Employment disputes can happen in any industry, even the most prestigious. Indiana employees experiencing unwelcome sexual advances or a hostile work environment due to their gender might be interested to learn alarming details regarding the U.S. government’s most secretive agency. Sources say that there is a current initiative to crack down on sexual harassment.

According to sources, the Director of Central Intelligence Agency recently implemented a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment, and is spreading the news. The decision to institute the policy on sexual harassment and step up efforts to enforce agency policy stems from a series of sexual harassment complaints coming from female agents. Agents, especially those in war zones, have long alleged sexual harassment from supervisors and co-workers abroad.

Agency insiders say that the problem is nothing new. One former official said that the conduct has been tolerated or simply overlooked for years. Not for much longer.

A survey indicates that a vast majority of the harassment experienced by female agents consists of inappropriate remarks and sexual jokes. The survey also suggested, however, that physical sexual harassment occurs, as well.

The agency has been accused of gender discrimination in the past. In 2007, the EEOC received a complaint from a group of female CIA employees, and in 1995, the agency settled a class action suit involving hundreds of employees for nearly $1 million.

No one should have to be sexually harassed in the workplace. If someone experiences unwanted sexual advancement, it is important to report the conduct to a supervisor. Employers have a responsibility to protect employees. If they do not, they may face serious consequences.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “CIA cracks down on sexual harassment in its ranks,” Ken Dilanian, July 4, 2012