Tuesday, December 17, 2019

South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs bosses told whistler blower to "pull up (her) big girl panties"

Woman alleges retaliation for whistleblowing on S.D. Department of Veterans Affairs

Sioux Falls Argus Leader
Lisa Kaczke
Dec. 16, 2019
In 2016 and July through October 2017, the defendants asked her to overlook "forgery issues" on Veterans Affairs forms completed by state Department of Veterans Affairs employees. Supervisors in the state department told Davidson to "pull up (her) big girl panties," which she believed was an offensive comment that was related to offensive statements she heard and reported at a state Department of Veterans Affairs conference in Pierre in May 2016.

A Mitchell woman is alleging she was fired as a county veteran service officer in retaliation for whistleblowing on forgery and reporting sexual harassment in the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs.

Jessica Davidson filed the lawsuit last week in the First Circuit Court against the state of South Dakota, the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs, Davison County, the Davison County Commission and Davison County Commissioners Brenda Bode and Dennis Kiner.

She is alleging in the lawsuit that the defendants violated her Title VII civil rights, her 14th Amendment and First Amendment rights, and her rights under the South Dakota whistleblower law.

The defendants haven't yet filed a response to Davidson's lawsuit complaint.

Davidson also filed two complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which issued a letter in September 2019 stating she had a right to sue.

According to her lawsuit complaint:

Davidson, a U.S. Army veteran, was hired as the first female Davison County veteran service officer in December 2014 at a rate of pay that was $2.47 less per hour than her male predecessors. She was formally appointed to a four-year term as VSO in December 2015.

In August 2016, she was found to "exceed expectations" in all 14 performance factors on a job evaluation by the state Department of Veterans Affairs.
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