A former employee with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety is suing the state, accusing officials of discriminating against her and retaliating when she complained.
State officials said they can’t discuss “specific legal action,” but said in a statement that the “Department of Public Safety is fully committed to a safe and positive work environment.” Employees must complete a course on respectful workplace conduct, they said.
“We hold all employees accountable for actions that are contrary to agency policy and state or federal law,” the statement said.
Anna Glover, who worked as a security analyst for the Human Services Department and later the Health Department, began working for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in the Department of Public Safety in January 2015.
Glover — one of four African-American employees in a staff of 300 — complained to her supervisor that a fellow employee’s conduct was offensive, including the constant use of derogatory language, and that it triggered a post-traumatic stress disorder that she suffered after being racially harassed as a child.
She confided to her supervisor that as a child she was spat on, called racially charged names in school and suffered a back injury in a racially motivated attack. In one instance, her teeth were knocked out after she was pushed into a wall. She also suffered a long-lasting injury that has caused significant pain in her arms, which requires her to use an adjustable desk at work.
When her colleague discovered that she had complained in early May 2015, Glover contends he retaliated for “ratting him out” and said that when he was in Vietnam, “snitches” disappeared.
Soon after, Glover said her boss discussed concerns about her “communication skills” and others’ negative perceptions of her — issues that hadn’t been brought up during earlier biweekly meetings. She later was informed that her probation period was being extended.
The lawsuit states Glover contacted an affirmative action office and was told she should consider starting an investigation. She later filed a charge of discrimination and retaliation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
A week later, she took a leave of absence because her co-worker “continued to be threatening and offensive,” including throwing two fake punches at her while she gave a presentation at work.
While on leave, Glover, who has 30 years experience in the information technology field, said she applied for other jobs at state agencies but was not given an opportunity to interview. For example, she said an interview for a security analyst position at the Department of Health was canceled.
She noted that she previously had worked at four jobs at three different state agencies and was recommended for a fifth job by a supervisor.
Besides the Department of Public Safety, she is suing the Department of Human Services, Department of Health, Office of MN.IT Services and the Board of Public Defense.