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National Park Service Plagued By Employee Sexual Harassment Claims

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July 5, 2016

Recent Congressional hearings, and investigations of sexual harassment at the Grand Canyon, Canaveral National Seashore, and at least one other location, have led the U.S. Park Service to confront a lax attitude toward appropriate workplace conduct that is pervasive in the male-dominated system. The Washington Post highlights issues at Canaveral, which has been the subject of four investigations by the Park Service inspector general since 2012, an unusually high number for a small park with just 50 employees. In its most recent report, the inspector general pointed to the park’s chief law enforcement officer as the source of a pattern of unwanted advances and attention to female subordinates, as well as inappropriate remarks. The park has been “run like a fiefdom” for years, the Post writes, with higher-ups bringing on friends and relatives for jobs and contracts, punishing employees who blew the whistle, and mistreating subordinates they did not like. “We recognize that we’ve got a fairly non-diverse history and a heavily male culture,” Michael Reynolds, the agency’s associate director for human capital, told the Post. “We’re addressing it. We hope we’ll be much healthier for it.” The agency plans to hire an outside contractor to conduct an anonymous survey of its 22,000 full-time and seasonal employees to determine how widespread sexual harassment may be.

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