Thursday, July 24, 2008

Senator Roach disciplined for Inappropriate Behavior towards Employees

State Senator Pam Roach was disciplined in for creating a hostile work environment.

Senate Republican leaders sent a letter to Roach in March of 2008 stating that she has violated the Senate's prohibition on creating an "intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment." All contact with caucus staff must be between Roach's legislative assistant and staff. Roach is not allowed to contact caucus staff by "phone, e-mail, or though any other means." Senate leadership determined that the reprimand is necessary to prevent senate staff members from quiting their jobs.

This is the third time Senator Roach has been disciplined by her caucus. A March 20, 2008 Tacoma News Tribune article documents years of abusive behavior including brandishing a handgun, illegally obtaining employee e-mails and creating a hostile work environment for aides and caucus staff. Two aides quit in 2003.

In 1999, Roach received a letter about violating workplace respect policies and in 2003 she was disciplined by a Senate committee for attempting to have an aide fired from another job in the Senate and for forcing a confrontation with an aide in front of several reporters. She was asked to seek counseling after more than 5 years of complaints. One former employee later received $2,500 from the Senate for counseling.

Employees have a right to work in an environment that is free of harassment, threats, and the brandishing of weapons.

Senate Republican leaders Hewitt, Schoesler, Parlette and Brandland have been silent, saying they will not comment publicly on a personnel matter.

Northwest Cable News:
Tacoma News Tribune:

The Olympian:

photo courtesy of WA State Senate

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