The Labor Department has been silent on sexual harassment

Almost every day we see a new headline about some boldface name in business or politics being charged with sexual harassment, assault or both.

The accuser says the man was using his position of power — typically the economic variety — to get his jollies, and worse, to violate women who work for or with him.

The pervert’s position is based on the twisted logic that if you don’t comply, you lose your job or get passed over for meritorious promotions. Or if you say something or file a complaint, you’ll be risking your job and career and that no one will ever want to hire you again.

So here’s the million-dollar question: Where is the Labor Department on all this?

The Labor Department’s very mission statement is: To foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

It even has a Women’s Bureau, which was formed in 1920, yet there’s not one word on its Web site regarding sexual harassment.

The Department of Labor has an obligation — above all else — to make sure that all people are able to go to work in physically safe and nonpredatory environments.

I spent an evening reading all 71 pages of the Labor Department’s 2017 “Budget in Brief.” It allocates money to things like Workforce Data Quality Initiatives ($40 million) and Reemployment Services ($186 million).

And there’s the Reintegration of Ex-Offenders (RExO) program, which promotes and protects opportunity by preparing ex-offenders for the job market ($95 million).

I did not find a single buck for combating sexual misconduct in the workplace.

Retraining ex-cons costs $95 million; preventing them, $0.

It’s time to reallocate some of these wasted funds and create a new one.

Call it the “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” program, and go after the people and the companies that abuse or permit the abuse of employees and co-workers.


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