An openly gay employee of the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) in Orland Park, Illinois, has filed a whistleblower complaint against the agency, stating that his superiors and colleagues created a hostile work environment due to his sexual orientation. ODAR is a division of the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Donald C. Terry, Jr., a senior case technician for the agency, says that he was threatened and physically assaulted, and that his superiors retaliated against him after he complained. It began, Terry said, with inappropriate “locker room” jokes, and later a fellow employee Terry to stop flaunting his sexuality. Terry also says an armed security guard confronted him while he was using the restroom. When he went to complain, his superiors allegedly told him he was being “oversensitive.”
According to Terry, his superior retaliated against him by giving him an increased workload and more difficult assignments. These claims are similar to those of other SAA whistleblowers, who say they experienced the same type of retaliation after issuing their complaints.
After the SAA dismissed his original claims, Terry filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) office. However, he later discharged that complaint, saying that he didn’t feel like it was worth dealing with the retaliation he was experiencing at work. He has now taken his claims to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
For businesses, organizations and government agencies alike, it’s important to have cohesive anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies in place to avoid issues like those taking place at this ODOR office. To learn more about how you can protect your organization, consult a respected Dallas attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers.