A Salem, Oregon woman has filed a whistleblower complaint against the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles, accusing the agency of retaliating against her for reporting sexual harassment in the workplace.
The whistleblower complaint was filed in Marion County Circuit Court Nov. 8 by a woman who worked for the Oregon DMV as a document specialist. The plaintiff’s position was a temporary one, but she was interviewing last year for a permanent position as office specialist within the DMV.
It was on Dec. 8, after her second interview, that she says her troubles at the DMV began. According to the Salem Statesman Journal, the plaintiff alleges a co-worker, identified only as Shane in the complaint, repeatedly made sexual overtures toward her, including pulling the back of her shirt and looking down it, waiting for her outside the bathroom despite her protests, and following her to her car.
“Upon information and belief, DMV was aware that Shane had engaged in sexually harassing conduct to employees previously,” the woman’s whistleblower complaint states.
The situation became so unsettling to the plaintiff that she ultimately filed a police report regarding Shane. The next day, she was told that she didn’t get the job because she was “too social.” She says that her supervisors never in the past had told her she was too social.
“During this time period, Shane talked about (the woman), stating that she really did want him and that she was doing this for attention,” the whistleblower complaint stated, according to the Statesman Journal.
After her last day in her temporary position, she was escorted out of the building by two managers – a procedure that she claims was humiliating and unusual.
The woman accused the DMV of violating whistleblower laws when they allegedly retaliated against her for reporting, in good faith, what she believed to be illegal behavior and misconduct.
The plaintiff alleges that the DMV’s “unlawful” actions caused her to suffer humiliation, anxiety, and distress, and violated her right to be free from discrimination at work, her complaint states. She claims that she suffered, and continues to suffer, economic damages, including, but not limited to, past and future wages and lost benefits.
The plaintiff seeks $75,000 in lost back pay, lost wages and benefits, and $400,000 to $1 million in compensatory damages.