Report: Analysis finds inconsistent process of investigating sexual harassment complaints

Here is The Tennessean building at 1100 Broadway in downtown Nashville May 3, 2007. (Ricky Rogers/The Tennessean)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A newspaper's analysis of state government data shows an inconsistent process among Tennessee agencies of investigating sexual harassment complaints and handing out punishments.

The Tennessean reports at least 460 such complaints have been lodged against state employees or contractors since 2010. About 190 incidents were found to have merit, and the consequences for state employees varied widely.

According to the newspaper, employees in one agency were given minor sanctions, while at other agencies, workers were fired for verbal harassment. Nearly two-thirds of complaint investigations were closed because investigators said they found no wrongdoing.

The complaints were filed in 44 state departments and commissions. Tennessee has roughly 40,000 state employees.

At the Office of the Comptroller, a male employee was fired for violating "another office policy" before an investigation ended into allegations by two women that he sexually harassed them, according to office general counsel Stephanie Maxwell.