Racial Harassment Rife in EPA Enforcement Office

Not new-& not just EPA either: government agencies-whether Depts. of Interior,
Agriculture, Commerce…govt.agencies are rife w/ this garbage-especially when
PAC-backed, pro-ordained “decisions” about things (like land-use or energy issues)
are questioned from within by people just doing their jobs.

Todd Wilkinson published a book in 1998 called “SCIENCE UNDER SIEGE: the Politicans
War Against Nature & Truth” (can’t remember publisher). In it he details the experiences of
scientists-often wimmin & POC-who caught alot of abuse for drawing conclusions contrary
to land-use & pollution-regulation decisions pushed by big industries. Beside racial &
sexist/sexual harassment, these people (& their families) were often anonymously
threatened & stalked as well. In my personal conversations with people working
“within” who were (thought to be) queer-homophobic overtones are also very prevalent (i
don’t recall that Wilkinson discussed that facet).

It would be very revealing to trace the history of the climate change issue back to the ’60s &
uncover any such patterns regarding that issue.

ASW

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2008  11:59 AM

CONTACT: Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)
Bill Boteler (202) 265-7337

Racial Harassment Rife in EPA Enforcement Office

‘Management Mafia’ Condones Slurs and Adverse Acts While Resisting Remedies

WASHINGTON – September 15 – In a blistering ruling the U.S. Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission has found that racially “discriminatory and demeaning
comments and adverse treatment” were “severe” and “permeated the workplace” in
an enforcement branch of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Rather than
address complaints by employees the agency circled the wagons around its problem
manager and filed dilatory appeals, according to Public Employees for Environmental
Responsibility (PEER).

The case involves EPA Special Agent George De Los Santos, who is based in the
Criminal Investigations Division office in Dallas. He had complained of a pattern of
discriminatory comments, including –

His supervisor accusing him of stealing license plates and reselling them for profit
in Mexico; Women co-workers were routinely referred to as “pussies”; Native American
co-workers were called names like “Squatting Eagle” and “Two Dogs F__king” while an
African-American colleague was ridiculed as mentally slow. De Los Santos’ supervisor
dismissed this conduct as “just Special Agent grab-assing” and admonished that “you
need to act like a man” and stop complaining. Significantly, the EEO Commission found
that:

“Here, many of the offensive comments…occurred in front of supervisors immediately
after a meeting about EEO issues, demonstrating that agency officials did not take EEO
issues seriously.”

EPA rejected De Los Santos’ complaint, issuing a finding of no discrimination. He appealed
to the EEOC which reversed; finding not only was there a hostile work environment but also a
series of discriminatory actions such as assigning De Los Santos to custodial duties. Rather
than accept the EEOC ruling, EPA filed a request for reconsideration, dragging the matter
out for nearly eight more months. EEOC rejected this appeal on August 4, 2008 and ordered
EPA to post a notice of its ruling in its Dallas Office.

Throughout, EPA has defended the supervisory agent and even gave him a “Manager of the
Year” award. Now, EPA must decide whether to implement the EEOC order or appeal it to
federal court.

“In many federal agencies there is a management mafia that will defend one of their own no
matter how outrageous the conduct,” stated PEER Senior Counsel Paula Dinerstein. “In our
experience, EPA employees who file complaints are subjected to a new ordeal, presided
over by an Office of General Counsel that gives no quarter and is willing to use every tactic to
delay, discourage and demonize.”

In recent years, EPA has been the subject of a number of high profile discrimination
complaints and EPA employees agitated for the enactment of a law called the “No Fear Act”
to make how federal agencies handle discrimination complaints more transparent.

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