Congress pushes Park Service harder on the agency’s legacy of harassment

Using documents obtained by High Country News, representatives look into discrimination investigation from 2000.

 

In the wake of a series of complaints from current and former federal employees, the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is investigating the extensive history of gender discrimination and sexual harassment in the National Park Service.

According to a letter to NPS Director Jon Jarvis on July 28, the committee is requesting several documents that High Country News coverage has referred to in recent months: the Women in Law Enforcement Task Force Report from 2000; a January 2000 questionnaire on sexual harassment and discrimination and responses from the female law enforcement officers who took it; and the Equal Employment Opportunity settlement agreements from a gender discrimination lawsuit in 1999 between three Grand Canyon employees and the Park Service.

“These are not new problems,” reads the letter. “A recent media report stated that NPS leadership became aware of ‘a problem with sexual harassment and discrimination against women’ more than sixteen years ago.” It is signed by Reps. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyoming, and Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich. The deadline for Jarvis’ answer is August 11. 

If you are a federal public land employee and would like to report your own experience with sexual harassment, please fill out our confidential tip form.