Washington, D.C. — Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:
The Center for American Progress, as a progressive organization, should and must hold itself to the highest standard against sexual harassment. It is our obligation to ensure that every one of our employees feels safe, valued, and protected. In recent days, we as an organization, and I as its leader, have fallen short of this obligation. We must—and we will—do better.
We have seen that sexual harassment affects nearly every segment of our society. Our staff members have stood at the forefront of fighting this harassment, and they have every right to expect that their leadership lives up to the standards they have helped set.
Moving forward, it is my commitment that CAP will do everything in its power to make greater progress toward realizing those ideals—both within our society and within our own walls.
As the beginning of a staffwide process and conversation to improve CAP’s policies against sexual harassment and discrimination, as well as improve its internal culture, this week, the organization announced a series of actions. These initial steps include, but are not limited to, the following:
First, the organization will establish annual and mandatory sexual harassment trainings as a permanent fixture of CAP and will hold additional training on addressing workplace inclusion. CAP will also bring in an external evaluator to ensure that its sexual harassment policies and procedures are as strong as possible; the evaluator will examine CAP’s past practices as well as its current policy. In addition, the organization will expand the capacity and staff of its human resources department. CAP will also conduct a climate survey to receive anonymous employee feedback on its current environment. Furthermore, it will establish a confidential web portal and 1-800 number where all employees can report any instance of harassment or discrimination that they may experience or witness.
These steps will build on changes that CAP has already made over the past year to its current workplace conduct policy—which requires that employees hold themselves to a stricter standard than the law requires, consistent with CAP’s values. The organization has also strengthened its policies for investigating allegations of discrimination and harassment, provided greater training for its human resources staff on how to address allegations of such conduct, and adopted new procedures for informing complainants about the status of these investigations.