The American Red Cross has zero tolerance for sexual harassment and our hearts go out to anyone who has experienced it anywhere. We are committed to having a safe work environment for all of our employees and volunteers, and there are strong policies in place to enforce that, as evidenced by the corrective actions we took resulting in the resignation of Jerry Anderson more than 5 years ago.
In mid-September of 2012, we first learned of allegations against Mr. Anderson from a concerned third party, and we immediately engaged outside counsel to undertake an independent and confidential investigation. The month-long investigation was a complete and thorough review of all allegations reported, and we found that Mr. Anderson’s actions were in direct violation of Red Cross policies and principles. We informed Mr. Anderson that he needed to leave the Red Cross, and he resigned, effective November 2, 2012.
While we took correct and immediate action at the time, we acknowledge that subsequent actions fell short. The laudatory language used in association with Mr. Anderson’s departure was inappropriate and regrettable. Moreover, we recently learned that a verbal reference given to Save the Children may also have contained similar language. As a result, we are taking appropriate disciplinary action, and we have apologized to Save the Children.
Like a lot of organizations, we are re-evaluating our practices with these types of communications and, in the future, we are committed to greater due diligence. In light of these circumstances, we will:Reinforce with our employees that the language used in connection with Mr. Anderson’s departure was insensitive and make a commitment to be more careful going forward.Ensure our current HR policies are being enforced—particularly with regard to references for departing employees.Remind employees that sexual harassment training is available to all employees and is mandatory for all managers. Make additional efforts to ensure Red Cross employees and volunteers are aware of the many avenues available for anyone experiencing or witnessing harassment of any kind to report it, and that there will be no retaliation for anyone who comes forward with concerns or complaints.