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National Labor Relations Board Closes Investigation of Mattress Factory Involving Claims of Sexual Misconduct

The Mattress Factory.

COURTESY THE MATTRESS FACTORY

The Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh said on Thursday that the National Labor Relations Board has closed its investigation into four employees’ claims that the museum had retaliated against them after they accused a former coworker of sexual misconduct. The news follows last week’s announcement that the art center had reached a settlement in the complaint. A request for comment from the Mattress Factory was not immediately returned.

Judith O’Toole, the museum’s acting director, said in a prior statement, “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.”

A report published in September by Pittsburgh’s NPR station WESA 90.5 FM detailed five employees’ allegations of sexual misconduct, including rape and harassment, by a coworker who was not named in the article. According to the report, one employee came forward to Michael Olijnyk, the museum’s executive director, with her allegations. Olijnyk reportedly told her that the coworker received sexual harassment training, but the museum continued to employ the coworker for “about three months” more.

In a statement released after the complaint was filed with the National Labor Relations Board, the Mattress Factory said it had “more work to do.” Olijnyk was subsequently placed on “temporary paid leave.” O’Toole was then named acting director of the institution.

O’Toole said last week that she was “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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