Marion County Courthouse (File/Salem Reporter)
A pair of lawsuits filed in Marion County Circuit Court by state workers allege mistreatment by two different government agencies.
One lawsuit was filed on behalf of Dane Snyder, a major incident technical analyst with the Oregon Health Authority. The complaint, filed July 24, states that Snyder has an anxiety disorder that qualifies as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act and related state laws.
The complaint alleges that when Snyder asked to telecommute three days a week in 2018 to accommodate his disability he was met with retaliation and intimidation by a manager. Specifically, the complaint states that a manager had an office camera aimed at Snyder’s cubicle and made unsubstantiated claims about his “work ethic” and integrity during a performance review.
The manager also tried to change Snyder’s job description to not allow teleworking, according to the complaint. Additionally, Snyder was accused of improperly deleting a folder containing software he had developed that was backed up elsewhere, the complaint states. After Snyder started a new job with the agency he was allegedly denied access to computer systems needed to do his job.
“As of the date of filing of this complaint, Plaintiff’s ADA accommodation has not been provided to him,” reads the filing.
Last year, Snyder filed a complaint with the Bureau of Labor and Industries. In June, the bureau signed off on his right to file a civil suit, the complaint states.
According to the complaint, Snyder has “suffered severe mental or emotional distress including anxiety, depression, grief, shame, humiliation, embarrassment, anger, disappointment, sleeplessness, and worry.”
Snyder is seeking $500,000 in non-economic damages and $28,815 for lost wages, medical expenses and mental health treatment. He is represented by attorney Kevin Lafky.
The Oregon Health Authority declined to comment on the lawsuit through a spokesman.
A separate lawsuit, filed July 24, against the Oregon Department of Justice alleges that Marlene Olson, who worked in the agency’s Child Advocacy Section, was paid $10,000 less than two of her male counterparts in violation of state law.
In 2019, Oregon’s Pay Equity Law went into effect making it illegal for employers to pay workers less because of gender, race, age or other protected characteristics.
After the law went into effect, the Department of Justice took part in a comprehensive compensation review to determine pay inequity. The analysis found that two male employees with the same experience, seniority, training and education were paid more than Olson, the complaint states.
Olson filed a complaint with the Bureau of Labor and Industries last year. In May, the bureau determined there was evidence to support her claim.
The complaint seeks $833 a month from January 1, 2019, to the date of trial. That would amount to $16,660 through August of this year. The complaint also seeks $100,000 in non-economic damages. Olson is represented by attorney Sean Riddell.
“The Attorney General believes strongly in equal pay for equal work; we are reviewing the complaint and will assess its merits carefully,” department spokeswoman Kristina Edmunson said in an email.
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Contact reporter Jake Thomas at 503-575-1251 or [email protected] or @jakethomas2009.