Oregon Corrections Department faces $1M civil rights lawsuit

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State corrections officials did not respond for comment

generic file Oregon State Penitentiary sign, department of corrections

FILE – This Nov. 18, 2011 file photo shows the Oregon State Penitentiary sign, at the Oregon State Penitentiary, in Salem, Ore. Seventy-nine inmates died in Oregon prisons in the past two years, and the Department of Corrections said nothing to the public about all but one of them. The Statesman Journal compiled the information […]

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A former employee is suing the Oregon Department of Corrections for almost $1 million.

The Statesman Journal reported Wednesday that Gary Sims says the department’s diversity office unlawfully retaliated against him for aiding employees with discrimination complaints.

Sims’ lawsuit filed in circuit court Aug. 8 says he stopped working with the department in November 2017 after the agency eliminated his position and failed to offer an alternative job.

The lawsuit says he was promoted to diversity and inclusion administrator in 2013, but his superiors became less enthusiastic over time and neglected workplace discrimination concerns.

The complaint by Sims, who is black, says a superior reprimanded him in 2017 and his office was closed over reported budget concerns.

State corrections officials did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.

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