A federal investigation found “widespread sexual harassment” at AccuWeather Inc. that allegedly occurred while President Donald Trump’s nominee to become the new head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was the CEO.
The U.S. Labor Department’s findings, which were obtained by The Inquirer and other media outlets, resulted from interviews with "more than two dozen former or current AccuWeather employees,” and included allegations of “unwelcome touching and hugging and kissing females on the mouth.”
“Several senior male managers, including at least one executive, engaged in sexual relationships with subordinate employees," according to the report, dated Jan. 26, 2018. Those women received “job-related perks" that were denied to other women, it said.
The National Weather Services Employees Union, which opposes the nomination of Barry Lee Myers to head NOAA, the National Weather Service’s parent agency, has called for the Labor Department to publicly release the redacted report.
The union holds that not only does Myers, a lawyer, lack the scientific credentials for the NOAA position, his ties to State College, Pa.-based AccuWeather, one of the world’s largest commercial weather companies, represent an inherent conflict.
If appointed, “he would be in a position to fundamentally alter the nature of weather services that NOAA provides the nation to the benefit of his family-owned business,” union counsel Richard J. Hirn wrote to the Senate Commerce Committee in October 2017.
His nomination is pending and the Senate has not scheduled a vote. He was born in Philadelphia and graduated from Central High School.
Myers, 75. the brother of AccuWeather founder Joel N. Myers, “completely divested himself of any ownership of AccuWeather” on Jan. 1, the company said in a statement on Monday. He became CEO in 2007.
The AccuWeather statement said the company had “cooperated fully” with the investigation — which began in September 2016 after an employee complained of a firing “based on sexual orientation" — and had undertaken “major initiatives” including “anti-harassment and diversity and inclusion training.”
The Labor Department became involved because AccuWeather is a federal contractor providing services to several government agencies, including the U.S. Information Agency and the Air Force.
AccuWeather officials had said they were unaware of instances of harassment, according to the report.
But “this sexual harassment was so severe and pervasive that some female employees resigned. Further, our investigation confirmed that AccuWeather was aware of the sexual harassment but took no action to correct the unlawful activity,” the report said.