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.
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.
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."
Last year's State of the Judiciary speech by Chief Justice John Roberts came shortly after 15 women accused veteran jurist Alex Kozinski of the 9th Circuit of ongoing sexual harassment and misconduct. Kozinski has since retired.
Last week, the Department of Justice issued new directives to address sexual harassment in its workplaces. Some complain, however, that the policies invite uneven application from section to section, and that could mean leaving victims of harassment and assault unprotected.
When the Navy began integrating submarines eight years ago, there was push-back. Some submariners, veterans and submariners' wives thought the living quarters were just too tight and that lack of privacy and the potential for romantic entanglements would be disruptive.
Last month, 15 women accused veteran 9th Circuit jurist Alex Kozinski of engaging in a pattern of sexual harassment and misconduct. Kozinski, 67, served for 32 years on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. After a partial apology, he announced his retirement.
Sexual harassment remains a serious problem in the workplace in Texas and among federal workers. Recent scandals of high-profile members of Congress do not touch the depth of the problem, however, and the executive branch could be facing more scrutiny in the future than it has in the past. There is a government-wide study on the subject of sexual harassment but that has been held up.