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Sexual Misconduct and Harassment Uncovered in Grand Canyon River District

The Department of Interior’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has found evidence of a long-term pattern of sexual harassment and hostile work environment in the Grand Canyon National Park’ (GRCA) River District.

Thirteen former and current National Park Service (NPS) employees who had worked in the River District at various times over the past 15 years alleged “discrimination, retaliation, and a sexually hostile work environment.” Upon further investigation, another 22 individuals were identified who reported experiencing or witnessing sexual harassment and hostile work environment while working in the River District.

Of the 80 people interviewed, eight women stated that male colleagues reacted in a hostile manner during river trips when advances were rejected. Another interviewee said non-compliant female colleagues were denied food.

The report focuses on allegations lodged against four employees, identified as Boatman 1, 2 and 3 and Supervisor 1. Boatman 2 resigned in June 2006 after serving a 30-day suspension for taking a photograph under an employee's dress. In July of 2013, after a 2-week suspension for groping and propositioning an employee, Boatman 1 resigned. And Supervisor 1, who served a 10-day suspension 10 years prior for sexually inappropriate behavior, retired in May 2015.

Boatman 3, who propositioned employees for sex, is still employed by the Park Service.

The report charts only a dozen instances since 2003 in which park employees have been disciplined for sexual misconduct and concludes that responses to harassment complaints and any resulting discipline have been so inconsistent that many women decided against reporting them at all. Many of the incidents were reported to supervisors, but were not properly investigated or reported to human resource (HR) or Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) representatives.

Posted in General News

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