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Feminist News


March-16-96

Sexual Harassment Cases in Federal Government Take Years to Resolve

On Wednesday, the Washington Post published an article which described the history of a sexual harassment case against Richard L. Frazier, a construction analyst at the Housing and Urban Development office in Hartford, Connecticut. An investigation that took almost a year ended in Frazier being suspended for two months without pay for "sexual harassment and for engaging in notoriously disgraceful conduct." After an appeal Frazier won, it took until December 1995 for a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to rule that it was sufficient to prove misconduct and that behavior that adversely affected the efficiency of the government agency.

In November, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) released a survey finding that only 6 percent of federal workers who said they had been sexually harassed said they would file formal complaints with their agencies. Many victims indicated that they believed little action would be taken or that filing a compliant would make their work more difficult. The survey found that 44 percent of women who responded had been the subject of "uninvited, unwanted sexual attention."

Media Resources: The Washington Post - March 13, 1996