Federal investigation finds rampant sexual harassment at company led by Trump nominee: report

A federal investigation into AccuWeather reportedly found that the company had a culture of “rampant sexual harassment and retaliation” while run by one of President TrumpDonald John TrumpConway defends herself against Hatch Act allegations amid threat of subpoena How to defuse Gulf tensions and avoid war with Iran Trump says 'stubborn child' Fed 'blew it' by not cutting rates MORE’s nominees.

The Washington Post reported Friday that at the time of the incidents detailed in the report, the federal contractor was run by Barry Myers, who Trump has since nominated to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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The Post obtained a copy of the 2017 report, compiled by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which details dozens of witness accounts about nonconsensual touching, kissing and groping, as well as retaliation for complaints at AccuWeather.

“Over two dozen witnesses spanning many different departments and in positions ranging from administrative support to senior management described unlawful sexual harassment that occurred at the company,” the report said, according to the Post.

The report also says that some female employees left AccuWeather due to the “severe and pervasive” nature of the harassment.

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.

Rhonda Seaton, AccuWeather’s director of marketing communications, told the Post that the company “continues to deny the allegations and claims” in the report.

According to the report, numerous female employees said they were physically assaulted by a “high-profile male employee” in the company. The report also found that human resources officials repeatedly declined to investigate or took no action on complaints about the behavior. 

The vice president of human resources at AccuWeather told investigators that they had “no knowledge” of the allegations, which the report determined was not credible. 

Investigators found that some employees “were subjected to retaliation based on their complaints,” including at least one woman who was fired days after the human resources official overheard her complaints alleging improper relationships between senior-level men and subordinate women in the company.

“Multiple witnesses described being fearful that they would be terminated and blacklisted if they complained about sexual harassment,” the report said, according to the Post.

Myers, who became chief executive of AccuWeather in 2007, has not yet been approved by a Senate vote. His nomination was stalled in the Senate last year, though Republicans have moved to fast-track his nomination out of committee. 

Myers left AccuWeather in January. Trump nominated him to lead NOAA in October 2017, seven months after the sexual harassment investigation began. It was prompted by an employee complaint claiming AccuWeather fostered a “hostile work environment and termination based on sexual orientation and sex.”

Critics of Trump’s decision to nominate Myers have said he has conflicts of interest due to lobbying on behalf of AccuWeather, and have zeroed in on his lack of a scientific background.