Sex Discrimination:

Agencies' Handling of Sexual Harassment and Related Complaints

T-OSI-94-22: Published: Mar 8, 1994. Publicly Released: Mar 8, 1994.

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GAO discussed its review of the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms' (BATF) investigation and resolution of sexual harassment complaints. GAO noted that: (1) DEA employees were reluctant to use the complaints process because they feared reprisal from managers; (2) female employees were concerned because investigators demonstrated a lack of sensitivity and the DEA and BATF investigative units primarily employed male investigators; (3) complainants and witnesses were concerned about the overall independence, objectivity, and thoroughness of the DEA and BATF internal investigative units; (4) the investigative units did not always show an understanding of concerns unique to sexual harassment allegations; (5) the investigative units did not guarantee complainants a right to representation or focus on whether complainants' rights were violated; and (6) neither agency had adequately communicated to employees general information on the consequences of sexual harassment. GAO noted that, in the last year, BATF has taken actions it recommended to improve its handling of sexual harassment complaints.

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