Maryland General Assembly to conduct 'workplace climate survey' to detect possible harassment concerns

Maryland General Assembly orders a survey to detect harassment in the workplace in the legislature
Maryland General Assembly orders a survey to detect harassment in the workplace in the legislature(Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

A year after state lawmakers began to address concerns about sexual harassment among the legislature’s workforce, leaders of the Maryland General Assembly on Tuesday said they are conducting a “workplace climate survey.”

House of Delegates Speaker Michael E. Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. announced that they have hired a company to review the workplace climate in the legislature. The Florida-based company, TalentKeepers, will survey more than 1,600 lawmakers, staffers and lobbyists.


In a statement, Busch said that the “direct, anonymous feedback” will help leaders improve the working environment at the legislature.

“We want to do everything possible to ensure that the Maryland General Assembly is a model workplace for other Legislatures and the State of Maryland,” Miller said in a statement.

Amid a tide allegations of impropriety by high-profile men in Hollywood, the media and politics across the country, Maryland lawmakers will begin tracking harassment complaints against state lawmakers. But all the complaints will remain confidential.

The survey, which will cost $25,000, will be conducted this month with findings presented to the Legislative Policy Committee later in the year.

The Maryland General Assembly, like other workplaces, has taken steps to improve reporting and training related to sexual harassment in light of the “Me, Too” movement. The climate survey was one of the recommendations from a General Assembly Workplace Harassment Commission that reviewed the legislature’s current policies.

The Maryland Women’s Caucus released a report last year that detailed anonymous stories of assault and harassment in the state capital. The caucus said there was confusion about the reporting process and a reluctance for victims to report assaults.

For the first time, the General Assembly in 2018 released some details of harassment complaints against lawmakers. Seventeen complaints were lodged against lawmakers between January and November of 2018, including 11 that alleged sexual harassment.

As Maryland state lawmakers consider how to reduce sexual harassment in its ranks, the Women's Caucus released a report with anonymous vignettes about misbehavior in the General Assembly.

None of the accused lawmakers was named in the report and it’s not clear how many lawmakers were the subject of complaints.

One of the reports did become public: Baltimore Del. Curt Anderson was investigated for complaints of harassment and assault. Anderson, who denied the allegations, was stripped of some of his leadership positions and was ordered to participate in anti-harassment training.


All 188 lawmakers and their staffs have been undergoing sexual harassment prevention training this year, at a cost of $45,000.