National Archives Does Not Tolerate Harassment

An article recently appeared in the media about allegations of serious sexual harassment by former Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein. Weinstein served as the 9th Archivist of the United States from 2005 to 2008.

Shortly after becoming the 10th Archivist of the United States in 2009, I learned of the allegations against Weinstein, and I was deeply disturbed by them. Everyone deserves to work in an environment that is courteous, respectful, and free from harassing behaviors. That my predecessor could have used this office to mistreat members of the National Archives family leaves me angry, and shaped much of the agency’s ensuing approach to harassment.

Here is a short summary of what happened: In January 2008, National Archives officials received a complaint of misconduct against Weinstein from an employee and promptly reported the allegation to the White House Office of Presidential Personnel (because Weinstein was a presidential appointee), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Office of Government Ethics, the Department of Justice, and our Office of Inspector General. The OIG and the FBI then conducted an investigation. Weinstein resigned in December 2008, citing health concerns. He passed away in 2015.

National Archives officials first received access to many of the investigative files last summer, when they were released by the National Archives OIG and the Department of Justice in response to a first-person Privacy Act/Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. These files indicate that Weinstein harassed several other women in addition to the employee who made the complaint. The matter ended with Weinstein’s resignation, and no criminal charges were filed. At the time, this issue was considered a sensitive law enforcement matter, and very few National Archives officials were informed of the investigation or its findings.

I have asked the OIG and the FBI to issue a public version of their reports, so the information can be available to everyone.

In 2010, I issued the National Archives’ first anti-harassment policy. In 2013, with the guidance of the agency’s Equal Employment Opportunity Director we updated and strengthened it – see NARA 396, Anti-Harassment Policy. That year we made annual anti-harassment training mandatory for all managers and supervisors. We made training available for all employees in 2014, and we recently made that training mandatory for all employees, contractors, and volunteers. We also created an Ad-Hoc Committee on Harassment to address allegations of harassment, sexual or otherwise. Since its inception in August 2013, all cases of alleged harassment have been brought before the Committee and addressed.

Freedom from harassment is an essential component of creating and sustaining an inclusive, empowering workplace culture that lets all employees contribute to the agency’s mission. We will not tolerate harassment of any kind.

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3 Responses to National Archives Does Not Tolerate Harassment

  1. Pingback: News Roundup | LJ infoDOCKET

  2. Thank you for shining a light on this! I am always proud to be an archivist and proud that you have progressively addressed this issue.

  3. Dennis Meissner says:

    Thank you, David and NARA ledership, for dealing forthrightly with past instances of abuse and harassment and for creating strong policies and procedures to build a good culture at NARA.

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