"The Long Road to Equality: Hiring & Harassment at TxDOT"
A KXAN investigation of the Texas Department of Transportation’s massive workforce reveals a longstanding struggle to address gender and racial disparities in a culture historically and predominantly composed of white men, especially at its highest echelons. KXAN discovered workers made more than 200 allegations against the agency in the past five years. Many came from women and minorities alleging harassment, discrimination and retaliation. This series prompted state lawmakers to call on the agency to improve its hiring and complaint systems, even suggesting TxDOT’s executive director should resign if problems persist.
In just a few short weeks following KXAN’s initial reports in this series, the number of workforce allegations made by TXDOT employees doubled, after which the agency’s executive director sent a video message via email to all 11,000+ workers, addressing our report and explaining the steps leaders would be taking to ensure problems would be addressed. Anti-harassment materials were also soon posted in every employee location across the state. And within hours of us questioning the agency about a lack of movement in one worker’s discrimination case - featured in our followup report - the agency’s workforce compliance division launched an investigation into her complaint.
Submitted by Josh Hinkle.