Iowa Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert is defending herself against allegations that she tried to influence administrative law judges who decide unemployment compensation cases to side with employers rather than employees.
In a letter to the US Department of Labor, Wahlert says State Senator Bill Dotzler, who is making the accusations: “Contends that I am interfering in the independence of the ALJ`s’ and that he has clear evidence, however the evidence has not been provided.”
As for allegations that Wahlert created a hostile work environment, she writes: “The state has specific guidelines for employees to file a hostile work environment complaint, of which I have received none.”
But one former employee, who asked that we shield his identity because he now works for a different state agency, says there have been complaints.
“An individual filed a grievance about violence in the workplace. Being harassed. Sexually harassed, and verbally abused,” our source said. “I’ve seen some of my friends that work there break down and cry. I’ve seen that people are tortured as far as getting yelled at. Screamed at. Chased into rooms. And just…just mentally abused.”
Iowa Workforce Development is also defending itself against accusations that it provided tips for employers on how to avoid claims. A spokeswoman points out the agency also provides similar tips for employees.