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By Jamie Fox  #protectveteranprivacy @veteranprivacy Since getting media coverage in 2012 about my own story with the VA, people across the country have reached out to me. I listened to their stories and discovered there is a pattern of unethical practices across the country at the VA. I listened to a few stories of women who were once employed by the VA, but had the unfortunate experience of being sexually harassed. They too, thought they were protected by law, if they came forward to get help to stop the harassment. However, once regional counsel got involved, the woman was investigated, rather than the man’s misconduct. These women were terminated based on behavioral issues. This kind of termination is so general and so vague that these women were unable to fight it in court. It reminded me in a way of how the military tends to blame the victim and blocks recourse. When the VA slaps a woman with a behavioral issue, as the reason for why they terminated her, rather than investigating and stopping the man from harassing her, is one of the deepest injuries an institution can inflict. Not only does it bar her from obtaining other federal work, but this permanent stain on her work history, forever strips her of dignity and invalidates her as a human being. I hope with the #Metoo movement that some of these women, who used to work for the VA, will come forward and let the public know all the ways in which the VA silences women who report harassment. My information on this subject is only anecdotal. The VA also prevents women from obtaining restraining orders, even of men who stalk women on their off time. The VA might be more inclined to target employees on probationary status because they are the easiest employees to fire. However, for some positions probationary status can last up to 3 years. That means, for women who need to stop sexual harassment, cannot if the VA refuses to investigate those claims and would rather terminate the woman for behavioral problems. I hope an investigative journalist looks into those facts and figures in order to shed more light on the subject. RELATED: Employees Report Sexual Harassment, Retaliation At East Bay VA Facilities In several articles by San Francisco (KPIX 5), VA director David Stockwell talked about the complaint process, but he misled the public when he stated that the VA makes reporting harassment an easy process. Even though Stockwell apologized later for saying employees could vote with their feet if they do not like the work environment at the VA, he just happened to accidently reveal the way VA management operates. Across the country VA management uses these types of intimidation tactics behind closed doors. These kinds of statements are common and are impossible to prove, because they were given verbally. In additional statements given to KPIX 5 by the VA, read: “Allegations of sexual assault are very serious, and if founded are a criminal act. VA management is required to report founded criminal activity to the Office of Inspector General for investigation and victims are asked to file a police report with VA Police. Every allegation of sexual harassment presented to our management team is thoroughly assessed through various means of investigative tools, be it internal investigation or through The Office of Resolution Management until all the facts are gathered and appropriate action is taken. There are, and will continue to be, legal and administrative consequences against employees who participate in criminal activity and/or conduct themselves in a way that is not conducive to an environment free of all forms of harassment. We have a responsibility to the Veterans we serve and our 3,500 plus employees to create an atmosphere that is safe, hold staff accountable for their actions, and that is a place of healing for our Veterans.” However, in my former co-worker’s case, the VA at the Oakland regional office did not investigate my co-worke...

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