Coast Guard Whistleblower Addresses Congress on Diversity, Inclusion, and Whistleblower Protections

Published on July 01, 2021

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Coast Guard Whistleblower Addresses Congress on Diversity, Inclusion, and Whistleblower Protections

WASHINGTON, D.C. | July 1, 2021 — On June 23, 2021, Coast Guard whistleblower and National Whistleblower Day 2021 speaker, Lt. Cmdr. Kimberly Young-McLear, submitted a written statement to the House Committee on Homeland Security that addressed harassment, workplace bullying, and retaliation at the U.S. Coast Guard. The hearing, “Building the Coast Guard America Needs: Achieving Diversity, Equity, and Accountability Within the Service,” featured Admiral Karl Schultz, the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, and is chaired by Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS).

Young-McLear will speak at National Whistleblower Day 2021 about her experiences blowing the whistle multiple times while on active duty at the Coast Guard.

In her statement, Young-McLear addressed the workplace bullying, harassment, and discrimination that she and other members of the Coast Guard endured as well as the retaliation many faced – in addition – after blowing the whistle. She goes on to note that her requests for a formal written apology and accountability for her and the other whistleblowers who have come forward to report similar issues at the Coast Guard had been denied by the Commandant, on which committee members questioned the Commandant.

In 2019, the House Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on Oversight and Reform investigated whistleblower allegations from Young-McLear and other Coast Guard employees. Young-McLear’s efforts to blow the whistle aided the joint congressional probe in finding that the Coast Guard systematically mishandled harassment, retaliation, and workplace bullying complaints, failing to hold leadership accountable.

As one of her many initiatives to create positive change within the Coast Guard and in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as a whole, Young-McLear co-founded DHS Spectrum, an organization committed to viewing the DHS through an intersectional lens in order to identify and address issues affecting DHS employees while educating and assisting the DHS with improving policies to combat workplace violence, harassment, and other forms of exclusion that erode mission readiness. The purpose of DHS Spectrum is to help create healthy work environments where all can thrive.

NWC Executive Director Siri Nelson said, “It is an honor that Lt. Cmdr. Kimberly Young-McLear will join our 2021 National Whistleblower Day celebration. Her dedication to the Coast Guard and determination to foster a future Coast Guard and DHS free from unwanted harassment, violence, and retaliation is an inspiration to me and will be for the many whistleblowers who will join us on National Whistleblower Day. We are proud to hear her story and celebrate all the whistleblowers who have bravely come forward to fight against workplace violence and whistleblower retaliation.”

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