NOAA Nominee Settles Federal Oversight Harassment Suit for $290,000

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“According to a Washington Post report, “AccuWeather, a private weather company whose former chief executive is President Trump’s nominee to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, agreed to pay $290,000 as part of a settlement after a federal oversight agency found the company subjected female employees to sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.”

The agreement, a conciliation agreement between the US Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and ACCUWEATHER, INC., alleges that AccuWeather “did “not exercise reasonable care to prevent and correct” the improper treatment and harassment against women there.”

The conciliation agreement was published in June after an investigation by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. The agreement was first reported Monday by the Centre Daily Times. The agreement states AccuWeather subjected women to “sexual harassment and a hostile work environment” and would pay out thousands to dozens of women as part of a settlement.

Barry Myers, tapped by Trump in 2017 to lead NOAA, became Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather’s chief executive in 2007 and stepped down Jan. 1, agreeing to divest himself of any company ownership in accordance with an ethics pledge to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, according to the company. His brother, Joel Myers, is founder and president of AccuWeather.

Washington Post

AccuWeather denied the allegations, but agreed as part of the settlement to include “mandatory in-person training for managers in how to identify and prevent unlawful harassment” and to “hire a third party to “receive and investigate complaints of harassment, intimidation, threats, retaliation and coercion against employees throughout 2018.”

The Post reported in 2017 that Myer’s nomination was meet with controversy and that according to two former NOAA administrators “expressed concerns” that Myers “had conflicts of interests that should disqualify him.”

““Barry Myers defines ‘conflict of interest,’ ”Ciaran Clayton, communications director at NOAA in the Obama administration, told The Post in 2017. “He actively lobbied to privatize the National Weather Service, which works day in and day out to protect the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans, to benefit his own company’s bottom line.””

NOAA oversees the National Weather Service, which compiles data used by AccuWeather. Samenow reported that AccuWeather has previously supported measures to limit what the Weather Service can make public, granting private companies a chance to create their own value-added products using the same information.

Myers and his brother Joel gave money to then-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) in 2005, for example, who introduced legislation aimed at curtailing government competition with private weather services. Myers and his brothers also pressed the government on weather-related programs that could affect AccuWeather’s finances, according to interviews and documents reviewed by The Post.

Washington Post

According to a SpaceNews January 3rd report, “in the final hours of the 115th Congress, the Senate confirmed a new director for the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) but failed to act on a nominee for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.”

Timothy Gallaudet, who is currently the “Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere” has been serving as acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere at the US Department of Commerce and NOAA‘s interim administrator.”

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