EUGENE, Ore. (CN) – An administrative law judge claims in Federal Court that she was fired after complaining that a former presiding judge had left sexual and demeaning voicemail messages at work.
I. Terri Myzak sued 12 people: the five members of the Workers’ Compensation Board and seven officers and administrators.
Defendants do not include the former presiding Administrative Law Judge Douglas Wayne Daughtry. Myzak claims that on June 30, 2009, Daughtry “left a voicemail message for plaintiff at work.”
The complaint continues: “In the voicemail, Daughtry purported to give plaintiff a ‘performance appraisal’ of her life. Daughtry stated that plaintiff was a ‘lying, deceitful, mean-spirited, back-stabbing bitch.’ Daughtry stated he was glad plaintiff and another individual were ‘fucking each other’ because that was going to save two other people from being miserable. Later that day, Daughtry left a second voicemail for plaintiff at work saying this was his ‘final missive,’ that ‘**** never fucked a cheerleader. You never were a cheerleader.’ Daughtry also showed up unannounced at plaintiff’s workplace, demanding to meet with [defendant] ALJ [Holly] Somers and spewing offensive remarks about plaintiff.”
Myzak claims that when she complained that Daughtry had sexually harassed and stalked her at work, her superiors began an investigation “aimed at creating or reverse-engineering one or more pretextual bases” to fire her.
Myzak says she was placed on administrative leave in November 2009, and was fired in March 2010. She says she was fired was in retaliation for her protected speech.
According to the complaint, Myzak began working for the commission in 1987, as a temporary referee, and became a regular referee – now known as an administrative law judge – in late 1988.
Myzak claims she spent her career speaking out on issues involving the “integrity of workers’ compensation proceedings,” including “misconduct, mismanagement, gross waste of funds, abuses of authority, and violations of law and regulations by the Board, Board Chairperson, presiding Administrative Law Judge, and others.”
Among other things, Myzak says she opposed the Workers’ Compensation Board’s policy on recusals for administrative law judges and its interference with judges’ ability to make impartial decisions.
Myzak says she communicated with state legislators about this interference, which in one instance led to an Oregon House subcommittee hearing about whether administrative law judges should be required to disclose their reasons to recuse themselves.
Myzak demands $3 million for lost wages, front pay, pain and suffering and damage to her career and reputation.
She is represented by Jon Weiner, with the Harris Law Firm, of Hillsboro.