More than 1,500 Interior employees removed or reprimanded for harassment, misconduct

The Interior Department has punished more than 1,500 employees for harassment or other misconduct since the beginning of last year.

The revelation came Wednesday in a department-wide email obtained by The Hill in which Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt updated employees on the state of the administration’s attempted crackdown on misconduct.

Bernhard also told workers about new changes to address workplace concerns included developing action plans to curtail inappropriate behavior and expanding an ethics program within the agency.

“From day one, [Interior] Secretary [Ryan] Zinke and I have been committed to leaving the Department in better shape than we found it; this includes addressing employee misconduct and harassment and improving our ethics program,” Bernhardt wrote in the email.

In April, the department released its first comprehensive policy on the Prevention and Elimination of Harassing Conduct.

Bernhardt, in the email, urged staff to continue to come forward with any concerns.

“Despite these efforts, we can only take action when we are aware of misconduct or unethical behavior. For this to happen, employees have to be willing to come forward. I want you to know that your leadership is listening, and we are committed to holding individuals accountable when they have failed in their duties and obligations,” he wrote.

Zinke has long blamed the Obama administration for failing to react to harassment concerns within the Interior Department, which includes the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service.

Read More
%d bloggers like this: