Coast Guard Academy Retaliated Against Black Female Officer Who Complained About Harassment, IG Finds
The Coast Guard Academy said Wednesday that it was reviewing a report that found it had retaliated against a black, female officer after she made discrimination and harassment complaints against her superiors, including the head of her department.
The report from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General released Tuesday found that “a preponderance of the evidence” established that the complaints made by the female officer, a lieutenant commander stationed at the academy, were “a contributing factor” in negative marks she received on an annual evaluation.
The “totality of the evidence demonstrated that complainant would have received higher marks absent her complaints,” the report says. It recommends that the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, which the Coast Guard falls under, order her evaluation to be corrected.
“Discrimination, bullying and harassment are contrary to our core values and will not be tolerated in the Coast Guard,” academy spokesman David Santos said in an emailed statement Wednesday afternoon. “The Coast Guard and the Coast Guard Academy are reviewing the inspector general’s report and will work closely with DHS in developing a plan to implement its recommendations.”
The report redacts the names of the female officer and other Coast Guard officials, citing privacy laws.
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The investigation also revealed potential disparities in how the Coast Guard responded to the female officer’s complaint compared to a harassment and bullying complaint made by a different member of the academy against the same department head in January 2018. The academy removed the department head on April 24, 2018, “due to a loss of confidence relating to the substantiated bullying allegation,” the report says. It redacts the name of the department in question.
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