Dickinson employee charges McKenzie County with discrimination
A Dickinson city employee charged McKenzie County with discrimination in 2015, a charge that is still being reviewed.
Walter Hadley, Dickinson's city's planning director, contacted the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in Minneapolis and filed a discrimination charge against the county on June 22, 2015, according to a redacted copy of the Department of Labor and Human Rights' determination. Hadley alleged that McKenzie County had discriminated against him "based on his sex and/or age, and retaliated against, based on his participation in a protected activity."
The charge was then transferred to the North Dakota Department of Labor and Human Rights, which is a Fair Employment Practices Agency for investigation, according to the determination.
The Department of Labor and Human Rights determined that the department was "unable to conclude that a violation of applicable statutes had occurred," in the determination dated Nov. 9, 2016.
"Hadley fails to establish a prima facie case under Title VII [of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended] or the NDHRA; therefore, his complaint must be dismissed," according to the determination.
Hadley said that he was discriminated against for being a 51-year-old male, according to the determination.
"I [The Charging Party] was hired by the above named Respondent (McKenzie County) on May 1, 2012. During my employment I was treated differently and less-favorably because of my sex/Male and age/51 when I was subjected to harassment and denied raises which were afforded to other employees outside my protected classes. I complained to the Respondent about my treatment, but nothing was done to address my concerns. I was constructively discharged on May 1, 2015," the determination said.
Hadley has 90 days from the date of the letter to file a civil action in state court and the right to request an EEOC review of the action within 15 days of receiving the determination, according to the determination.
Hadley refrained from commenting on the claim noting that it is not yet complete.
"I have officially requested that EEOC do a review, and they were the agency that saw merit and forwarded on to the state to review on their behalf in the first place," Hadley said in an email to the Press.
Though the state's investigation is complete, they allegedly only interviewed two commissioners who were part of the filing — though there were 15 other people who were provided to the state that were not contacted, he said in the email.
The determination stated that Hadley was hired by McKenzie County as the planning and zoning director on May 1, 2012. On April 10, 2015 he informed McKenzie County that he would be resigning from his position. On May 1, 2015 he signed the McKenzie County Voluntary Termination Packet Employee Information Check List, which said he had voluntarily terminated his employment, and he wrote that the reason he left was because of the work environment, according to the determination.
His resignation was considered effective on May 1, 2015. He submitted his Charge of Discrimination — with an amended date of Aug. 20, 2015.
He did not identify the other employees nor how they were treated differently and was given a raise on the first day of each year of his employment, according to the report.
The three McKenzie County commissioners who were in office at the time of Hadley's resignation did not return requests for comment at the time of publication.
Hadley began working for the city of Dickinson on May 4, 2015.
City Administrator Shawn Kessel said that Hadley did make him aware of some of the issues that were going on in McKenzie County and was aware of the discrimination charge.