Sleeping with the boss is an important (but unwritten) requirement for some women who want promotions and higher pay, according to an unofficial survey made at a major federal department here.
The report was complied by IMPACT, a gadfly newsletter published for workers at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. All Louise Ripskis, a mid-level HUD official, is the editior of the newsletter. It specializes in poking management for alleged gaffes in policy making and in handling personnel.
During May and June, IMPACT published articles about alleged sexual harassment at HUD, and asked employes to fill in questionnaires or call in their experiences with bosses demanding sexual favors.
Ripskis said he got back 63 questionnaire answers plus 103 telephone calls from women who said they had been pressured by bosses to have intercourse -- or else. HUD had 4,000 employes here, 43 percent of them women.
Some items from the newsletter survey:
Greatest pressure for "sexual submission" is placed on women who have clerical or sub-professional jobs in the $11,000 to $15,000 range.
All of those responding said they had been subjected to pressure from male supervisors, or higher-up bosses. The demands ranged from subtle hints and pressure to outright demands to submit or suffer reprisals in form of withheld promotions, bad assignments, denial of within grade pay raises or threats of firing.
Three of 10 responding say they went along with the bosses' demands. According to the survery "80 percent say that making love with the boss paid off."
Only 15 percent of the women responding to the survey said they took the step of reporting sexual harrasment to higher management. Most said they were too ashamed, or felt the would not be believed or their complaints would be ignored.
More than 90 percent of the respondents told IMPACT that they had been frozen in grade and/or given bad "performance ratings" after turning the boss down.
More than 35 percent said the coercion was of a continuous nature.
Nearly 11 percent of the solicitations made to women came from other women.
No men responded to the survey.
The IMPACT survey said women responding range from Grade 3 clerks to Grade 14 managers and supervisors.
Thirty-six percent told IMPACT that they thought "being 'sexy' pays off in the sense of helping you gain career advancement." Nearly half those responding said they did not think it helped one way or the other.
Virginia Armstrong, HUD's personnel director, said the department "will not tolerate sexual harassment" and is prepared to investigate "any reported case, and take appropriate action." She said employes with complaints will be assured anonymity, and protected from reprisals.
HUD has a telephole hotline number (472-4200) into its Inspector General's office. It handles complaints of employe misconduct of all kinds. As of last Friday, Armstrong said, nobody had called it alleging sexual harassment.
HUD brass say that all local personnel offices are being checked to see if they have reports of sexual blackmail. Meantime, women also may call any of HUD's Federal Women's Program Coordinators here, or in the field, to make complaints. Officials will follow up on them, and have promised protection to callers.