Posted: 3:31 am ET
On January 11, Deputy Secretary Sullivan held a session “Harassment in the Workplace” at the State Department (see @StateDept to Hold “Harassment in the Workplace” Session But First, Read This FSI Sexual Harassment Case). The following day, Secretary Tillerson delivered his remarks on values, also specifically addressing sexual harassment.
We understand that for a while there on January 12, Secretary Tillerson’s Conversation on the Value of Respect was reportedly the “tip of the day” when you log in to the Department’s OpenNet. That’s right, just mere hours after the President of the United States was reported to call certain countries “shitholes” during a meeting with lawmakers at the White House. Click here for reactions from different countries.
We’re not sure why both Deputy Secretary and the Secretary talked about sexual harassment two days in a row. Our most charitable take is that this is something the State Department cares very much, and the senior leadership would like to impress upon employees the importance it places on sexual harassment (see our posts on sexual harassment here). The less charitable take is that they’ve heard about folks talking to Congress about sexual harassment at the State Department, and they did not want to be perceived as not doing anything. (See Senators Seek Review/Analysis of @StateDept and @USAID Sexual Harassment and Assault Data; Congress Seeks Info on @StateDept Senior Executives Who Are Subjects of Multiple Complaints; Inbox: “State Department absolutely deserves to have a trial by media”).
Of course, we also have our jaded take and we’re not alone on this — that Tillerson’s folks had atrocious timing, and did not want to seem like the Secretary was criticizing his boss on the day when the “shitholes” comment was bouncing around the globe.
Fast-forward to February 12, Tillerson has now reportedly announced mandatory sexual harassment training for State Department employees. Reuters reports that the mandatory training is supposed to be completed by June 1:
“There is no form of disrespect for the individual that I can identify, anything more demeaning than for someone to suffer this kind of treatment,” he said.
“It’s not OK if you’re seeing it happening and just look away. You must do something. You must notify someone. You must step in and intervene,” Tillerson added, speaking in Cairo to about 150 U.S. embassy staff outside the ambassador’s residence.
We’d be interested to know who provides the training, and what’s the source of the training material. For those who experienced sexual harassment first hand, we’d like to know if you think this mandatory training would help remedy the problem.
Tillerson announces mandatory sexual harassment training https://t.co/N7Pp6hBa6X
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) February 12, 2018
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) February 12, 2018
Secretary Tillerson: Harassment and abuse have no place in a country founded on the value of individual liberty. It can have no place in our State Department– not here in Washington, not at our posts abroad, nowhere. It will not be tolerated. pic.twitter.com/WUIZxNEcNJ
— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) January 12, 2018
AND NOW THIS — Randy Rainbow’s ‘Stand By Your Man’ is quite memorable.
— Randy Rainbow (@RandyRainbow) February 12, 2018