Amb. Woody Johnson’s ‘Inappropriate’ Comments May Have Violated Laws, But State Dept. Wasn’t Interested in Learning More

Amb. Woody Johnson’s ‘Inappropriate’ Comments May Have Violated Laws, But State Dept. Wasn’t Interested in Learning More

Woody Johnson, the co-owner of the New York Jets and the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, “sometimes made inappropriate or insensitive comments on topics generally considered Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)-sensitive, such as religion, sex, or color,” a report from the State Department’s Office of Inspector General said Wednesday. The State Department “disagreed” that it needed to conduct a “more thorough review” about whether EEO laws had been violated because Johnson had watched a video about “mitigating unconscious bias” and encouraged “all” other “section and agency heads to do the same.” All told, the “Inspection of Embassy London and Constituent Posts, United Kingdom” made 22 recommendations—”21 to Embassy London and 1 to the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.” The recommendation to the bureau regarding Johnson, urging a thorough instigation of potential civil rights violations, was the only recommendation the State Department disagreed with. It was also the only issue the OIG deemed “unresolved.” Recommendation 1: The Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, in coordination with the Office of Civil Rights, should assess the Chief of Mission’s compliance with Department Equal Employment Opportunity or leadership policies and based on the results of the review, take appropriate action. (Action: EUR, in coordination with S/OCR) Management Response: In its July 1, 2020,2 response, the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs disagreed with this recommendation. The bureau stated, that given the concern expressed, the Ambassador has viewed the Office of Civil Rights video on workplace harassment and has instructed all section ...
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