Discrimination probe stirs more complaints about Michigan DNR

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources

Six months after a state investigation revealed an “oppressive culture” of intolerance and bullying toward women and blacks in the Law Enforcement Division of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the agency is still reviewing the report, and other employees have stepped forward to reinforce its findings.

The investigation resulted from complaints by a division employee who settled a race and sex discrimination suit against the agency in 1991. According to the state report, the woman has suffered harassment and retaliation ever since.

A fellow plaintiff from the 1991 lawsuit said, “We were not wanted. It was a lily-white division before we came. They thought that because we were born in the city, we could never learn to identify wildlife.”

After reading news articles about the investigation, three more former DNR employees came forward with similar stories in May.

While DNR slogs through the state report, the agency’s numbers speak for themselves. Out of the Law Enforcement Division’s 263 employees, only 10 are black and 48 are women. The DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division is even less diverse: Only 11 out of 372 employees are black.

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