Male co-worker alleges Baumgardner created hostile work environment
February 24, 2018
GRAND JUNCTION– A third formal complaint has been filed against Sen. Randy Baumgardner, one that doesn’t allege sexual harassment but creating a hostile work environment.
The same consortium of public radio stations that was the first to report the numerous harassment complaints that have been filed against five state lawmakers reported Friday that a third person, a man, is alleging that the Grand County Republican created a hostile work environment, in part, because of improper sexual advances toward another office worker.
The unnamed male staff worker told Rocky Mountain Community Radio, whose stations include those in Paonia and Carbondale, that Baumgardner’s “unwanted attention” on one female staff worker during the 2016 legislative session made it difficult to do his job.
“The female staffer would shake her head and call him ‘creepy and disgusting,'” the male staffer wrote in the complaint. “Bottom line, this became an environment that we all endured. It was a cloud that hung in the air, and at the time we didn’t know what to do about it.”
Baumgardner, whose district includes Garfield County, could not be reached for comment. But earlier this month during a press conference the senator said strict confidentiality rules barred him from commenting on an active complaint.
Actually, those rules apply only to legislative leaders who have to determine if the complaint has merit and, if so, decide whatever punishment is warranted.
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In the first of the three complaints against Baumgardner, those leaders — Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City, and Majority Leader Chris Holbert, R-Parker — didn’t determine that the Hot Sulphur Springs senator was guilty of sexual harassment, but did accept his voluntary decision to step down as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and undergo sensitivity training.
The two leaders did say that an investigation by a third party hired by the Legislature to investigate all the complaints that have been filed issued a report that had “inaccuracies, bias, conflicts of interest and inconsistencies.” That report has not been made public.
That investigative company, Employers Council, was chosen as an independent third party by the Legislative Executive Committee, which is made up of Democratic and Republican leaders in both chambers, before this year’s session began. Read more from The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.