STATEMENT: Investigation Committee Chair Addresses Privacy Concerns

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Josh Cockroft (R-Wanette), chair of the House Special Investigation Committee, today addressed the decision of the Committee to hold its meetings in private:

“The sole reason for holding these meetings in private is to protect the confidential information of victims and un-elected witnesses – not to protect lawmakers. In order to have a workplace where employees feel protected and valued, it is vital that we guard the privacy of those who make claims of harassment and discrimination. Allowing confidential information to become public would not only violate the trust of those claimants, but it would have a chilling effect that would discourage employees in the future from coming forward when they have been harassed or abused.

“In fact, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has produced guidance for state agencies to protect the confidentiality of claimants when harassment has been alleged. If our goal is to create an environment where sexual harassment, discrimination, abuse and misconduct are not tolerated, it is vital that we maintain the integrity of the process that encourages employees to make claims when they have been wronged.“