Confirm that managers know workplace legalities

I read with interest the Oct. 19 news about the County of Maui being sued for $1.63 million because they may have discriminated against and fired a 71-year-old man. The same Maui News issue outlined a settlement of $35,000 which was paid to an employee who was not offered a reasonable accommodation, county discrimination against a disabled employee.

In May of 2016, the county paid $24,000 to settle an age discrimination suit against a prospective police officer who was told at the interview that he was “too old” for the job.

When managers are not properly trained to understand the repercussions (sometimes they can be sued personally as well) of their illegal actions at work, it is the taxpayers who suffer. In May of 2014 the county paid $25,000 in legal fees as part of a freedom of speech settlement. As part of that settlement, the county agreed to drastically rewrite its anti-harassment policy and it also required the county’s lawyers to review any complaints of harassment at an early stage to avoid future problems. I am especially concerned about harassment, abuse and illegal treatment that civil servants are subjected to at the hands of appointed and/or elected officials. As a taxpayer, I’d like to see our mayor, managing director, attorneys, human resources and equal employment opportunity specialists confirm that managers know what is and is not legal in the workplace. Officials who engage in this behavior must be dealt with swiftly.

Karin Phaneuf

Wailuku

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