Thursday, March 31, 2016

Why Female River Guides Aren't Welcome in the Grand Canyon

In early January, the Department of the Interior’s Inspector General released a 13-page report chronicling 15 years of sexual harassment and hostile working conditions for National Park Service employees working on the Colorado River. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell requested the investigation after 13 Park Service employees sent letters to Jewell detailing their experiences working in the Grand Canyon’s River District, a subsection of the Park Service that oversees the Colorado River. The conclusion by the Inspector General was stunning: “We found evidence of a long-term pattern of sexual harassment and hostile work environment in the GRCA River District,” the report said. “In addition to the 13 original complainants, we identified 22 other individuals who reported experiencing or witnessing sexual harassment and hostile work environments while working in the River District.” The report referred to both current and former Park Service boatmen, supervisors, and other employees. Names were not mentioned. Instead, those bringing allegations were referred to as Employees 1-19, and those accused of wrongdoing were called Boatman 1, 2, and 3, and Supervisors 1-7. Instances of sexual harassment included episodes in which Boatman 1 repeatedly propositioned Employees 2 and 3 for sex, and Boatman 2 took a photo up Employee 1’s skirt. Examples of creating a hostile work environment included Boatman 3 refusing to provide food to women on his trips if they rejected his sexual advances, and yelling and threatening Employee 4 while holding an axe. The boatmen mentioned in the report received small reprimands over the years for their actions, such as written warnings and brief suspensions...more

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is not just the park service. The hostile work environment extends throughout the Department. While the Secretary of the Interior talks a good story, its pretty bleak. All I ever wanted to do was my job. People on the regional director's staff pretty much ran roughshod over employees they deemed "unsuitable". People screaming obscenities, innuendo about sexual orientation, physically threatening employees.