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Report: Park Service complaints highlight problematic leadership

It is troubling enough when even one person is subjected to mistreatment and rights' violations on the job. When multiple people are being targeted and harassed on the job, it is crucial that action be taken to remedy the situation.

Unfortunately, for several female workers with the National Park Service, this did not happen in light of their complaints that they had been harassed, threatened and retaliated against on the job. Now, the director of the Park Service is facing widespread criticism for his handling -- or non-handling, rather -- of the situation.

According to reports, there have been complaints of such conduct at various locations across the country, including three cases right here in Florida. Stories ranged from women being pressured into sex to a hostile work environment and acts of retaliation.

As bad as all these stories are, the element of this story making headlines most recently is the allegation that the director knew about these situations and did little or nothing to penalize the offenders.

Lawmakers from both parties criticized the director, saying that he failed in many different ways to address the widespread problem and discipline workers. For instance, one worker accused of three different sexual harassment violations was never fired; in fact, he was offered a new job at the agency's headquarters.

This is just one example of the intimidation and inaction victims of harassment can face when they do come forward to report such misconduct. Too many employers try to sweep the situation under the rug or ignore allegations of sexual harassment. This is not only reckless and irresponsible, it is also a violation of employee rights.

If you feel leadership has failed to properly address reports of harassment in your workplace, you have the right to take legal action to protect yourself. Consulting an attorney and filing a legal claim can ensure that appropriate measures are being taken to penalize parties and to compensate you for damages you have suffered as a result of harassment in the workplace.

Source: The Washington Post, "Lawmakers charge Park Service chief oversees culture of sexual harassment," Lisa Rein, June 14, 2016

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