Sex Discrimination:

DEA's Handling of Sexual Harassment and Other Complaints

OSI-94-10: Published: Mar 4, 1994. Publicly Released: Mar 8, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) investigation and resolution of equal employment opportunity (EEO) complaints, focusing on: (1) sexual harassment complaints; and (2) factors affecting the promotion and retention of women.

GAO found that: (1) factors impeding the successful implementation of an EEO program at DEA include employee skepticism, dissatisfaction, fear of retaliation, and misunderstanding; (2) DEA employees lack confidence in the competence of EEO counselors and question the sensitivity and objectivity of investigators and complaint processors; (3) employees believe that management responses to reported incidences are insufficient; (4) employees do not understand what constitutes prohibited behavior or what action to take when such behavior is brought to their attention; (5) employees are dissatisfied with the thoroughness and length of time involved in investigating and processing complaints; (6) employees do not believe that disciplinary actions taken are effective deterrents to future harassment; and (7) women agents have identified a lack of enforcement-related assignments and promotion opportunities, career-limiting job assignments, and limited representation of women in managerial positions as factors affecting the retention and promotion of women.

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