Federal report finds ‘pervasive’ harassment at AccuWeather
WASHINGTON – A federal investigation into a company run by one of President Donald Trump’s nominees to head a prominent federal agency found a “severe and pervasive” culture of sexual harassment.
The Labor Department report from January 2018 made a harsh assessment of the internal culture at AccuWeather, concluding that multiple sexual harassment claims were ignored by executives and that women who complained feared retaliation. AccuWeather’s chief executive at the time, Barry Myers, has been nominated by Trump to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
A redacted copy of that report from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has now been obtained by The Associated Press, providing previously unreported details on the extent of the company’s problems.
The investigation claims that multiple sexual harassment claims – including several against a specific “high-profile male employee”– were ignored and that the company “was aware of the sexual harassment but took no action.”
It also concludes that claims from the company’s human resources director that they had no knowledge of the accusations are “not credible” and that several female employees say they were driven to resign.
Myers served as AccuWeather’s chief executive from 2007 to January 2019. His brother Joel Myers is the company’s founder and president.
His nomination to head NOAA – which oversees the National Weather Service – has advanced out of committee but has not been scheduled for a full Senate vote.
AccuWeather had already agreed last year to pay $290,000 as part of a settlement of the findings. The company, based in State College, Pennsylvania, provides commercial weather forecasting services and is a federal contractor.
A statement from the company says it continues “to deny the allegations and claims.” But it says the company agreed to pay the fine not as an admission of guilt but to avoid wasting “time and money needlessly on protracted legal negotiations.”
The AccuWeather statement said the company “continues to improve as an inclusive, empowering and respectful workplace.”