AFGE national president on leave while sexual harassment allegations are investigated
Wednesday, October 30, 2019

AFGE national president on leave while sexual harassment allegations are investigated

By Pamela Wolf, J.D.

After the allegations were detailed in a news article, the union authorized an independent third-party investigation.

In the aftermath of a Bloomberg News article detailing what 10 men and women have described as either witnessing or experiencing inappropriate sexual conduct by American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) National President, J. David Cox, Sr., the union announced that it is launching an investigation from which the accused official has recused himself. "These allegations, if true, are abhorrent to all of us and contrary to AFGE’s mission and values," the union said.

The Bloomberg article detailed accounts in which current and former employees allege that "Cox made inappropriate comments about subordinates’ bodies, invited a secretary to shower with him, and suggested he was aroused around colleagues." Cox’s misconduct was purportedly well known by union staff.

Independent investigation. Reacting to the allegations laid out in the article, the AFGE referred the matter to the Legal Rights Committee of its National Executive Council. The Committee authorized the hiring of an independent outside investigator, to ensure both that the investigation into the allegations would move forward quickly, and that the integrity and transparency of the investigation would be maintained. The union said that it also wanted to ensure that the investigation would be fair, impartial, and free of bias.

Leave of absence. On the same day that Bloomberg published the allegations, Cox informed AFGE’s National Executive Council that he would be taking a leave of absence. National Secretary-Treasurer Everett Kelley will be performing the duties of National President during Cox’s absence. The AFGE said that this action, taken pursuant to the union’s constitution, will reinforce the integrity of the investigatory process and ensure that the matter does not distract the union’s focus from the important challenges facing its members.

Anti-harassment/discrimination policy reiterated. The AFGE also said that it has communicated its anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policy to all of its employees, as it has in the past—a move designed to make sure that each employee understands the policy and the avenues available to address such behavior, especially in light of the Bloomberg article.

"We are wholly committed to a thorough, fair, and expeditious investigation that will move forward in a way that’s consistent with AFGE’s values and ensures a safe, open working environment for all of our employees," the union said.

News: LaborNews UnionsMembers Discrimination SexDiscrimination SexualHarassment

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