Donna J. Grabarczyk
|BS Nursing, University of Cincinnati 1957
|Veteran's Affairs, Lyons, NJ
|Certified in Health Care Quality
Received the 1993 Mary D. Pinkard LIFE Award from Federally Employed Women Legal and Education Fund; "For advancing the cause of equity in the federal service."
She was also the subject of an editorial in The Courier News from 10/16/92 entitled, "Grabarczyk's cases-Outcome will be crucial for all women"
|Interests and Hobbies
Founded an international help line called Women Against Sexual Harassment (WASH) for victims of sexual harassment
Appeared by invitation on various T.V. and radio programs
Donna Grabarczyk was sexually harassed by Chauncy W. Lewis on August 15, 1990. She reported the incident to her supervisor and met with an EEO Counselor, who suggested she seek medical help. She did so, from individuals with the Veteran's Affairs (VA) site in Lyons, New Jersey where she worked and was harassed. However, she received virtually no assistance of any kind. After Mr. Lewis admitted to kissing Donna Grabarczyk about two weeks after the incident, she filed a formal EEO complaint. Before a formal investigation began, an administrative investigation was conducted into Mr. Lewis' behavior toward his co-workers by Nancy Hague, a Personnel Specialist.
Testimony was taken from 22 people, 12 of whom reported harassment by Mr. Lewis. No disciplinary action was taken or recommended as a consequence of this finding.
The investigation into the EEO complaint led by Mr. John Boyd, finally commenced in January, 1991. A finding of discrimination was recommended by the investigator, within the sexual harassment area. Two months later on March 29, 1991, . Grabarczyk was notified that Mr. Lewis was to receive disciplinary action of sufficient severity as to require that it be recorded in his personnel folder and to be completed within a time not to exceed 90 calendar days. She was offered assistance from the VAMC in filing compensation claims for medical expenses; but was not reimbursed until November, 1991.
By August, 1992, Grabarczyk was stripped of her titles and responsibilities at work. In a phone interview with Andrea Stone of USA Today, she publicly stated that she believed she was being punished for reporting the actions of Mr. Lewis. The incident itself and its handling came to the attention of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Veteran's Affairs, with a hearing held on September 17, 1992. Donna Grabarcyzk, with co-workers Rebecca Ainley, Rose Monfore, Mary O'Connor and Mary Cavanaugh testified to having been sexually harassed on the job. Within this time period, a notice of proposed removal from his position was being appealed by Mr. Lewis, who was granted a disability retirement on October 15th of that year.
Mr. Lewis was also indicted on eight counts of federal charges that he sexually harassed six coworkers. He initially pled not guilty, modifying it on November 26th to guilty on one count. On January 31, 1993, he was sentenced to two years probation, $3,000 in fines, required to participate in a mental health treatment program, and to serve 300 hours of community service. Failing to comply with the mental health treatment recommendation, he was subsequently required to serve his prison term, and thus became the first federal employee to be imprisoned for sexual harassment.