A former Port of Anacortes employee has filed charges of retaliation and discrimination with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against the Port and Port Commission President Bob Eberle.
In a news release, Leah Hines and her attorney Reid Meyers outlined a series of events that followed the forced ouster of Port Director Bob Hyde late last year. Hines, who had been hired by Hyde, became concerned about keeping her job because of her association with Hyde.
At one point Hines reported she had received “damaging information” and contacted Port Commission President Bob Eberle. The statement from Hines and her attorney said, “Upon being confronted, Eberle threatened Hines, physically touched her in a threatening manner and told her to keep quiet about what she knew. Hines became afraid for her position and afraid for her person.”
Hines said what followed was five months of retaliation by Eberle and Port interim Director John Hachey and “hostile working conditions with Port employees.” Then, shortly before a new Director of the Port, Dan Worra, was to take over, she was notified that her job had been eliminated.
The statement said, “Hines immediately called Worra, an acquaintance , and informed him of her termination. Worra claimed he knew nothing about her termination and expressed concern that such a major action had taken place on the eve of his employment without his knowledge or consent.”
Hines and Meyers said they made numerous attempts, “to work with representatives of the Port, hoping to allow them the opportunity to reconcile the issues she had outlined and make changes under the new direction of Worra. Her attempts were ignored.”
Hines filed charges of discrimination and retaliation with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the Port and Eberle for their handling of these matters and their treatment of her. “It’s time Commissioner Eberle and the Port is held accountable for their actions and that the public know what really goes on within that organization” said Hines on Monday.
“I have never seen a case where a Board President has overextended his authority like this and personally threatened an employee”, said Reid Meyers, Hines’ attorney. “No public official is untouchable. This matter has to be fully investigated by appropriate authorities.” Meyers concluded.