Denver mayor not on board with sexual harassment survey for city employees

DENVER -- Mayor Michael Hancock is not considering surveys to gauge the prevalence of sexual harassment among City and County of Denver employees.

In early April, surveys and interviews of 500 people who work at the Colorado state Capitol showed 27 percent had observed or experienced harassment.

The report came after a number of state lawmakers were accused of sexual harassment.

Hancock was accused of sexual harassment in late February by a Denver police detective.

He apologized for sending inappropriate text messages to the detective but stopped short of calling his actions sexual harassment.

“At this time, [a survey] is not a conversation that is being had with human resources," Hancock spokeswoman Amber Miller said. “The only entity that is asking whether we should survey the employees of the city is FOX31.”

The FOX31 Problem Solvers are not the only ones openly suggesting the city survey employees.

“My belief is that you can’t change what you can’t measure," Women of Denver CEO Krystal Covington said.

Covington, an advocate for women, wants Hancock to get on board with an employee survey to measure the prevalence of sexual harassment in the city.

“Doing a survey like this will help to understand where the culture is today," Covington said.

Denver's Office of Human Resources said it gauges employee satisfaction every other year through a survey about violence and bullying, but that survey does not specifically measure sexual harassment.

The office said it is not experiencing an increase of complaints about sexual harassment. However, that does not mean there should not be a survey, according to human relations experts.

“There’s a lot of unreported harassment discrimination that’s happening and it’s not being reported because of a fear of retaliation,” Nora Burns with HR-Undercover said.

City and County of Denver employees are going through anti-sexual harassment training that is expected to be complete by the end of May, according to Miller.

Miller says FOX31 is the only entity that has suggested surveys to the City and County of Denver. Women of Denver did not approach the city suggesting such surveys but tells FOX31 it supports surveying employees to measure the prevalence of sexual harassment.

The mayor's office released a statement on the matter.

“The city has an Office of Human Resources that offers significant, safe and confidential avenues to listen and respond to employee concerns. They advise all city departments on these matters including the Mayor’s Office. If they saw an indication of a reoccurring issue or future challenge, we would look to their expertise for a recommendation of the appropriate steps to take. The Mayor and administration will continue our ongoing work with Human Resources to ensure a respectful workplace free from harassment and discrimination in any form.”