Des Moines, IA- The only home in Iowa to service veterans is under fire after it was revealed that 13 employees were disciplined and five were fired following a sexual harassment investigation earlier this year, making it yet another scandal to trouble the facility over the past few years.
Revelations of a sexual harassment investigation, which included statements from 100 employees and resulted in five firings and disciplinary action against 13 employees came to light in a hearing over unemployment benefits, the Cedar Rapids Gazette reported.
Details of the harassment are scant, but the Gazette reported that it involved a male worker who was accused of showing a female worker pornographic images which included nude photos of porn stars and images of adults engaged in sexual act. The woman asked the man to stop showing the pictures but he didn’t so she filed a formal complaint.
That complaint, the Gazette said, resulted in an expanded investigation, including interviews with a hundred employees and resulted in wide other firings. One man was fired for mocking a deaf and gay man who worked at the home, and another person was fired for calling a coworker bipolar and getting into a shouting match with the employee.
The Iowa Veterans Home, which is located in Marshallton, has not released a statement regarding the investigation and have ignored the media’s demands for more information.
One lawmaker, State Sen. Steve Sodders, (D-State Center) told the Gazette, “It’s always concerning if there is this large investigation and nobody knows about it.”
While news of the probe was surprising to lawmakers, many of whom had not heard of the investigation, some have said the home acted appropriately by conducting the investigation and disciplining employees guilty of misconduct.
However, there are concerns that management problems at the home are still present and the current administration is not doing enough to protect their employees from a hostile work environment. Not addressing sexual harassment immediately or taking steps to prevent it leaves an employer vulnerable to civil action. With a sexual harassment attorney on their side, a harassment victim can recover high dollar settlements for enduring such behavior.
Employers can take steps to prevent sexual harassment through effective training, but this won’t prevent all incidents. When allegations arise, an employer should take action immediately by launching and investigation and disciplining the harasser. Doing so will send a clear signal to employees that sexual harassment will not be tolerated. On the other hand, not taking action can give employees the impression that sexual harassment is no big deal and fostering an environment where harassment is allowed to persist.
When a person is dealing with a hostile work environment and those in the position to stop it do nothing, the victim or victims should speak with a sexual harassment attorney. Using their experience and knowledge, the victim’s attorney will build a strong case that will enable the victims to recover damages for their emotional distress and lost wages.