order non hybrid seeds LandRightsNFarming: Press release

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Press release


For Immediate Release
November 20, 2014
James Pollack – 202-225-3531

Congresswoman Speier Calls on USDA IG to Investigate Allegations of Sexual Harassment and Retaliation in Region 5 Forest Service
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswomen Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo Counties) sent a letter yesterday to Phyllis Fong, Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, calling on the Inspector General to lead an independent investigation into allegations of sexual harassment, attempted sexual assault, gender discrimination, and whistleblower retaliation in Region 5 of the U.S. Forest Service. Speier was joined by Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, and Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation of the House Natural Resources Committee.
Recent reports in the New York Times and High Country News revealed a toxic work environment for female firefighters in this isolated region. One woman, Alicia Dabney, alleged that her supervisor put her in a chokehold and tried to rape her. She also claimed she received sexually explicit voicemails from her supervisor and found flyers calling her a "whore" in the fire station. While an investigation into the flyer incident did not result in any disciplinary action, Ms. Dabney was fired following her complaint. Six other women also claim that they faced retaliation after complaining to the Forest Service about sexual harassment.
"These allegations, if true, suggest female firefighters in this region have had to fight far more than fires in the line of duty," said Rep. Speier. "Sexual harassment and retaliation can create an environment that makes this already dangerous work even more hazardous. The Inspector General must lead an independent investigation to determine the truth. If substantiated, these claims point to a culture that condones sexual harassment and retaliation against those brave enough to come forward."
"Claims of sexual assault, gender discrimination, and whistleblower retaliation in the U.S. Forest Service are deeply troubling and, if true, unacceptable," said Rep. Peter DeFazio. "The Inspector General should immediately open an investigation into these serious allegations. The Forest Service needs to take real action to ensure the women risking their lives on the front lines battling these fires aren't also battling a toxic workplace. I applaud Rep. Speier for leading this letter, and will continue to work with her to force action by the IG."
"The women who have come forward in these allegations have placed their lives on the line for the sake of public safety – the notion that they had to endure sexual harassment in the process is utterly appalling," said Rep. Grijalva. "These claims warrant immediate attention to ensure all firefighters, regardless of gender, feel welcome and appreciated in their heroic line of duty. We need a thorough and independent investigation, and I urge the IG to act as soon as possible."
James Pollack
Press Assistant
Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14)
211 Cannon HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515