Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sexual Harassment and the CIA

The CIA is apparently dealing with some problematic issues involving sexual harassment, and a few of the details are leaking out of the Agency.

With respect to sexual harassment cases, at least, the Agency is probably no different from any other long hour, high stress organization. Romantic liaisons between bosses, subordinates and coworkers are also common in places like hospitals, law firms, and financial investment companies. Moreover, paramilitary organizations are usually highly male-dominated, so it's not surprising at all that the women working there might be exposed to the occasional dirty joke, explicit remark or come on. Although the article doesn't mention it, managing these cases is a real challenge in this environment because of the security clearances of the people involved and the nature of their work. In addition, internal CIA personnel matters are typically classified, meaning that much of the investigation of a complaint has to take place behind closed doors.

And whatever stresses there are at the headquarters, the situation is only exacerbated once the agents are placed into the field.

Which raises the issue of whether typical Title VII jurisprudence should even apply to this kind of employment situation.

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