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Mattress Factory Director Placed on Temporary Paid Leave Following Allegations of Mishandled Sexual Harassment Claims

Michael Olijnyk.

COURTESY FIBERART INTERNATIONAL

The Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh has placed Michael Olijnyk, its executive director, on “temporary paid leave,” according to a statement issued this afternoon. The news follows a report published on Tuesday by the radio station WESA, which revealed that the Mattress Factory’s practices were being investigated by the National Labor Relations Board following a complaint filed by four museum employees. (Three of the employees no longer work at the museum; one of them is currently employed there.)

In the WESA report, five Mattress Factory employees recounted stories of sexual misconduct, including harassment and rape, by a former coworker who has thus far gone unnamed. WESA reported that, in February, one female employee went to Olijnyk with accusations of sexual misconduct by her coworker. After launching an investigation into the matter, Olijnyk said in a letter to her that the employee had “received and completed workplace harassment training.” The employee remained on staff at the Mattress Factory for “about three months” afterward, according to the report.

This month, four female employees filed a complaint with the NLRB alleging that the museum had retaliated or discriminated against employees who accused their coworker of sexual misconduct. In a statement issued yesterday, the Mattress Factory said that it had “more work to do.”

Today, the Mattress Factory board said it will be appointing an interim director (to be named “in the coming days”) and “retaining organizational consultants to engage and empower museum management and staff, to make the museum a better place to work, and to ensure that the museum is delivering on its mission.”

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