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Kivela asks Governor Snyder to fix 'toxic' environment at Marquette DHHS office


MARQUETTE, MI--   State Representative John Kivela has stepped in to address a persistent hostile working environment at the Marquette Department of Health and Human Services office. 

At a press conference at the Marquette Courthouse Thursday Kivela said he’s met with officials and employees in Marquette and Lansing since last summer to address continuing complaints of harassment, bullying, and intimidation of employees by managers.

“There was a report to me of some sexual advances on an employee and I guess I found that the most egregious,” he said. “But there were cases of intimidation, cases of people out on stress leave where they’re being threatened that their clients weren’t going to be assigned to other caseworkers while they were gone, and so that would have to weigh on their conscience.”

Kivela confirmed that one Marquette DHHS employee attempted suicide—allegedly because of the stress—and he receives calls from employees afraid to give their names for fear of repercussions.

He’s asking Governor Rick Snyder to take whatever action is necessary to create a proper and safe environment at the office. 

“It’s clear now that I can’t do this alone, and that’s why I’m calling on the governor to step in and do what is right and necessary. The toxic atmosphere in the Marquette DHHS office needs to end now, and I will continue working with employees and the governor to see that it does,” he said.

Last July employees picketed the DHHS office to protest poor treatment by management.

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