Politics and Workplace Sexual Harassment
Nevada – Allegations usually rise after workplace sexual harassment or a problem related to an employment law violation has occurred. A unnamed county employee filed a sexual harassment complaint against Commissioner Vaughn Hartung for allegedly breaching the code of conduct and failing to abide the sexual harassment policy.
After a thorough investigation took place, Commissioner Hartung was found at fault for the allegations regarding the code of conduct and sexual harassment policy. According to the information accumulated by the Reno Gazette Journal, Commissioner Hartung used profanity and inappropriate sexual expressions in reference to the county employee.
An external sexual harassment lawyer examined the sexual harassment complaint alleging that Commissioner Hartung, “engaged in conduct that was inappropriate and/or of a sexual nature toward an employee,” and completed the investigation involving specific questioning to resolve the matter at hand.
Details of public records and a more in depth version of Hartung’s conversations with the county employee have yet to be released. However, resourceful information revealed that Commissioner Hartung expressed unwanted comments such as “naked” and “whore.” As a leader in Washoe County, those word should have never crossed Commissioner Hartung’s mind especially while addressing an employee.
Hartung argues that he does not recall using the term “whore” in reference to the county employee or any other employee.
Commissioner Hartung takes Responsibility for his Actions
Hartung disclosed confirmation to the code of conduct and sexual harassment policy violations through a written statement. He admitted to using profanity towards the county employee. He also owned up to making an additional statement labeled as “in jest,” that he believes the county employee received the wrong way. Hartung said the use of profanity stemmed from an error on the county employee’s part. He said she didn’t inform with an adequate amount of notice of a location change for an important meeting with the CEO of a major employer. Hartung emotional response to the county employee was, “Are you f***ing kidding me?”
In terms of sexual harassment, Hartung made an inappropriate statement when an unidentified individual knocked on the door of a committee room both Hartung and the county employee were in. His response to the knock was “Don’t come in, we’re not dressed.” A negative statement like this could insinuate that there is some ongoing misbehavior in the workplace. It’s unfair to the county employee who had nothing to do with the mental image Commissioner Hatung may have cause the person who knocked to visualize.
Regardless of Commissioner’s intentions for his poor word choice or the reason behind it, he fully accepts responsibility for his actions, and he apologized for both unacceptable remarks.
It is completely natural for a man or woman to say things under stress or out of frustration during his or her personal time. As a human, those are common emotions one may often feel. Hartung said, “I am aware that staff members, like all of us, need to feel appreciated and praised. I wish I had been more thoughtful and had selected a kind way of expressing my feelings.”
In the workplace, it is important to be mindful and respectful of others. Everyone makes mistakes. By taking that simple step, predicaments such as the one Commissioner Hartung is currently in could have been avoided. Due to acknowledging his faults and expressing a great deal of remorse to the county employee, people may not view him as a heartless individual. Apologizing is one of the hardest tasks to complete. No one wants to admit that he or she is wrong. Hartung placed his pride aside, and apologized. This is a great way to repair work relationships after work related issues including sexual harassment, workplace discrimination or retaliation.
Although the workplace misconduct occurred a year ago, it took the county employee awhile to address the issue. Hartung believes if the county employee brought the issue up at the time it happened, it could’ve been handled. He said, “If somebody says something that offends me, I tell them immediately.”
Initially, Hartung offered to fix the workplace issue by mentoring the county employee to become more aware and work diligently to benefit the team. After an interview, Hartung had a change of heart. He stated, “He has no plans to mentor her.”
Commissioners request the View of the Voters
As an elected official, there is very little that the county can do to penalize Hartung for his actions. It is within the county’s power to address the issue with the elected official to attempt to put an end to the problem. Other elected officials are doing everything within their power to protect and guide the victim as the recovery takes place.
The other officials believe the voters should be involved in terms of what happens next with Commissioner Hartung considering they’re responsible for officials entering and leaving office. Hartung is up for a re-election. He believes this complaint and investigation was a political set up. An investigation confirmed there was “no political motivation” behind the county employee’s sexual harassment complaint.
If you are a county employee or an employee in a related field who experienced workplace sexual harassment in New York City, Miami, New Jersey, or Philadelphia, contact our sexual harassment lawyers at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC. Our skilled sexual harassment lawyers are more than qualified to represent your case. For more information on workplace sexual harassment, read our Employment Law Blog.
New York City, New Jersey and Philadelphia Employment Attorneys
If you feel you have been the victim of workplace sexual harassment in New York, New Jersey or Philadelphia or if your employment rights have been violated, then you should immediately contact the NYC, NJ, PA sexual harassment lawyers at the employment law firm of DEREK T. SMITH LAW GROUP, PLLC. No one deserves a hostile work environment.
Call today to schedule a FREE sexual harassment legal advice Consultation in NY, NJ & PA with one of our top rated sexual harassment attorneys here at the Derek Smith Law Group you can reach us online or by calling 877-469-5297. Our NYC employment law attorneys handle a variety of cases involving sexual harassment, racial discrimination, and other employment-related claims. We serve clients throughout New York, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. We also have offices in New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Miami to serve you.
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