Legislature spells out harassment policy | NevadaAppeal.com

Legislature spells out harassment policy

Nevada Legislative interns and other nonemployees will no longer be covered by the Legislative Counsel Bureau’s anti-harassment policies.

But Director Lorne Malkiewich says the changes approved by the Legislative Commission on Wednesday don’t mean open season on the university students and others who come to the Legislature.

“Inappropriate conduct will continue to be addressed,” he said. “Everybody is still prohibited from engaging in it.”

Malkiewich said the nonemployees were removed from the harassment policy because “this is the employee policy.” He said nonemployees aren’t covered by federal laws on harassment in the workplace.

He said in the process, the policy was broadened considerably to cover not only sexual harassment but all forms of harassment.

He said while nonemployees, such as university interns who work with legislators, aren’t directly covered, “that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to protect everybody who comes into the building.” He said the same standards apply to all cases of harassment.

The overall effect, Malkiewich said, will be to strengthen protections for anyone who believes they have been harassed.

“If someone comes to me and alleges inappropriate conduct within this building, it will be dealt with,” he said.

The policy itself adds sections strongly encouraging employees to report violations.

And it concludes by serving notice that all the prohibitions against sexual harassment and other unlawful harassment of employees “also apply to vendors, contractors, customers and visitors of the Legislative Counsel Bureau and any other person who comes in contact with an employee of the Legislative Counsel Bureau in the regular course of business.”

The subject of interns has been a touchy one for lawmakers who, on more than one occasion in the past, have been accused of inappropriate conduct around the university students involved in the program.

Most recently, allegations were made involving the conduct of Assemblyman Mark Manendo, D-Las Vegas, during the 2003 session. No formal charges were filed, however. While none of the investigation has been publicly released, Manendo lost his post as chairman of the Government Affairs Committee this year.

Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at nevadaappeal@sbcglobal.net or 687-8750.