U.S. Civil Rights Commission Examines Sexual Harassment in Federal Govt (State, NASA) #FedMeToo

 

On May 9, 2019, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held a public hearing in Washington, D.C. to examine the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) enforcement efforts to combat workplace sexual harassment across the federal government, including the frequency of such claims and findings of harassment, the resources dedicated to preventing and redressing harassment, and the impact and efficacy of these enforcement efforts. The briefing also examined agency-level practices to address sexual harassment at the U.S. Department of State and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Commissioners heard from current and former government officials, academic and legal experts, advocates, and individuals who have experienced harassment.

Below is the video of the event. The State Department portion starts at the 2 hour mark. After listening to the State Department representative OCR’s Gregory Smith presentation in this hearing, we’re now actually curious about the kind of training he is talking about. It almost sound as if he’s waving the State Department training as a magic wand.  And after everything he said during the hearing, we are no closer in understanding what specifically is involved in their sexual harassment training.

Also, apparently, according to the State Department rep, they “strongly enforced” steps against people taking any type of retaliation but … admitted under questioning by the USCCR that “no one has been  fired” for retaliation (3:07 mark). Well, now …

Jenna Ben-Yehuda, the President and CEO of the Truman National Security Project and a former State Department employee also spoke at this hearing as well as Stephen T. Shih, NASA’s Associate Administrator for Diversity and Equal Opportunity.  Both were impressive.  This is worth your time, and don’t miss the Q&A at the end.

Morning Session: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0GjPYRAsHQ . (includes State, NASA Reps)
Afternoon Session: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOZqWFIimoQ (includes CRS rep, NSF)
Public Comments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgEFjUr3gHE . (includes USDOJ, State FSO)

The Commission says it routinely seeks public comments on the substance of its briefings. The public comment period is 30 days following the date of the hearing or briefing, unless provided otherwise.  Since the public briefing: “Federal Me Too: Examining Sexual Harassment in Government Workplaces” occurred on May 9, the  Commission will accept written materials until June 10 for consideration as they prepare their report on the subject. Please submit no later than June 10, 2019 to sexualharassment@usccr.gov or by mail to: Staff Director/Public Comments, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 1150, Washington, DC 20425.

We understand that the USCCR has asked employees (and the public) for information about:

  • the culture surrounding the reporting of harassment in State and other agencies
  • the reporting process, and
  • new tools that can be used to address the issue
  • prevention of harassment
  • suggestions how to increase enforcement of existing regulations against harassment
USCCR said during the public comment portion that interested parties may submit materials for the Commission’s consideration, including anonymous submission (mark 13.14). Those who are submitting comments with their names attached may want to inquire about privacy/confidentiality for the reporting individual and material as the USCCR will be releasing a public report at some point. An employee  speaking on background notes that individuals who signed NDAs with State may also wish to consult with  a lawyer before writing to the USCCR. We’re not equipped to give legal advice and we think it’s prudent to consult with a lawyer on the limitations on what is shareable to USCCR given the uniqueness of each sexual harassment case.

#

Advertisements

We’re not buying a plane, but we do need your help :-)

 

We’ve been putting this off for as long as we could. Our last fundraising was done the year before last from May 10-July 20, 2017. That funding ran out at the end of May 2018. We have not done a fundraising since then, so we’ve been in a hole for the last year.

We’re not about to splurge on a private plane after we splurge on unlimited coffee, but we do need your help :-).  This year we’re going to attempt to raise $40K for 60 days from June 5 to August 5. This would fund the blog from August 2019 – August 2020. We don’t want funding to start before that as we have some obligations to attend to. and blogging could be light to nothing for at least a few weeks this summer.

If we don’t make our goal, that probably is our signal to exit. The blog will then stop updating in August 2020. If we do make more than our goal, we will apply any amount beyond our goal to our funding for the following year.

We are looking forward to  hanging around a bit longer on this watch, but our ability to do that depends on the generosity of blog friends and readers. We know this year has not been particularly easy for many people, but if you are able to help us keep this blog going for another year, we’d appreciate your support.

Please see our GFM page here: https://www.gofundme.com/help-fund-the-blog-diplopundit-2019.

 

 

DISCLAIMER: For over a decade, Diplopundit has covered the goings on in ‘Foggy Bottom’ and the ‘worldwide available’ universe. Note that this blog has no/no official connection with the U.S. Department of State, the Foreign Service, or any other branch of the U.S. Government.

NOTE:  For first time donors using GoFundMe, here is a list of FAQs for you: https://www.gofundme.com/questions .  For donors who do not want to display their names on the campaign page and want to make their donations anonymous, this one’s for you:


#