USFS responds to charges
The recent article on a pending litigation case of workplace harassment within the Forest Service by the Porterville Recorder failed to accurately depict the agency’s position on the issue. Although I cannot comment on specifics of the referenced personnel case which is in litigation, I can emphatically state that harassment and discrimination in any form are not tolerated by our agency.
The Forest Service is strongly committed to providing a workplace where all employees are valued, safe, and respected. In fact, we have established methods to ensure that this takes place and employees can strive to reach their fullest potential.
We investigate all allegations of misconduct in a formal process that protects victims and affords the due process the law requires for the accused, including those mentioned in your article. For example, in recent years the agency took action to propose the removal of individuals in several incidents. While there have been no findings of employee discrimination against the Forest Service for this past year, we remain vigilant on a zero-tolerance policy for such behavior.
The agency has an aggressive training regimen focused on equal opportunity issues. In California, we provide mandatory training classes for all supervisors regarding employee conflict resolution, managing performance and overall employee relations. Nearly 1,000 managers will participate in these sessions. In addition, every employee is provided training on the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace.
I can assure you that the safety and well-being of all Forest Service employees is a fundamental concern. I am strongly committed to maintaining a harassment-free and respectful workplace.
Regional Forester, Pacific Southwest Region, U.S. Forest Service