve them, the RFP states.

“I welcome all workplace training, particularly dealing with such important issues as sexual harassment," said Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney, the town board's Republican majority leader. "It is long overdue, and I look forward to rolling it out for the Town of Hempstead workforce.”

The winning bidder must also provide training for reporting incidents, confidentiality, supervisors' roles and a prohibition on retaliation, as well as programs for both management and nonmanagement employees, according to the RFP. The consultant would also provide training sessions for the town's investigation team to show them best investigation practices.

"The Town of Hempstead is seeking proposals from qualified vendors to provide training for town employees to equip them with the knowledge, tools and support to prevent harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination and violence in the workplace," the RFP stated. 

Supervisor Laura Gillen said the town's sexual harassment policy had not been updated since 2008 and did not include a training program. When she got into office in January, her staff began reviewing the town's policies and procedures across departments.

With nearly 4,000 part-time and full-time town employees — who are "wonderful" — the supervisor said the training is a preventive measure in light of the current climate. She said there were no "trigger" events that led to the RFP.

 “We want to make sure we send a very clear message to every employee that harassment of any kind is not going to be tolerated,” Gillen said.

Nassau County's two other towns, Oyster Bay and North Hempstead, also have harassment training programs and policies. North Hempstead is currently working to update its rules. 

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