Dem lawmaker asks Trump to dump NOAA nominee amid sexual harassment settlement news
A top democratic House lawmaker is calling on a Trump nominee to be removed from consideration after reports that he was involved in a discrimination and sexual harassment settlement at his former company.
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), chairman of the House Natural Resources committee, sent a letter to President Trump Wednesday asking him to withdraw the nomination of Barry Myers to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Myers is the former chief executive of weather forecasting company AccuWeather, which in June agreed to pay a reported $290,000 settlement to women at the company as part of a deal that said they were subjected to “sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.”
Myers formally parted ways with AccuWeather and sold all assets linked to it January 1.
“Federal employees have been subjected to the president’s unpopular ideas about sexual harassment and women in the workplace for the past two years. Trump’s nomination of Mr. Myers sends the wrong message about his care for the agencies and people he oversees. He has a chance to do much better, and he should take it,” Grijalva said in a statement Thursday.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs found that AccuWeather, based in Pennsylvania, did not exercise reasonable care to stop or fix harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
The story was first reported by the Centre Daily Times.
In June, Myers himself signed the agreement, which at the time paid four women. At least 35 others also opted in to the settlement, according to the agreement.
NOAA and other Interior bureaus have in the past struggled with harassment claims. The Interior Department in 2017 released a survey that found 35 percent of employees said they had experienced harassment in the past year.
Trump last month re-nominated Myers for the third time to head NOAA. Myers is already a controversial pick for the post. First nominated by Trump in 2017, Myers has been criticized for lobbying to privatize the very information NOAA is responsible for publicly disseminating.
AccuWeather derives its core weather data from the National Weather Service.