The 413 national parks in the United States represent the great natural and historic wonders of the country. Millions of people visit them every year and experience unique attractions that are preserved and protected with pride. However, in California's Yosemite and other parks across the country, reports of sexual harassment have lawmakers in Washington, D.C. wondering if the parks' female employees are as carefully protected.
A report by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of the Interior found that apparently women employees at the Grand Canyon were routinely victimized. Those who refused sexual advances say they faced retaliation. One woman told of a male ranger who watched her shower through the bathroom window and was still promoted through the agency despite the complaints she and many others made about his voyeurism.
Despite her dedication and achievements in her field, the same woman reports having experienced hostility on the job for over 30 years. Now at Yosemite, she and other employees say they face toxic working conditions in which they are bullied and belittled by the park's superintendent. The Park Service Director says the allegations are being taken seriously, and that if they are found to be valid, those responsible will be disciplined. However, some lawmakers remember that a task force apparently made those same promises 16 years ago.
Whether they work in the great outdoors or in a one room office, employees have the right to work free from the fear of sexual harassment. Those in state parks in California and across the country may have already contacted a law firm to represent them in this matter. An attorney experienced in cases of harassment and exploitation on the job will defend their rights to a safe and nontoxic work environment.
Source: NBC Los Angeles, "Sexual Harassment Common in National Parks, Congress Told", Matthew Daly, Sept. 23, 2016