A complaint alleging that employees at Iowa's workplace safety agency used a toy banana to make sexual jokes triggered the investigation that led to the removal of two top officials.
The complaint was sent to Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Department of Administrative Services, which is the state human resources agency. A copy of the complaint obtained by The Associated Press said the allegations would be released to the media if the "disgusting" behaviour wasn't addressed.
Both of the accused employees say the allegation was false, that the toy was actually a stress ball and that it wasn't used for sexual innuendo.
The complaint nonetheless triggered an investigation by the Department of Administrative Services that cast a harsh light on the Iowa Occupational Safety and Health unit. That led to a management shake-up.