Weather giant, AccuWeather, has agreed to pay $290,000 in fines after it was found that the company subjected female workers to sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.
A report released on Monday, detailed the conciliation agreement that was published in June, after an investigation by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).
The family owned company is set to pay almost three dozen women, and at least four women have received compensation since the agreement was signed in June by AccuWeather President Joel Myers.
The company denies any wrongdoing, although, the OFCCP found that AccuWeather didn’t exercise any caution to prevent the alleged harassment. The agreement claims that AccuWeather did “not exercise reasonable care to prevent and correct the improper treatment and harassment against women there.”
It included written communication that was sent to former employees who worked there between Jan. 1, 2014, and Dec. 21, 2017, who were notified they were eligible to receive a settlement of at least $7,250 each as part of the settlement.
The company is required to have mandatory in-person training for managers so that they can know how to identify and prevent unlawful harassment in the workplace. AccuWeather was also asked to hire an independent company to “receive and investigate complaints of harassment, intimidation, threats, retaliation and coercion against employees throughout 2018.”
Barry Myers, now-former CEO, stepped down from his position in January and sold all of his shares in the company. The reason “to be compliant” with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics since he was nominated by President Trump to head National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 2017.
Interestingly enough, there’s some questions around Myers’ potential appointment to the NOAA. AccuWeather wasn’t necessarily forthcoming regarding the company’s reputation of being a toxic environment. And Myers heading one of this nation’s environmental services has come under fire. Weather data is distributed via the National Weather Service (NWS), which falls under the NOAA umbrella.
AccuWeather was a direct competitor of the federal agency even though the company received its data from the NWS. The NWS gave free access to information to other weather agencies but according to a report, AccuWeather attempted to privatize public information because they charged their customers, such as TV stations, networks, websites, newspapers and other media for information.
Bob Ryan, a veteran TV meteorologist, says, “A lot of people were very concerned. They said, ‘AccuWeather wants to take over the weather service.'”
President Trump even lauded Myers as “one of the world’s leading authorities on the use of weather information.”
A detail worth mentioning is Myers is not a scientist. He is a lawyer and businessman.
But with Myers in that position, and his brother running the company, which is the NOAA’s only competition, he’d be in a position to make AccuWeather even more profitable.