The Justice Department Is Revisiting Its Sexual Harassment Policies

According to BuzzFeed News, Monaco asked a steering group to conduct a thorough review of her situation and make recommendations within 180 days.Monaco's memo does not specify which policies will be modified or why. However, the DOJ inspector generals has for many years investigated and confirmed allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct within the department. Recent news reports have confirmed and detailed these claims. BuzzFeed News previously reported on a number of sexual harassment complaints and misconduct that were investigated by the inspector generals. These included a former federal prosecutor accused of harassing multiple women across different agencies; a former senior officer accused of sexually assaulting another woman and harassing others; as well as a former US attorney (whose identity BuzzFeed News sued unsuccessfully) who was accused of violating DOJ policies through a relationship with a subordinate.WASHINGTON According to Friday's memo from Lisa Monaco, Deputy Attorney General, the Justice Department will launch a new effort in order to revise and possibly amend its policies on sexual harassment.Monaco stated that the Department of Justice is committed in providing a safe workplace for sexual harassment and other misconduct. Monaco cited an executive order signed by President Joe Biden in March, which highlighted the need for gender equality and equality throughout the federal government. Monaco wrote: It is therefore crucial to our duty to fight sexual harassment and misconduct at work and hold those responsible accountable.Since its inception, the DOJ GEN Gender Equality Network has been pushing the department to improve its policies regarding sexual harassment prevention, tracking, and responding to complaints. In February, the group wrote Monaco following publication by the San Francisco Chronicle of an investigation into sexual harassment in the immigration court system. The Chronicle first reported Monaco's memo.BuzzFeed News obtained an email from Stacey Young, the president of the group, stating that she would be joining the new steering committee. She was delighted that everyone now understands that the Justice Department is finally addressing its systemic sexual harassment problem.The 2017 report by the DOJ inspector generals was published by the DOJ inspector-generals office. It identified significant flaws in how officials responded to allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct within the Civil Division. According to the report, male employees accused of harassing or stalking women at work received very little punishment.The 2017 report was reviewed by Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general. He established a working committee to examine the department's sexual harassment policies. In 2018, he issued new guidance. The New York Times reported that the directives left much to individual departments within the department to decide how they would carry out antisexual harassment efforts. Critics worried that this would lead to inequitable enforcement.