The Forest Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has been facing sexual harassment allegations for years. There have also been claims that whistleblowers have been retaliated against. Recently, the case ended up in front of members of Congress, who laid into the Forest Service for allowing such a culture to be created.
For example, a woman who works as a wildland firefighter said that she was physically abused on the job. The woman works in the Eldorado National Forest, in California.
She said that a male supervisor abused her by touching her explicitly and against her will with a letter opener. She said he was arrogantly smiling while he did it, which she claims was because he thought he could do anything he wanted and get away with it.
The woman said she tried to report what was happening, but the assaults continued. She then claims she was retaliated against by being isolated, moved to a different post and taken out of her role as a supervisor.
That’s just one story, but reports claimed it was far from unique and the members of Congress said they heard many similar allegations from other employees. They called the acts horrifying and despicable. The chairman of the committee even said that rapes went unreported because women who had been assaulted were afraid they’d just be fired if they said anything.
No matter the industry you work in, whether in the private sector or the government, sexual harassment is illegal. So is retaliation against whistleblowers. If you’ve been subjected to either, you must know your legal rights and options.
Source: Trib Live, “Forest Service raked over coals over sexual harassment complaints,” Dec. 02, 2016