Metairie - Jefferson Parish Personnel Board Hearing Officer Theordore Nass dismissed a harassment complaint by Jefferson Parish employee Terence Lee against five other parish employees whom Lee claimed were "racially offensive."
The harassment charges by Lee against Jefferson Parish employees Michael Stamps, Glenn Miller, Michael Chauvin, Billie Hartline and Randolph Doucet were dropped when Nass opined, "I do not find a violation of the Jefferson Parish Workplace Harassment Policy. No harassment was intended and in fact, none occurred."
The decision was rendered on Tuesday, January 13, 2009. The matter was heard on five separate days with the final hearing on November 15, 2008. Added Nass, "I find as a matter of fact that these items were intended to be humorous in nature that they were not intended to harm or harass anyone. The individual who complained took pictures of the items some 18 months prior to making his first complaint and then only after he was disciplined."
On November 7, 2007, Lee complained that a noose, a whipping post, a bullwhip and a dartboard with an image of an African American pinned to the bull's eye found inside the workplace were intended to intimidate him and make him fearful to report to work. According to the hearing officer the alleged "noose" never existed. According to Nass, "The rope was looped as a lariat of the kind used to rope cattle."
The hearing officer did find that the objects were "inappropriate to workplace environment especially the darts for the dart board". He decided that those under investigation did violate the Jefferson Parish Regulations of Conduct and he recommended a 15-day suspension for the members.
According to attorney Scott McQuaig, who represented the parish employees, "This is the outcome we anticipated. These employees had no intention of intimidating anyone. They used the materials referenced by Mr. Lee as practical jokes. I am glad the hearing officer could determine clearly that no harm was intended."