According to published reports, the former commander of the celebrated Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron, a group often thought of as the face of the Navy, was recently reprimanded after an investigation indicated he failed to stop sexual harassment and condoned and participated in other inappropriate workplace behavior.
The 63-page investigative report released by the Navy details some patently ridiculous behavior such as a phallus being painted on the roof of a training facility—a phallus so large it was visible on satellite imagery. The report also details pictures of genitalia being sent back and forth via a messaging group.
Although sexual harassment in the American workplace has come a long way in the last 50 years, the Blue Angels’ investigation serves as a reminder that it still exists in many forms. Employers should take note that the cost of supporting or ignoring a sexually charged workplace is high. It can lead to personal and professional embarrassment and even the end of a career, as appears to have been the case here. Companies may also have to foot the cost of a pricey investigation and often risk sigificant legal liability. To protect yourself, we recommend updating your harassment prevention policies, training your employees on those polcies, and taking appropriate action in response to any complaint of a violation of company policy.