Librarian Accused of Fraud Claims Ethnic Discrimination
Sandra Chavez, a Laingsburg librarian accused of falsifying the hours she worked, recently filed a countersuit claiming the city discriminated against her based her ethnic heritage. Her allegations also included violation of the state’s whistleblower protection act.
According to Chavez, the city launched an investigation into her work hours because she reported discrimination to city officials. She believes the accusations against her are a direct result of her whistleblowing actions.
Chavez is seeking more than $25,000 in damages, and claims she has suffered mental anguish and that her professional reputation has been damaged as a result of the claims against her.
Librarian Accused of Falsifying Time Sheets
According to police, Chavez filled out time sheets claiming to have worked on days she was not in the building, and that she damaged a hidden camera that was put in place to record her attendance. She is also accused of stealing the memory card from that camera. The lawsuit claims evidence was gathered against Chavez using the camera, as well as from her social media posts.
Chavez responded with a lawsuit of her own against the city after she was arraigned in mid-December on charges of false pretenses, malicious destruction of fire or police property, and larceny in a building.
Her suit claims that it was her report of discrimination based on age and ethnicity that led to the investigation into her hours worked. In addition to discrimination and violation of whistleblower protections, Chavez also claims wrongful retaliation, abuse of the investigative process, and malicious prosecution.
Her lawsuit also points to other punitive actions she faced during the entirety of her employment at the library, including suspension without pay and being required to submit time records, despite being a salaried employee.
Library Board and Community Members Support Chavez
Though city officials and library board members claim Chavez had not reported any discrimination to them, two board members did say she had called her working conditions “tense” and one stated that the legal action against her was “not right, she does not need to go to jail.”
The library board and several library patrons have publicly stated their support for Chavez.
Issues related to problems in the workplace, including those having to do with time sheets, discrimination, and reporting problems, can make for a very tense situation. Often, as they did here, they escalate into full-blown legal action.
If you have questions about discrimination in the workplace, or you believe you are a victim of retaliation, contact Heavens Law at 888.897.5377 to discuss your problem.