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3 County employees disciplined after displaying noose

| October 21, 2014, 10:20 AM | 0 Comments

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Anne Arundel County Executive, Laura Neuman

Anne Arundel County Executive, Laura Neuman

County Executive Laura Neuman hosted a press conference yesterday to stress the important role cultural sensitivity plays in the diverse workforce that composes Anne Arundel County government. Spurred by a recent isolated incidence of racial and cultural insensitivity – in which three employees were disciplined for fashioning and displaying a noose and exchanging inappropriate jokes – the event highlighted efforts present and future by county government to develop a more culturally sensitive workforce.

“Our employees are our greatest asset, and it’s critical that we facilitate a diverse work environment in which everyone is given equal opportunity,” said County Executive Neuman. “Understanding the sensitivity of racial and cultural differences is the first step in preventing discrimination and harassment. This administration recognized early on the need for Diversity Training and for the creation of a compliance officer position, and this incident reinforces both.”

At the administration’s directive, the county’s Office of Minority Affairs has to date hosted 30 Diversity Training sessions for over 360 supervisors, managers and assistants across nine departments to help county employees develop the cultural competence needed to support workplace diversity. Most recently, Minority Affairs also hosted a session for employees in the department in which the incidence of insensitivity occurred.

In the interest of improving how incidences of cultural insensitivity are handled, the administration began discussion over a year ago regarding the establishment of a compliance officer position. A resolution to create this position will be heard by the County Council tonight. If passed, the compliance officer would be responsible for monitoring and ensuring compliance with federal, state and local laws that prohibit discrimination and harassment in county government.

“As with any continually progressing issue like cultural sensitivity, there will always be room for growth in any and every organization,” County Executive Neuman said. “Anne Arundel County is not far off from where it should be, but we can do better.”

Source: AACo

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