A government watchdog is about to open an investigation into whether one of the Environmental Protection Agency's regional offices is appropriately handling allegations of sexual harassment.
The EPA's Office of the Inspector General notified the EPA of an impending investigation into the enforcement of sexual harassment policies at the EPA's Region 5 office. Region 5 covers Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.
The investigation is being done at the behest of the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, according to a letter sent Friday. "The committee requested the OIG to determine whether Region 5 managers appropriately handled allegations of sexual harassment," the letter states.
Region 5 has been under fire after an employee was arrested on child pornography charges after facing multiple sexual harassment complaints that were examined by the committee in 2015.
The Inspector General plans to determine if the regional office is handling sexual harassment complaints through the correct process, and if the human resources process follows federal requirements.
"To accomplish this objective, we will identify the universe of sexual harassment complaints made over the last five years, select a sample and review case files," the letter stated. "We will also conduct interviews with management and regional staff to determine whether Region 5 followed applicable policies and practices, as well as complied with federal requirements."
The EPA's Region 5 office has also been under siege in recent months following criticism of how it handled the lead water crisis in Flint, Mich. The leader of that office, Susan Hedman, resigned from her post earlier this year over the crisis.