On the evening of October 27, 2019, Bloomberg Businessweek published an article detailing allegations by multiple individuals asserting that the National President of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), J. David Cox, had engaged in sexual harassment and other related misconduct.
In early November 2019, the NEC retained Working IDEAL to perform this work. The NEC tasked Working IDEAL with conducting an independent, thorough, and impartial investigation of allegations of misconduct by Cox, evaluating AFGE’s policies and practices related to preventing and responding to workplace harassment, and making recommendations for AFGE to strengthen its workplace.
On March 16, 2020, Working IDEAL provided our report to AFGE on the findings and conclusions of our investigation into the allegations of sexual harassment and related misconduct by Cox, along with a set of recommendations arising out of the investigation. On March 19, AFGE publicly released the report. You can download a copy of this report, and the Statement of Jenny R. Yang, below.
Working IDEAL is a consulting firm founded by people who have a long history representing and supporting workers and building inclusive workplaces. We provide trusted, effective, and innovative advice on inclusive workplace practices, harassment prevention, diverse talent, and fair pay to large and small companies, universities, non-profits, unions, and other organizations across the nation. We also conduct third-party audits and investigations of workplace practices and complaints, including harassment.
Jenny R. Yang of Working IDEAL, and a former Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, led the investigation, joined by her Working IDEAL partners Pamela Coukos and Cyrus Mehri (who is also a founding partner of the law firm of Mehri & Skalet, PLLC). Our other investigation team members include Mehri & Skalet Partner Ellen Eardley and attorney Desiree Langley; attorney Anurima Bhargava, a former official in the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division; and Sarah Crawford and Peach Soltis, formerly senior attorneys at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and now with Working IDEAL. Mehri & Skalet has a long history of representing workers in race and gender discrimination cases, wage and hour cases, and other employment issues. Visit our About page to learn more about the Working IDEAL team.
About the Investigation
Working IDEAL took significant steps at the outset of this work to ensure an independent, thorough, and impartial investigation. Working IDEAL’s agreement with AFGE states that we will make our own independent judgment of the facts, that the investigation findings are solely the conclusions of the Working IDEAL investigation team, and that these findings will not be influenced by AFGE or the NEC. No one at AFGE dictated with whom we spoke, what information we considered, or how we managed the investigation. No one at AFGE has drafted any portion of this report, made any edits to it, or conducted any aspect of our investigation.
We also sought to preserve the privacy of individuals who spoke with us or contributed information to the investigation. Senior officials of AFGE and witnesses who are already publicly known via media reports are identified by name in this report, but for the others, we have not used their names and have limited identifying details.