Sexual harassment in the DEA
DEA denied access to data on the current assignment of women agents. Although they initially agreed to allow GAO review of relevant raw data concerning women's job placement, six weeks later they changed their mind, and denied access to the requested information. GAO inspectors held two meetings and wrote three letters to the Assistant Attorney General for Administration, the latest in August of 1993. As of March of 1994 response had not been received.
In seven of the ten DEA field offices employees expressed concern over the ability of EEO counselors to conduct their duties. In some cases the EEO counselors themselves related they did not feel they had been adequately trained to conduct official investigations. One EEO counselor stated often counselors are spoon fed information on how to handle cases by headquarters EEO personnel. Some also express concern when junior grade employees presented complaints to senior grade employees.
Two female employees complained that use of male investigators when attempting to discuss embarrassing or sensitive material was extremely difficult. Often the complainant felt intimidated or bullied by the OPR or EEO counselor. Some employees stated that OPR investigators made them feel once more victimized.
In two cases, investigators focused primarily on whether a personal relationship existed between the complainant and the alleged harasser. The investigator to appeared to attempt to characterize the incidents as 'lovers' quarrel'. In several cases OPR investigators disportionately centered on complainant credibility and 'maturity', rather than the details relevant to the complaint.
Establishing credibility of participants in a complaint is essential. However, in one case the OPR investigator appeared to focus more on the complainant's character than on facts surrounding the specific alleged incidents. Similar focus on the alleged harasser was not forth coming.
Objectivity was questioned by some employees. GAO investigators were informed of OPR investigators who socialized with the alleged hasasser.
In one specific case the OPR investigators were seen joking in the office and going to lunch, as well as having drinks after work with the alleged harasser. OPR officials admitted having lunch with the harasser, but denied having drinks with the individual. One OPR official did however meet the harasser at a 'lounge' after work to get some papers 'signed'.