Whistleblowers Report to Cummings Multiple Allegations of Harassment by Senior State Department Employee
Whistleblowers Report to Cummings
Multiple Allegations of Harassment by
Senior State Department Employee
Washington, D.C. (Jan. 22, 2018)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson requesting information about members of the Department’s Senior Executive Service who have been the subjects of multiple complaints, including Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints.
“Several career employees at the State Department, including one of my constituents, have written to me raising serious allegations that the Department has repeatedly failed to eliminate the hostile work environment created by a member of the SES,” Ranking Member Cummings wrote. “The employees allege that he ‘has a long history of brutalizing female and minority staff’ and ‘creates a climate of fear.’ The employees complain of ‘daily humiliation and denigration,’ ‘unwarranted accusations of poor performance,’ and ‘denied resources to perform our jobs’ that have led to ‘immeasurable losses’ by the employees.”
As Cummings explained in his letter, these employees allege that multiple complaints have been filed against this individual that resulted in settlements, but they claim the Department has taken little action to hold this employee accountable or protect employees from abusive management practices.
“The number of employees who have raised allegations about this individual is striking, and the severity of the emotional distress and career harms they report is profoundly troubling,” Ranking Member Cummings wrote.
Cummings asked the Department to produce information about complaints against the senior employee, any findings of discrimination or retaliation, and any settlements entered into, as well as information about multiple complaints filed against any other SES employees.
Cummings has been a champion for whistleblowers throughout his career. On November 12, 2012, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill Ranking Member Cummings cosponsored in the House—the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act—which significantly expanded protections for federal employees who expose waste, fraud, or abuse. Cummings also introduced the All Circuit Review Act, which was passed by the House last year, to make permanent the ability of whistleblowers to appeal cases from the Merit Systems Protection Board to any circuit court of appeals with jurisdiction.
In December, Cummings sent a letter informing Chairman Trey Gowdy about another whistleblower who came forward to Cummings with evidence that Lt. General Michael Flynn—within minutes of Donald Trump being sworn in as President—was communicating directly with his former business colleague about their plan to work with Russia to build nuclear reactors in the Middle East.
Click here to read today’s letter.