Washington Public Lands Commissioner Addresses Sexual Harassment Allegations
Washington’s public lands commissioner, Doug Sutherland, is in political hot water after documents recently surfaced showing that he inappropriately touched a new female employee in his own department. Public records show that in January 2005, Sutherland touched the young woman’s back and made comments that she and at least one other individual overheard and found to be inappropriate. An internal investigation occurred as a result of the incident, which resulted in Sutherland meeting with the young woman, apologizing to her, and agreeing that he had violated departmental policy on appropriate behavior although he claims to have not initially thought his behavior was improper. The incident illustrates that harassing behavior can result in not only legal problems, but also in various other problems with business, employee morale or, in Sutherland’s case, possibly his prospects for reelection. A link to an article on the topic can be found here.