Interior Department Fires Top Staffers After Thousands of Employees Report Workplace Harassment

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After more than one-third of nearly 30,000 Interior Department employees reported being the victims of harassment or intimidation at work, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced he had fired four senior officials for inappropriate conduct.

The shakeup comes after 35% of the roughly 28,000 staffers who responded to an anonymous department survey reported being harassed or discriminated against in the previous year. More than 85% of those said they had to continue to interact with the person who mistreated them.

Zinke made the announcement in a video released Thursday night, saying, “It’s time to acknowledge that we have a problem.” He added, “I’ve already removed four senior leaders that were guilty of inappropriate behavior and I will remove 400 more if necessary.”

Heather Swift, an Interior spokeswoman, told ABC News that the fired staffers “abused their authority to intimidate or harass fellow employees. This includes but is not limited to sexual harassment.”


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