SANATOGA PA – Amendments to the anti-harassment policy in Lower Pottsgrove Township’s employee manual have been approved by the Board of Commissioners, in a move it hopes will finally end what could be considered one of the less-appealing chapters of local 2012 history.
The changes were adopted following a months-long investigation by the board, Manager Rodney Hawthorne, and specially hired attorneys into charges by one employee that another had engaged in harassment, although how often, in what form, and who it involved have never been publicly specified. Throughout the investigation, which ran from February through July, commissioners cited their ability under state law to keep personnel matters confidential.
Re-writing the policy was one of several suggestions made by outside legal counsel to which the board paid thousands of dollars for assistance and advice.
Hawthorne said the modifications included changes to language that defines what constitutes harassment, and how such charges will be handled in the future. It also sets out a “series of corrective action plans” for those found to have violated the policy, he said, and ensures employees will not suffer retaliation for lodging harassment claims.
Board President Jonathan Spadt reported in July the employee against whom harassment claims were made received “corrective action” as discipline, but it did not involve termination, suspension, or withholding compensation. Attorneys working on the board’s behalf determined “no violation of law occurred,” Spadt said.
In addition to the corrective measure, the attorneys also recommended all township employees, workers and managers alike, participate in half-day anti-harassment training sessions. Those were held July 19.
Board members unanimously approved the amended policy during their Dec. 20 meeting.
Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ Dec. 20 meeting):
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