Does The National Park Service Have Issues With Sexual Harassment?

According to several recent articles, the National Park Service is alleged to have systemic organizational issues demonstrating misuse of power by leadership within the organization.

A growing number of employees have come forward – including in high-profile parks like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Yellowstone – to talk about a workplace culture where they say bullying is rampant, sexual harassment goes unaddressed, complaints can lead to retribution, and top employees face no accountability.

That culture, in which employees tend to rise through the ranks over many years, gaining a sort of invulnerability as they do so, is just one of the aspects that leads to abuse, she says. “The higher up you are, the less accountable you are, and the more protected you are by Park Service royalty.”

National Park Service wrestles with harassment, low morale – CSMonitor.comNational Park Service wrestles with harassment, low morale –

Employees at several different locations throughout the country told similar stories from crude remarks all the way to quid pro quo harassment and even misuse of public funds in one instance.

Most of the harassment seems to stem from the decentralized nature of the agency. As a result, leaders at the top of each location set-up what some called fiefdoms.

Creating even more of a problem is the fact that The Park Service relies upon seasonal employees. These types of jobs  offer relatively good pay in areas where unemployment can be very high.

This low supply but strong demand causes even more of a power shift to the leader within each location.

This probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise to those with experience in dealing with sexual harassment complaints. Jobs that involve working in remote areas allow a predator the perfect opportunity to get away with it. After all, if there aren’t any witnesses to the harassment, who will believe the victim?

It helps of course to have underlings on board to retaliate against such an employee.

Hopefully, the Park Service can fix its problems but organizational change is difficult and takes a lot of time.