Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, said on Thursday that he has fired four senior management leaders at his agency and pledges to continue to weed out anyone else guilty of inappropriate behavior, reports The Washington Times.
“’I’ve already removed four senior leaders that were guilty of inappropriate behavior, and I will remove 400 more if necessary. Intimidation, harassment and discrimination is a cancer to any organization. However deep it goes, we will remove it from Interior,’ Mr. Zinke said in a video posted on the agency’s website.”
A spokeswoman told ABC News that the agency could not provide any more details on what caused these four employees to be terminated but said they “abused their authority to intimidate or harass fellow employees,” including sexual harassment.
The spokeswoman, Heather Swift, said the park superintendent at Yellowstone National Park has taken disciplinary action against a number of employees for instances of harassment.
A report from the inspector general published in March found a negative work environment for women in the park that included inappropriate comments and actions toward women employees.
“‘The department released the results of a workplace survey Thursday where 35 percent of employees said they were harassed in the last year, with 8 percent saying they were sexually harassed. More than 200 employees who responded to that survey also reported experiencing sexual assault. About 28,300 employees responded to the survey which is 44 percent of the agency’s workforce, according to the release,’ reported ABC.”
The inspector general’s office said they cannot comment on whether there are any active investigations into sexual harassment or assault.
Tim Lynn who was the director of the agency’s law enforcement office and was investigated for his behavior after an employee who worked for him said he was “touchy-feely” and would sometimes touch her arms or hair and at least once talked about watching porn in his office when he was alone.
“Lynn denied the allegations but the IG’s office found five other women who said he had acted unprofessionally toward them, including touching, hugging, personal text messages and flirtatious comments,” reported ABC. “The Washington Post reported that Lynn retired in May.”
Interior Deputy Sec. David Bernhardt has ordered office heads to submit an action plan within the next 45 days with specific plans to address the results.