State finds no discrimination of National Guard members

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(Host)  A state investigation found no evidence that officials at the state’s prison in Springfield discriminated against members of the National Guard who were working there.  

VPR’s Nina Keck has more.

(Keck) Rob Hofmann, secretary of the Agency of Human Services, says that when he initially heard allegations that temporary employees at the prison were not being promoted and were being treated unfairly because of their military obligations, he was concerned and called for an investigation. But he says after reviewing the 120-page report, he believes the allegations are unfounded.

(Hoffman) "As I review it I see no substantiation of any systemic discrimination, as was alleged.  Nonetheless, the rules governing this issue are pretty complicated so I’ve asked the attorney general’s office to review the report so that we can be sure we’re meeting the letter of the law as well as the spirit of the law."

(Keck) One of the Guard members has filed a lawsuit against the state and four others have filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Labor.   Several of them have criticized the fact that the state investigated itself in this matter.   But Hofmann stands behind the findings.  

(Hofmann) "This report was done outside the Department of Corrections and done by a former member of the National Guard.  If that’s not sufficient, there’s one case that’s being litigated and will be responded to by the attorney general’s office on behalf of the state.  And there’s also the ability to work through the federal government as they handle and we respond to concerns about treatment of Guard members."

(Keck) Hofmann says the report cannot be made public because it’s a personnel matter. 

For VPR News, I’m Nina Keck.


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