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Sexual Harassment Still Problem For U.S.F.S. Women

Thousands female Forest Service employees in California are asking a federal judge to hold the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary in contempt of court.

The current and former employees say Ann Veneman has failed to reduce workplace hostilities. The Forest Service, a division of the USDA, has been under a court-approved settlement since last year. Officials had agreed to establish a three-year program to train employees and enforce women´s rights in the workplace.

But Lesa Donnelly – the lead plaintiff in the case – says female employees are still subjected to sexual harassment. She says they´re still experiencing workplace violence and retaliation.

Forest Service officials say the agency is taking steps to improve working conditions. They says it is developing a procedure to investigate allegations of sexual harassment.

A hearing in the case has been scheduled for July 18th in U.S. District Court in Oakland.