Gendered Harassment in the U.S. Forest Service


  • Emma Weisner Tulane University


This case study examines the history and current state of gendered harassment in the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). Starting with the Bernardi Consent Decree in 1979 and the Donnelly Consent Decree two decades later, the USFS aimed to make its work environment more hospitable to women and other minority employee groups. However, the service has largely failed at this aim, and female employees are routinely harassed and abused, often staying silent for fear of retaliation from male coworkers or supervisors. After exploring the history of these attacks and the present working conditions for minority employees of the USFS, this case examines possible solutions, including legal intervention and cultural shifts. The problems faced by the USFS are not unique to the forestry industry. As sexual assault and harassment gain more media prominence and allegations lead to huge public relations issues for industries across the board, these issues are on the forefront of cultural dialogue. By examining varied cases of gendered discrimination, conclusions can be drawn about what does and doesn’t work in the fight against sexual misconduct. 



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