order non hybrid seeds LandRightsNFarming: FW: Susan Morris Repond to Rany Moore Letter on Alicia Dabney, August 26, 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

FW: Susan Morris Repond to Rany Moore Letter on Alicia Dabney, August 26, 2012


From: LawrLCL@aol.com
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2012 20:09:10 -0400
Subject: Fwd: Susan Morris Repond to Rany Moore Letter on Alicia Dabney, August 26, 2012
To: angusfarms@hotmail.com

Sent: 8/27/2012 7:04:48 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
Subj: Susan Morris Repond to Rany Moore Letter on Alicia Dabney, August 26, 2012

Porterville Recorder


Letter to the Editor:


The response by Randy Moore, Regional Forester, Pacific Southwest Region, U.S. Department of Agriculture (DA), Forest Service (FS), is typical bureaucratic nonsense.  Instead of taking responsibility for the serious sexual abuse and harassment against Ms. Dabney, Mr. Moore is giving lip service to the problem by providing standard non-responses to the press, usually drafted with the assistance of the legal and personnel offices. This boiler-plate response does nothing but increase costs, inevitably paid for by the taxpayer, and delay justice.


First, Mr. Moore reiterates EEO policy stating that the Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, is "strongly committed to providing a workplace where all employees are valued, safe and respected," and that "harassment and discrimination in any form are not tolerated by our agency." This is the "zero tolerance" civil rights response.  Second, he states that he cannot comment on the specifics of the case because "the referenced personnel case" is "in litigation."  Third, he states that there have been "no findings of employee discrimination against the FS for this past year," and fourth, he mentions the agency's "aggressive training regimen" for the workforce.  Finally, Mr. Moore's states that, "We investigate all allegations of misconduct in a formal process that protects victims and affords the due process the law requires for the accused." He appears to be referring to discrimination and sexual harassment as "misconduct" and the EEO complaint investigation as the "formal process," that protects victims and affords due process to the alleged discriminating officials.  The EEO investigative process does not protect victims or provide due process for the perpetrators.


Most civil rights professionals are aware of the serious problems in the DA and FS because of their inability to effective resolve or handle complaints of discrimination.  Findings of discrimination, class complaints and consent decrees are nothing new in DA.   Forest Service data on complaints (which does not include all employees who come into the system at the pre-complaint stage) shows that there has been an increase in complaints of discrimination from FY 2010 and 2011 up to the 3rd quarter 2012 (see No Fear Act FS Report posted on line).  There were 93 harassment complaints filed by employees on various bases, such as race, age, gender, and disability; and 8 sexual harassment complaints filed based on gender.  Mr. Moore's response that "there were no findings of discrimination for the past year" was a red flag for me, a civil rights subject matter expert, that there were findings in other periods.  Checking, I found that the agency reported 12 findings of discrimination in 2010 and 11 in 2011, with the major bases of reprisal, age and disability.  Based on the data, Forest Service is retaliating against employees who engage in protected activity by entering the complaint process covered by the civil rights laws and regulations.       


Mr. Moore's proud assertion that the FS has an "aggressive training regimen" is ridiculous. The No Fear Act of 2002 made it mandatory that 100% of employees in the Federal government be trained in the requirements of the Act and sexual harassment training has been conducted for decades.  A major issue is that agencies fail to penalize discriminating officials, but instead retaliate against the victims of discrimination.  Years ago, two senior managers told me that they appreciated the penalty of receiving the civil rights training because it gave them an opportunity to go to Manhattan enabling them to take in a play on Broadway.  Many employees simply sleep through the training or take it on line to meet the mandatory requirement.  The ineffectiveness of their "aggressive training regimen" is  evident by the number of complaints filed on reprisal and harassment in the FS. 


Finally, the FS has the capability to conduct an inquiry into Ms. Dabney's allegations regarding the abuse and harassment she has endured at the hands of male FS employees.  It is not hard if you know what you are doing to determine if her allegations are valid.  Instead, another bureaucratic strategy is being employed, which is to fire the victim so that she will have to defend herself without the necessary resources to do so, while using unending government resources to defeat her.  Everyone is aware of the fact that the lengthy administrative complaint process, including the EEOC, MSPB and OSC processes), has become a disincentive for complainants and the civil rights laws and regulations are not working.  We all need to protest this action by FS and other agencies, such as EPA, who continue to take action against complainants and whistleblowers.  The Recorder needs to dig deeper into these allegations and not allow Mr. Moore's answers to satisfy them. 


Susan Morris

August 26, 2012