Comprehensive new report highlights urgent need for Interior Department to take greater action against sexual harassment
Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of the Interior (DOI) released a new report, Opportunities Exist To Improve the U.S. Department of the Interior's Efforts To Address Sexual Harassment, that confirms in detail the need for the department and its agencies to take stronger action against sexual harassment of employees. Committee on Natural Resources Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) released the following statement:
“The Office of the Inspector General has done a great public service in studying this issue with the seriousness it demands. As a report my staff published in 2017 showed, and this new review confirms in detail, sexual harassment pervades the Interior Department and nearly all of its bureaus. Department of the Interior has implemented some positive changes since then, but real change requires a systemic, cultural shift that starts from the top. Leadership must dedicate significant time and resources towards addressing this problem. Out of the eleven recommendations issued in this report, Department of the Interior has only implemented three of them so far. We will continue to work with Department of the Interior and conduct necessary oversight to ensure the rest of those recommendations are implemented as swiftly and comprehensively as possible.”
Chair Grijalva has led congressional oversight efforts on sexual harassment at Department of the Interior. Natural Resources Committee Democrats requested the initial NPS employee survey and its subsequent expansion to include seasonal employees; requested a hearing on the issue in the 115th Congress while Ranking Member Rob Bishop (R-Utah) was chairman; and spoke at a budget hearing to highlight the Trump administration’s failure to exempt staff necessary to deal with the sexual harassment case backlog from then-Secretary Ryan Zinke’s hiring freeze.
Also in the 115th Congress, then-Ranking Member Grijalva released a report entitled #InteriorToo: Addressing sexual harassment across the Department of the Interior starts with strong anti-harassment policies. The report focuses on the sexual harassment problems across Department of the Interior and its agencies and offers recommendations on implementing strong anti-harassment policies.