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In the wake of #Metoo, Newport Beach considers revisions to harassment and discrimination policy

In the wake of #Metoo, Newport Beach considers revisions to harassment and discrimination policy
Revisions to the city’s workplace harassment and discrimination prevention policy keep pace with state laws passed last year in the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement. (File Photo)

The city of Newport Beach is poised to update its workplace discrimination and harassment prevention policy in response to recently expanded state protections.

The proposed new policy, which the City Council will take up on Tuesday, eliminates the “severe and pervasive” legal standard formerly used to determine if alleged behavior rises to the level of unlawfulness, expands sexual harassment prevention training and generally establishes a hard line against harassment and discrimination.

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This will keep pace with laws passed last year in the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements highlighting the pervasiveness of workplace sexual harassment and misconduct.

The proposed policy statement includes the following new language: “The city of Newport Beach has a strong commitment to prohibiting and preventing discrimination, harassment and retaliation in the workplace … the city has zero tolerance for any conduct that violates this policy. Conduct need not rise to the level of a violation of federal or state law to violate this policy.”

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Newport last revised its discrimination and harassment prevention policy in 2016. Updates at that time included adding gender, general identity and gender expression to protected characteristics.

Other items on Tuesday’s agenda include the formation of a city homelessness task force and amendments to the structure of the Aviation Committee.

The meeting starts at 4 p.m. with a study session, followed by the regular session at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 100 Civic Center Drive.

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