UPDATE | City could be sued after EEO Director is fired

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News 12 First at Five/ Tuesday, March 31, 2015

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The City of Augusta could be hit with a lawsuit. News 12 learning this just one day after the EEO Director is fired.

A day after the fall out Former Augusta EEO Director Jacqueline Humphrey isn't the only one wondering why she fired. So, is Commissioner Marion Williams.

"We have never met with her. We have never had a meeting with her to say she was doing good or bad and then they turn around and fire this lady for that? I don't mind firing people for not doing their job, but I think she did a good job," Williams told News 12.

Earlier Tuesday City Administrator Janice Allen Jackson told News 12 she was given no real reason why commissioners gave Humphrey the boot.

"I got no doubt that she is going to sue and I got no doubt that she is going to win her suit," Williams said.

An action Humphrey tells me she's considering.

"There's serious concern as to the process that has taken place," Jacqueline Humphrey told News 12.

One example -- she says -- when a Marshall escorted her out of the building Monday. And on top of that -- she says she got no official notice she was being fired. We had to tell her. And today -- she says still no notice -- still no documentation that she ever did a bad job.

"There's evaluation processes in order to so called be able to be the fair opportunity in performance," she said.

"How many evaluations were done on you," asked News 12's Jorge Lopez.

"None," she answered.

"And how long have you been here," asked Lopez.

"5 years," she said.

5 years worth of work she believes was lost in an hour and half closed door meeting.

The city gave us a copy of Humphrey's termination's letter. In it you can find the day she was fired, who fired her, and how she can appeal- what's missing in the termination letter? The reason for termination.



Monday, March 30, 2015

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The investigation involving HR Director Tanika Bryant and Interim City Administrator Tameka Allen about complaints against them in an anonymous letter have wrapped up, according to City Administrator Janice Jackson.

The Augusta Commission confirms the following: Bryant resigned Monday morning, Equal Employment Opportunity Director Jacqueline Humpris has been fired, and that Michelle Elam is now the interim HR Director.

No confirmation has been made about action against Allen. The city held a special legal meeting early Monday afternoon in regards to the investigation.

In January, Augusta Commissioners received an anonymous letter stating that Bryant used intimidation tactics with employees to a point that brought some employees to tears.

The complaint also stated that Allen would relay problems HR employees had and "scold them" for it.



Monday, Jan. 26, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- It's the department where employees with the City of Augusta are supposed to report problems with their workplace, But someone who admits to being on the outside looking in says the human resources department has problems of it's own.

In a letter that person accuses HR Director Tanika Bryant of acting like a tyrant and using intimidation to keep her employees in line. News 12's Jorge Lopez talked with Bryant and City Administrator Janice Allen Jackson about the claims.

They didn't put their name down, but the message in an anonymous letter was loud and clear.

"I read it twice to make sure I understood exactly what I was seeing. First thought is we need to take allegations of this nature seriously," said Augusta City Administrator Janice Allen Jackson.

All 10 commissioners and Jackson got the letter dated January 5th. In it, claims HR Director Tanika Bryant intimidated and oppressed employees. Sometimes even, to the point of tears.

"I'm very dishearten by it because certainly that's not the type of environment we have here," Bryant told News 12.

"Working in this HR Department is like walking on egg shells everyday," the letter stated, a point Bryant is not totally denying.

"Are there obstacles as far as the manual process that causes employ to be on egg shells...yes, because they are working extremely hard," Bryant told News 12.

Tameka Allen who was interim city administrator was also named for claims she told Bryant who was complaining and what they were complaining about.

"I'm not going to say that anybody particularly told falsehoods, but I will say that I did not share any information that violated anyone's trust," Allen told News 12.

"Will they be able to continue in their role as it is now while you guys are investigating or determining the validity of that letter," News 12's Jorge Lopez asked Augusta's City Administrator.

"I really can't speak to that right now. It is a personal matter, so I can't speak to any specifics action at this time," City Administrator Janice Allen Jackson said.



Monday, Jan. 26, 2015

AUGUSTA (WRDW) -- A concerned citizen and a person claiming to be an employee of Augusta-Richmond County says something needs to be done about working conditions inside Augusta's Human Resources Department.

News 12 obtained a copy of a letter saying current Director, Tanika Bryant, has created a hostile work environment. The writer, who does not provide their name, claims Bryant acts like a tyrant and leads by intimidation.

The letter calls on Commissioners and new City Administrator Janice Allen Jackson to discuss Bryant's behavior and the concerns of the people working for her.

The writer says some employees took their concerns to former Interim City Administrator Tameka Allen. The writer says Allen shared those employees' concerns with Bryant. The writer said doing that angered Bryant, who held a meeting with employees to talk about the allegations against her.

News 12 reached out to Bryant for comment. She denies the writer's claims. We also talked to Tameka Allen about the letter. She confirms she did talk to Bryant about the employees' concerns, but never named any of the employees who filed complaints.

We spoke with City Administrator Jackson who says she and all ten Commissioners received the letter. She says she is taking the allegations very seriously and will investigate further. When asked if Tameka Allen would be put on leave or if Bryant will still run the HR Department, Allen said no comment.

News 12's Jorge Lopez is working to gather more information and pass it along as it's available.