Sexual harassment in the DEA
Between January 7 1989 and May 1993, Office of professional Relations (OPR), opened 684 investigations. Fifteen of these cases involved incidents of sexual harassment. During the same period 100 discrimination complaints were filed with Equal Employment Opportunity office (EEO), Seven were due to alleged sexual harassment.
GAO, Office of Special Investigations was requested by the House of Representatives, Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee to conduct an investigation. GAO inquired into EEO complaints, with emphasis on Sexual harassment within the Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Many factors impeded their research.
Employees who had personally been involved in cases, or had witnessed serious problems were skeptical dissatisfied or fearful of chain of command retaliation.
Employees frequently expressed a lack of confidence in the objectivity of OPR, and EEO who bore responsibility for processing complaints. They often questioned the sensitivity of EEO and OPR investigators. Employees and supervisors alike appeared confused as to what constituted improper behavior, and what action to take when a complaint was received.
GAO's investigation was also hampered when DEA restricted their access to EEO and OPR files, Inspection reports, and certain statistical files. DEA officials cited what they termed as 'document sensitivity'. GAO investigators were offered edited and condensed EEO and OPR files in relation to cases requested. GAO therefore, could not verify the integrity of the files.
Reproduction of OPR files and inspection reports was prohibited by DEA. Notes were taken, but a lack of copies greatly affected GAO ability to carry on comprehensive interviews. It was not always possible to confront individuals on potential discrepancies between statements they had made to OPR, and statements made to GAO investigators.
GAO did however, investigate 22 agency identified sexual harassment cases and 37 other EEO complaints. They visited ten offices in nine states, and the District of Columbia. They interviewed 63 current and former DEA personnel. Private attorneys, and other federal employees both male and female.
DEA administrator were seldom cooperative. Investigators often experienced delays of up to six weeks for requested documents. DEA refused to provide a comprehensive list of OPR investigations between 1989, and 1993. Instead, they provided a list of cases 'they' identified as representing all sexual harassment related cases. Subsequent to receiving DEA's comprehensive' list additional cases were discovered thus indicating that what the DEA had provided did not truly represent the total universe of cases.