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Interdisciplinary Committee on Organizational Studies - ICOS pres.

Examining Harassment Experiences Among National Park Service Employees

Armando X Estrada, Temple University

In September of 2014, the Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Sally Jewell received a letter of complaint from 13 former and current National Park Service (NPS) employees who described incidents of discrimination, retaliation and hostile work environments they experienced or witnessed over their 15 years of collective employment at NPS (US Department of the Interior, 2016a). These complaints were validated by the DOI Inspector General and subsequently triggered investigations and congressional hearings into the nature and extent of sexual harassment within the NPS work environment. In response to these events, the leadership of the NPS renewed its commitment to making substantial and long-term cultural changes at the agency to prevent sexual harassment and to ensure every employee has a safe and respectful work environment (Reynolds, 2016). As part of these efforts, the leadership of the NPS commissioned a study of the work environment at the NPS. The study was designed to assess employees’ attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors on a wide range of topics related to the character, context, correlates and consequences of harassment and/or assault behaviors experienced by employees within the NPS work environment. This presentation will present findings related to employees’ experiences with harassing and/or assault behaviors and situational factors surrounding these experiences. The presentation will also report findings regarding demographic, occupational, and organizational factors linked with harassing and/or assault behaviors experienced at work; and job-related consequences of harassing and/or assault behaviors experienced at work. The presentation will discuss how the results from the study served to inform, influence and impact strategic and long-term efforts to change the NPS culture, to prevent sexual harassment and ensure that every employee has a safe and respectful work environment.
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