The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Inspector General recently released a report critical of the U.S. Forest Service, which it oversees. The report evaluated whether the Forest Service responded adequately to complaints of sexual harassment and misconduct in its Pacific Southwest region between 2013 and 2017. It found several serious deficiencies.
One order from a U.S. District Court judge and another from a 9th Circuit appeals panel both say that certain Trump administration policies unlawfully discriminate against foreign-born military personnel.
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued stays on two nationwide injunctions involving the Trump administration's ban on military service by transgender people. Previously, federal district courts in California and Washington state had issued the injunctions to put the policy on hold while litigation continued. The Supreme Court's stays on those injunctions means that the administration may now implement the policy while litigants fight over its legality and constitutionality.
Two former airmen who are HIV positive claim that the Air Force discharged them in violation of the law and its own policies. The two men are asymptomatic and had been cleared for duty when they were suddenly barred from deployment and discharged earlier this year. And, they suspect there are many others who may have been affected by violations of the service's policy.
In 2016 and 2016, a female faculty member and lieutenant commander at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, filed a complaint about harassment and bullying by supervisors based on her race and gender. The Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General has just released a report finding that the Academy not only failed to respond properly but also retaliated against her.
When two firefighters brought an age discrimination suit against their tiny fire district, the fire district defended itself by saying that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) didn't apply. According to its reading of the law, only employers with at least 20 employees were covered, and it didn't meet that threshold. The firefighters argued that the 20-employee threshold only applies to private-sector employers. This jurisdictional question was appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.
In 2012, the Service Women's Action Network (SWAN), an advocacy group for female soldiers, filed a lawsuit challenging a 1994 Pentagon policy barring women from serving in combat roles. That policy kept women from serving in 238,000 positions in the military.
According to a letter submitted by members of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General received a sexual misconduct complaint against FEMA's then chief component human capital officer (CHCO) on May 1, 2017. By that time, FEMA employees had already filed eight complaints against the CHCO alleging non-sexual misconduct since 2001, along with 14 complaints that referenced him. Yet an investigation into the sexual misconduct complaint didn't begin until December 2017.
Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Brock Long recently issued a statement saying that FEMA's former chief component human capital officer (CHCO) had been the subject of an internal investigation before he resigned on June 18. That years-long investigation, Long said, revealed "lapses in professional responsibility" that he called "deeply disturbing."
A report by the Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector general highlights a gender inequity problem in all four of the department's law enforcement components: The FBI, the DEA, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Marshalls Service. The review found women to be underrepresented in operational positions generally and even more so in leadership. Unfortunately, male staff seemed unaware of the problem.