Days ago, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was narrowly defeated in a bruising bid for re-election. But the two-term governor’s battles are not over, as a former state employee alleges in a filed lawsuit that she was wrongfully terminated in retaliation for speaking out against sexual harassment.
The former state Department of Children and Families civil service employee and current Milwaukee County Board supervisor also claims she was fired for refusing to provide false data and for speaking out against a Walker political ally.
Deanna Alexander says in her suit filed in U.S. District Court that she was told to provide false data showing that the state had complied with a court order. Alexander was a section chief in the Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services.
Her former supervisor said in a statement filed with the lawsuit that Alexander was an “excellent hire and the best person for that position.” Robin Joseph was forced out of her supervisory position earlier this year, she says, because she advised Alexander to hire an employment law attorney and because she prevented the state agency from firing Alexander.
The defendants in the lawsuit are the Department of Children and Families, Gov. Walker, DCF Deputy Secretary Lisa Marks, legal counsel Mary Burke and former Milwaukee County Board member Steve Taylor. Alexander accuses them of conspiring to wrongfully remove her from her job.
She says in the suit that she found inaccurate data about case management in a report about Milwaukee’s child welfare system. When she reported the inaccuracies, she says she was told by Burke to officially report that the data was accurate. Joseph supports the contention in the suit.
The Wisconsin State Journal reports that when Alexander won re-election to the Milwaukee County Board, she helped defeat Taylor by endorsing his opponent in an open letter in which she accused Taylor of sexual harassment while working for the county.
Alexander’s lawsuit was filed days before the Tuesday night culmination of Walker’s grueling re-election campaign. While we do not know what effect, if any, the lawsuit had on the results, we do know that these matters will eventually be resolved in negotiations or in court.
If you have been wrongfully discharged or suffered workplace retaliation for refusing to do something illegal, contact an employment law attorney to help you fight for your career, reputation and rights.