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Fudge Decries USDA Official’s Claims Discrimination Complaints Used to Punish Managers

Washington, November 19, 2019
Fudge Decries USDA Official’s Claims Discrimination Complaints Used to Punish Managers

WASHINGTON (November 19, 2019) – Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge, Chair of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations, issued a statement following a Tuesday hearing with USDA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Naomi Earp.  During testimony, Deputy Assistant Secretary Earp claimed, “… some frequent filers use EEO complaints to punish managers and supervisors,” adding that she believed the practice is “a pretty effective tool.”

“I have serious, serious concerns about a great deal of Ms. Earp’s testimony, but her insinuation that some USDA employees who are clearly within their rights to file multiple civil rights complaints are doing so to 'punish managers and supervisors,’ is absolutely horrifying.

“Her comments perpetuate the conspiracy theory that accusations are fake and enables a culture of victim blaming at USDA. This rhetoric seeks to preemptively absolve bad actors at the Department of the role they may play in these cases. USDA’s own decades-long track record shows clearly that complaints of this nature should be investigated fully.

“What is clearly worse though, is that this is the person in charge of protecting all employees at USDA. These comments and their underlying attitude will breed an atmosphere at the Department where employees are less likely to report discrimination and harassment for fear of reprisal or that their complaints won’t be taken seriously.

“These statements show me – and should show anyone else who’s watching – that Ms. Earp isn’t the right person for this job.”

A video of the hearing and Ms. Earp’s comments are available here.
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