N.J. Chamber of Commerce Teams with New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault to Fight Sexual Harassment in the Workplace


Today, the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA) announced a partnership to strategically address the issue of workplace sexual harassment in New Jersey.

The two organizations will launch the partnership with a series of sexual harassment prevention seminars throughout the state this year. These seminars will be targeted to senior level business executives. Other chambers of commerce will be invited to participate.

The time and location of the first seminars will be announced at the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce’s Walk to Washington on February 27 and 28. There will be no cost for executives to attend.

“These seminars will be an important first step as we work to create safer working environments for all of us,” said Patricia Teffenhart, executive director of NJCASA. “Executives are in a position to make workplaces safer for everyone by setting the tone from the top that their organizations are not places where harassment of any kind, including sexual harassment and assault, is tolerated.”

“Our dialogue started by exploring how the State Chamber can be a leader in improving the culture at conferences like our Walk to Washington and make them safer and more welcoming for all,” said Tom Bracken, president and CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. “It naturally expanded into a broader conversation about making all work environments comfortable for everyone to work and thrive.”

Earlier this month, the Chamber announced a series of initial steps designed to address potential harassment at the Walk to Washington. These steps include publishing a new Code of Conduct, increasing security, establishing a hotline for immediate reporting of incidents, and banning hard alcohol on the charter train ride.

“Culture change is slow and methodical,” Teffenhart said. “The Chamber has taken a step forward in addressing toxicity and expanding a professional environment that heightens the principles of safety and equity. We look forward to continuing our work together and strengthening this practice through the coming years.”

“Business leaders are in powerful positions to initiate change,” Bracken said. “The goal is straightforward. There is no place for sexual harassment anywhere. Let’s work together and fight harassment everywhere. The fight starts with our own workplaces.”

The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce regularly conducts sexual harassment awareness training for its employees. This month, NJCASA will be leading the training at the N.J. Chamber’s offices.

Because the Chamber hosts many business conferences and networking events, the training will include modules focused on preventing harassment at events and effectively responding to it when reported.

NJCASA will also help the Chamber develop the response procedures for the incident hotline established for the Walk to Washington.

The two organizations plan to partner on additional initiatives during 2020 to raise awareness about the issue.

About the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA): The New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA) is the statewide advocacy and capacity building organization that represents New Jersey’s 21 county-based sexual violence programs and the Rutgers University-New Brunswick Office of Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance. NJCASA elevates the voice of sexual violence survivors and service providers by advocating for survivor-centered legislation, training allied professionals, and supporting statewide prevention strategies that work to address and defy the socio-cultural norms that permit and promote rape culture. For more information, visit www.njcasa.org

About the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce: The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce is a business advocacy organization that represents its members on a wide range of business and education issues. Based in Trenton, the organization also links the state’s local and regional chambers on issues of importance through its grassroots legislative network. For more information, visit njchamber.com