Apology Warranted

A week after news broke publically about a confrontation that left East Hampton Village’s female lifeguards feeling harassed and subject to a hostile workplace, the village board remains mostly silent. 

An apology would be a good place to start.

The conflict arose in June, amid a few complaints that the women lifeguards’ bathing suits were too revealing. The lifeguards believed the beach managers, to whom they reported directly, were to blame for a series of blunders, including one or more photographs taken of a lifeguard modeling the new suit.

Feeling unfairly blamed for carrying out orders from higher up, three of the four beach managers quit the day after The Star reported on a letter of complaint from several of the female lifeguards and a rebuttal from the village administrator that did not identify who was responsible for the missteps and all but entirely dismissed the lifeguards’ complaints.

Many questions remain, but the lesson for village officials is that the instant women employees say that they feel harassed and threatened, they must be taken seriously, full stop. 

It is unfortunate that the village board has not stood up to make amends, but instead ducked for cover behind bland and carefully worded statements. A simple “We’re sorry,” even now, would go a long way.