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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Indiana Department of Insurance Continues to Mistreat Their Employees 

In a sign that "High Tax" Holcomb is determined to continue the denigration of Indiana’s state employees started by his master "Godfather Governor" Mitch Daniels.
Kara Kenney over at RTV 6 reports the case of a former state employee who alleged sexual harassment she experienced and how nothing was done about her complaints.
Click here to watch Kenney’s report:

Kenney reported the following on January 31st, 2019:
Former state employees say workplace harassment is widespread in Indiana state government, and that the state does not follow its own written policy regarding misconduct.
Shandi Donald, a former clerical assistant at the Indiana Department of Insurance, said the problem got so bad she resigned, while her accused harasser kept his job.
"I believe this is a very big problem," Donald said.
Much like other workplaces, Indiana state government has a workplace harassment prevention policy in place to protect workers.
"The State will not tolerate workplace harassment, whether engaged in by fellow employees, supervisors, officers, or by outside clients or other non-employees who conduct business with the State," read the state’s policy. "The State encourages reporting of all incidences of alleged harassment, regardless of who the offender may be or the offender’s status."
The state’s policy also prohibits retaliating against employees who report harassment.
Kenney however says she has spoken to many state workers who say that the state does not enforce it’s policy against harassment. She goes on to cite a particular former state employees story:

Shandi Donald, of Indianapolis, is married with a young daughter, which is one of the main reasons she decided to speak out about workplace harassment.
"People will continue to experience this, and I for one don’t want my child to experience this as she gets into the workforce," Donald said.
Donald resigned from the Indiana Department of Insurance in June 2018 after what she called repeated sexual harassment from then-Chief of Staff Doug Webber.

Donald said the issues started in December 2017, a few months after she started working in the licensing division.
Donald provided several examples of what she called inappropriate comments made by Webber.
"He said ‘it’s really cold outside, let me put my hands on your butt’ and reached for my hind end," Donald said. "I backed away and I said ‘excuse me?’"
Donald said Webber made another remark among a group of employees.

"We were talking about sports in high school, and he came down and chimed into the conversation and I had talked about being a cheerleader and he asked if I did cartwheels in skirts," said Donald. "I looked at everyone else. They all had the same face like ‘did he really just say that’?

Donald described another example that she said also happened in a group setting.
"He was referencing a Christmas party at his home for the Department of Insurance and asked if people were going to be wearing an ugly sweater," Donald said. "He made the comment that he was going to get one that says #MeToo. At that point, a couple people walked away."

Donald said at the time, employees did not feel comfortable speaking out against Webber.
"You can’t say anything to the Chief of Staff," Donald said. "You’ll lose your job."
Donald said she and her co-workers trusted and looked up to Webber.

Kenney reports that Donald reported Webber’s conduct to State Personnel in January of 2018. As if Webber’s alleged misconduct was not bad enough what Kara Kenney reports next is perhaps more disturbing:
Donald provided copies of the emails sent to state personnel to Call 6 Investigates.
"I told (state personnel) I fear for retaliation," Donald said. "It's not a very good work environment as far as the people who are in charge, and I’m afraid my life is going to be made hell."

Donald said state personnel assured her the state does not tolerate retaliation.
But Donald said when she went on vacation, several co-workers told her another supervisor went through her desk and recycling bins.
"I believe they were looking for anything they possibly could," Donald said.
Webber denied any involvement in the desk incident.

Following Donald’s workplace harassment complaint in January 2018, Webber remained in his role as Chief of Staff at the Indiana Department of Insurance for 11 months until he retired on Dec. 1.
State personnel did investigate Donald’s workplace harassment complaint, however, the findings of that investigation are not public record.
"INSPD investigates all workplace harassment complaints we receive," Carlo Bertollini, spokesperson for state personnel, said.
According to personnel records obtained by Call 6 Investigates, Webber did not face disciplinary suspension, demotion or termination.
He earned $123,231 at the Department of Insurance as Chief of Staff, overseeing the regulation of insurance in Indiana, records show.

A licensed attorney, Webber also served as general counsel for the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission and IDOI, as well as numerous roles at the Indiana Attorney General’s office dating back to 1976.
Donald provided emails to RTV6 that showed state personnel encouraged her to apply for different jobs within state government.
The fact that state personnel encouraged Mrs. Donald to file for other jobs with the state makes us inclined to believe that SPD as is there SOP simply wants to cover up wrong doing by the states political appointees. The fact that Webber used to work with Jim Atterholt at the IURC leads us to believe that the allegations against Webber are credible. Our readers may remember that then IDOI Commissioner Jim Atterholt fired Paul Ogden back in 2007 for whistleblowing. So needless to say that IDOI doesn’t exactly have a great reputation as far as treating their employees goes. As for what our correspondents at the state tell us. Sexual and other harassment is far too widespread at state agencies.

For further information on Paul Ogden’s time at the IDOI please checkout the following:

Paul Ogden's time at the Department of Insurance:



Court of Appeals boneheaded decision on Ogden's lawsuit against the DOI:


Of further interest is Kara Kenney’s November 2018 report about the termination of former DCS spokesmen James Wide. Wide had alleged retaliation, racial discrimination and other issues at DCS. Mr. Wide has since reached a confidential settlement with the state. Kudos to Kara Kenney for her diligent reporting on the harassment of state employees. Keep up the good work Kara!

You go girl!


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