Two complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination at the city of Salem have been dismissed by the state Bureau of Labor and Industries.
Earlier this year, Permit Technician Casey Levy and Plans Examiner Deirdrie Wade complained they witnessed or were subjected to an array of misogynistic behavior, including unwelcome hugs, pet names and comments about a woman’s body.
Levy also complained that in October a male coworker tried to “touch (her) butt” with a piece of paper, which Wade corroborated in her own complaint.
But the bureau’s Civil Rights Division, which investigates complaints in the workplace throughout the state “did not find sufficient evidence to continue our investigation,” the bureau wrote last week.
“This is the bureau’s final determination. If you wish to pursue your claim(s) further, you may wish to consult an attorney regarding your right to file a civil suit,” the bureau wrote on April 9 and 10, respectively.
Levy, in her Jan. 10 complaint, said that she took her complaints to human resources but was “blamed” and told she could be punished if she continued to complain.
Wade, who filed her complaint Feb. 11, said she witnessed the incident with the piece of paper, but was told when she complained to human resources that she was told “the issue was resolved after an investigation into the matter.”
Wade also said were “various other occasions” of men in the office making inappropriate comments to women.
Human Resources Director Mina Hanssen told Salem Reporter in February that all complaints are “thoroughly and immediately investigated.”
On Monday, Hanssen echoed that statement.
“The city always takes these kinds of complaints seriously and we’ve done our due diligence and BOLI’s dismissals reinforce that we’re doing the right thing,” she said.
A third complaint, filed Dec. 10 by Jose Botello who alleges superiors embarrassed and harassed him for being Hispanic, remains open.
The city also remains in court fighting two tort claims. Maintenance worker David Vosgien claims he was fired for raising concerns of sexual harassment within his department, and former city planner Carson Quam claims he wasn’t rehired after a probationary period due to his disabilities.
“We are actively defending them,” Hanssen said.
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