Bloomberg’s company announces new mandatory sexual harassment training

Business

Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York City, speaks at CityLab Detroit, a global city summit, on October 29, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan.

Bill Pugliano | Getty Images

After Mike Bloomberg took a beating in his first appearance on a Democratic debate stage for alleged harassment and non-disclosure agreements at Bloomberg LP, the company he founded is ramping up its sexual harassment training.

In a memo sent to employees on Tuesday afternoon, ahead of Bloomberg’s second debate appearance, the company underlined its “zero tolerance” policy for harassment, while announcing a mandatory program to prevent harassment.

“I want to underscore our long-standing commitment at Bloomberg LP to creating a culture that makes all employees feel safe, supported and empowered to thrive in their careers,” Ken Cooper, head of human resources, wrote in the memo, which was obtained by CNBC. “Today, I want to highlight an important step that we’re taking to ensure we have best-in-class workplace policies and procedures.”

Cooper, who said that “Bloomberg has long had a zero tolerance policy when it comes to harassment and discrimination,” said the company last year partnered with Prevention Innovations Research Center at the University of New Hampshire to create a program called Bringing in the Bystander.

Bringing in the Bystander is a form of harassment training that helps employees “understand how to respond if they witness inappropriate behavior,” he said.

The course has been available as optional training since June 2019. Bloomberg LP will now make it mandatory for all to take by April 3, due to “highly positive feedback” it has received from the more than 1,200 participants that have taken it, Cooper said.

Bloomberg LP didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The memo comes as Bloomberg has had to answer to a barrage of criticism for past offensive comments he has made and allegations of mistreatment of females at Bloomberg LP A number of women have signed NDAs with the company. He took heat again over NDAs on Tuesday night in the early stages of the South Carolina debate.

During last week’s debate in Nevada, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts brought those criticisms to the stage. She railed against Bloomberg for having called women ‘fat broads’ and ‘horse-faced lesbians.” She also took him to task for not releasing the women who had signed non-disclosure agreements from their bounds of confidentiality.

Later that week, Bloomberg announced he will release women from three non-disclosure agreements with his media company if they wanted. He also said the company will no longer offer NDAs “to resolve claims of sexual harassment or misconduct going forward.”

Bloomberg board chairman, Peter Grauer, later that day wrote an email to employees reiterating the ban against further NDAs. He also told employees, “we will continue to partner with our Human Resources team to ensure that our workplace policies.”

While Bloomberg is running for president, he has relinquished leadership of the company over to a management committee.

Follow the Democratic debate live updates here.

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