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Maryland firm will investigate discrimination in state offices

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Ten months after a group of African-American ministers and the NAACP said that widespread racism existed within Department of Labor offices and Secretary of Labor John McMahon said he could not intervene because they gave no specifics in their claims, Gov. Jack Markell has hired a Maryland company to “improve upon the working climate in state government” and make the state “a model for addressing any form of workplace discrimination.”

“Delaware’s government must reflect the rich diversity of the community we serve,” Markell said. “I remain committed to ensuring that we foster a healthy, supportive, and responsive work environment for all employees, and as part of that work, we have hired Ivy Planning Group, a leading management consulting firm, to conduct an independent, comprehensive review of State policies, procedures, and organizational structure. They will support our effort to create a more diverse and inclusive environment where employees are confident they will be treated fairly.”

McMahon, the labor secretary who put the state’s formerly onerous unemployment application process online and established vocational programs for high school students, retired after the flap over ministers’ assertions.
The outsider reviewers from Ivy Planning Group in Bethesda, will do an extensive document review, evaluate state workforce data, visit state agencies, interview agency directors and executives and human resources staff, use best practices research and make use of  surveys and focus groups and interviews with a diverse cross-section of state employees. The employees will remain anonymous.

“We’re committed to leading the way to being a fully inclusive employer through strong policies and consistent practice, as well as a welcoming culture, and I look forward to receiving and implementing the recommendations presented to us at the conclusion of this review,” Markell said.

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