Montana Public Radio

sexual harassment

Tonight on Capitol Talk: The state health department faces permanent job cuts; A sales tax proposal reappears at the Capitol; Sexual harassment allegations among lawmakers lead to a new anti-harassment policy; And with time running short, Gov. Bullock remains coy about his 2020 election plans.

Montana Capitol building.
Nick Mott / MTPR

Lawmakers reached a tentative deal Tuesday on a policy to report and investigate harassment, discrimination and retaliation involving lawmakers and legislative employees.

A conference committee recommended lawmakers rejected a House proposal that the policy also apply to lobbyists, media and members of the public.

Woman swimming. Stock photo.

A public pool in Polson has been ordered to pay a former employee nearly $60,000 and develop new policies for identifying and resolving discrimination complaints in response to a case heard last year.

Tristen Flagen filed a complaint with the Montana Department of Labor and Industry in 2016, claiming two of her coworkers at Mission Valley Aquatic Center in Polson sexually harassed her at work repeatedly and aggressively, and that she was fired after she tried to bring it up with her superiors.

Montana State Capitol.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

The Montana House gave initial approval Tuesday to an amended sexual harassment policy for the Legislature. The policy is in a package of rules that also includes a controversial plan to remove notices when proposed legislation might violate the state constitution.

Democrats protested, but ultimately voted alongside Republicans to approve new rules for their conduct in the Legislature.

Senate Majority Leader for the 2019 legislative session, Fred Thomas. Thomas is Republican from Stevensville.
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

Montana's Senate has approved a policy prohibiting legislators and legislative employees from subjecting someone to discrimination, harassment and retaliation and creates a confidential process to report and investigate complaints.

Montana State Settles Lawsuit Over Sexual Harassment

Nov 27, 2018

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Montana State University has agreed to pay $175,000 to a former student who filed a civil lawsuit alleging the school was negligent in hiring a convicted sex offender as a music teacher.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports MSU did not admit liability and settled the case earlier this month to avoid further litigation. 

The Montana Capitol in Helena.
Mike Albans

Montana lawmakers are drafting new rules about how to handle harassment and discrimination in the legislative branch. 2018 has brought an unprecedented amount of legislation around the country on the subject of sexual harassment policies for legislative members. That’s according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Yellowstone National Park is taking action against up to a dozen employees after an investigation found some female workers were subjected to sexual harassment and other problems.

Superintendent Dan Wenk says some of the employees could be fired while others could receive suspensions or counseling.

“Tell me an organization that’s almost 1,000 employees and find me one that doesn’t have issues about work place issues, find me one,” said Wenk. “I don’t think you will. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t improve it.”

Yellowstone National Park sign
Flickr user Lance Mountain (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Federal investigators said today they found credible evidence that male supervisors and staff in the maintenance division at Yellowstone National Park created a work environment that included unwelcome and inappropriate comments and actions toward women.

Yellowstone National Park Spokesperson Morgan Warthin: