Ridout Barron


Harassment concerns in public parks

An American company has taken steps to address widespread harassment in their workplaces. It may come as a surprise to Alberta residents that these workplaces are actually national parks, including such famous locales as Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. Sexual harassment has been rampant in these national parks, and the move by the company to address these issues could set a precedent for Canadian parks as well. 

According to the report, up to ten maintenance workers employed by Yellowstone National Park are slated for disciplinary action after an inquest by park management and the U.S. Interior Department uncovered evidence of sexual harassment of female workers. This is not limited to Yellowstone, however, as incidents of bullying and harassment have been popping up all over American park sites. Even the U.S. Interior Department itself is under review after a former director of law enforcement was accused of inappropriate behavior towards female subordinates. 

Depending on the severity of the infraction, an employee could have action taken against him or her in the form of letters of counseling all the way through reprimands or even loss of employment. There is an appeal process in place, but workers must move quickly to appeal before decisions are made final. The intent, according to spokespeople for Yellowstone, is to combat an engrained culture of misogyny and harassment that has been allowed to proliferate itself for far too long. 

While the report pertains specifically to American businesses, similar measures are being adopted here in Alberta and in workplaces across Canada. Sexual harassment and other misconduct is inappropriate in any workplace, and steps are being taken to fight the mistreatment of employees wherever it manifests. However, in some cases, it is not enough to appeal to internal management for a solution. In those cases, Alberta residents facing harassment have a variety of legal options available to them, which can be accessed and utilized through the services of dedicated employment attorneys. 

Source: cos-mag.com, "Yellowstone cracks down on sexual harassment", Matthew Brown, July 31, 2017

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