Bosses and employes who sexually harass people who work for them, or with them could land in trouble, or out of work, at the General Services Administration.
GSA, now under new management, is the government's houskeeping agency and purchasing agent. In recent months it has been hit with allegations and indictments stemming from cases of bribery, incompetence and contracts-for-sex.
Gorden Freeman, the retired admiral who now heads GSA, says he is concerned about news stories alleging widespread sexual harassment in federal offices, including his own independent agency.
In a memo to GSA employes, Freeman said:
"...I want to make clear to all managers, supervisors and employes my position: this agency will not tolerate sexual harassment of its employes. This kind of behavior is an abuse of power and authority; it will be viewed as a serious violation of the standards of conduct that we expect and demand from all employes."
To make sure that office Romeos -- not always the best judges of their personal charms or of the definition of harassment -- know what is happening, GSA will hold a series of workshops here defining sexual harassment. Officials and employes who think a "harmless" pat in the elevator or off-color remark is cute will learn that some people don't appreciate same -- and that they may be opening themselves up to charges of sexual harassment.
Freeman says workers who want to report incidents of sexual harassment can call a confidential GSA number, 424-5210.
Meantime, the investigations subcommittee of Rep. James Hanley's (D-N.Y.) House Post Office-Civil Service Committee will begin hearings later this month on the subject of sexual harassment. A number of officials -- high and low -- at GSA, Labor, HUD, the Pentagon, Treasury, and Commerce, just to mention a few, are already sweating the results. Maybe for good reason.