Yellowstone National Park will begin taking actions against employees accused of sexual harassment in the park’s maintenance division in the coming week.
A report released four months ago by the Inspector General’s Office described a “men’s club culture” in which female employees in that division were verbally harassed. A survey conducted afterward showed that employees also felt uncomfortable reporting such behavior.
Yellowstone Park Superintendent Dan Wenk said the park is currently deciding what actions to take for 12 employees involved in these kind of incidents.
“The full range of actions that can be taken are everything from letters of counseling through termination. And so we’re in the process of determining those actions now,” Wenk said. “We had a target date to have completed those [by] August 1. If we’re not done by August 1, we’ll be done shortly thereafter in terms of proposing those actions.”
Wenk said the park is also more carefully targeting its trainings on sexual harassment and how to report it. And the park will gather help from outside the agency as well.
“Starting next week we’re bringing in an outside consultant who is going to conduct focus groups throughout the park that’s going to rely on, not just the maintenance division, but look at all locations to see, to try to get some baseline information about the culture that exists across Yellowstone National Park.”
Several national parks around the country are facing similar allegations of derogatory treatment of female employees. Wenk said that has to do with the fact that unlike other businesses, employees often live and work in close proximity and without much supervision.