Oregon Audit Finds Insufficient Oversight of Harassment Investigations

October 22, 2020

An Oregon Secretary of State audit has found the Department of Administrative Services does not provide sufficient oversight of investigations into workplace discrimination and harassment throughout state government.

The Statesman Journal reports the audit, released Wednesday, also concluded that investigations were conducted differently across state agencies, long investigations cost the state millions of dollars, investigations can be slow to be initiated and the state lacks formal training for staff who perform these investigations.

“All of us have a duty to take steps to prevent and address acts of discrimination and harassment,” Secretary of State Bev Clarno said in a statement. “While Oregon has taken steps to better address allegations and support victims, there is still more that can be done.”

In their response to the audit, DAS agreed with recommendations and indicated they were already working to enact changes, but implementation for most were dependent on the agency’s budget for next biennium.

DAS oversees the statewide human resources system, which includes workplace discrimination and harassment investigations.

One of the key findings was that the length of investigations vary dramatically between state agencies. On average, agencies took 56 business days to complete an investigation from the date the allegation was received.

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