By Daniel Webster, dweb.News
LOS ANGELES—-(BUSINESS WIRE)-After an eight-month-long review of agency workplace conditions, a report is now available on allegations of systemic Equal Employment Opportunity-related harassment, discrimination and retaliation at Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
The Metropolitan Board of Directors voted to make the report public on July 13. It includes recommendations to address the observations. The 67-page report, which was prepared by Shaw Law Group, a Sacramento-based firm, will be presented and debated at a special meeting of the Organization, Personnel and Technology Committee on July 27.
Gloria D. Gray, Metropolitan board chairwoman, stated that she looks forward to reviewing the report to discuss its recommendations and supporting our board’s unwavering commitment to ensure every employee feels safe. “Providing a work environment that encourages and respects diversity, equity, inclusion and diversity–both in practice and policy–has been and will remain my highest priority.”
Abel Salinas, Metropolitan’s Ethics Officer, selected Shaw Law Group in December 2020 on behalf of the board. He also oversaw the independent review by the board of directors of the district’s EEO policies, procedures, and employee allegations of EEO concerns. This was after several employees raised concerns about systemic workplace harassment, retaliation, and other issues.
The law firm conducted interviews of more than 190 employees as part of the review. It also directed a district-wide workplace survey. It reviewed existing policies and the process through which EEO claims are handled. It also examined Metropolitan’s compliance to industry best practices.
Metropolitan is one, said Adel Hagekhalil, General Manager. That means that every employee matters, is valued, and should have the chance to succeed. I want to express my deepest gratitude for all Metropolitan employees and stakeholders that participated in the climate survey and interviews. Particularly those who bravely shared their stories and shed light onto a situation that led the board to request a review of the agency’s policies and practices. I want to thank Shaw Law Group for their important report and recommendations, which will help us ensure a safe and positive work environment. I will work with the board, our workers, and our bargaining organizations to resolve the issues that were raised by our workers.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, a state-established cooperative, provides water for 19 millions people in six California counties. It also supplies water to 26 other cities and retailers. To supplement local supplies, the district imports water from Northern California and Colorado River. It also helps its members develop water conservation, storage, and other resource-management programs.
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