BREAKING: Following Pressure from Chairman Bost, VA Takes Action Against Sexual Harassers
Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mike Bost (R-Ill.), released the following statement after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that Assistant Secretary for Human Resources (HR) and the Office of Security Preparedness, Gina Grosso, is planning to resign from the Department. The Department further announced investigations of all VA’s Office of Resolution Management, Diversity & Inclusion (ORMDI) leaders, who fall under Ms. Grosso’s leadership and were referenced in Chairman Bost’s recent letter to VA Secretary Denis McDonough in regard to whistleblowers allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct within ORMDI. ORMDI is the office charged with preventing harassment and promoting diversity and inclusion within VA.
In September, a VA ORMDI whistleblower used the Committee’s whistleblower portal to submit disturbing allegations of ORMDI senior leadership committing sexual harassment and misconduct. Further, a second VA ORMDI whistleblower informed the Committee they received numerous unwarranted sexually suggestive and aggressive messages from their senior manager over the course of a year. During this time, the second whistleblower also alleged the senior manager gave the whistleblower unequal access to communications with senior leaders and promised he would approve trips at government expense. When the whistleblower did not agree to consensually engage with the senior manager, the senior manager’s attitude towards the whistleblower allegedly changed and the senior manager began bad mouthing the whistleblower to ORMDI leadership. As such, Chairman Bost launched a public investigation into the VA ORMDI office and after seven weeks of no action, just one day later, the Department took action against the alleged individuals.
“After 47 days of silence from the Biden administration, I am glad to see that because of the Committee’s work, action is finally being taken against the individuals in question following allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct within VA’s ORMDI office. This is without question the right decision,” said Chairman Bost. “However, what’s even more troubling to me is that these brave women – victims of alleged harassment – felt that they had to come to Congress in order for action to be taken. This reaffirms to me that VA’s system of accountability is broken, and we need my Restore VA Accountability Act now more than ever. Whether it’s sexual harassment, whistleblower retaliation, or opioid stealing – people who have been proven to commit these acts have absolutely no business working at VA and serving America’s veterans. I look forward to the Secretary’s response to my letters and expect he will conduct his internal investigation swiftly and hold those at fault accountable.”
To read more about the allegations of misconduct within VA’s ORMDI office that were brought to the Committee’s attention through VA whistleblowers, click here.
To read more about Chairman Bost’s Restore VA Accountability Act, click here.