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Mattress Factory Reaches Settlement in Complaint Stemming from Handling of Sexual Misconduct Allegations

The Mattress Factory.

COURTESY THE MATTRESS FACTORY

The Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh said today that it had reached a settlement in a National Labor Relations Board complaint lodged against them by four employees. The complaint alleged that the museum had retaliated against the employees after they accused a coworker of sexual misconduct.

In a statement, Judith O’Toole, the museum’s acting director, said, “The Mattress Factory acknowledges that certain of its procedures and responses were inadequate. In order to correct this, the Mattress Factory has established clear and direct policies and procedures based upon the most recent guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, legal counsel, and recommendations from the charging parties, and will provide additional training to all employees and management on these new policies.” The museum said that the findings of the report have not yet been released, and that the NLRB investigation would likely be closed following the settlement.

The allegations were first revealed in a WESA report in which five employees recounted various forms of sexual misconduct, including harassment and rape, by the coworker. One employee reportedly approached the museum’s executive director, Michael Olijnyk, with her accusations, and he said the woman’s coworker “received and completed workplace harassment training.” But, according to the WESA report, the coworker continued to be employed by the Mattress Factory for “about three months” afterward.

After the complaint was filed with the NLRB, the museum said in a statement that it had “more work to do.” Olijnyk was subsequently placed on “temporary paid leave” by the Mattress Factory. O’Toole was then named acting director of the institution.

In today’s statement, O’Toole said, “The current and former employees who filed the NLRB Charge and the Mattress Factory look forward to seeing the museum provide a safe and successful environment for its valued employees and are hopeful that the new policies will promote equity in the field of contemporary art and attract top talent to the museum in the future.”

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