A disabled elderly government employee claims she’s complained for years about relentless harassment from co-workers over her support for President Trump, and nothing happened.
But when 69-year-old Wanda Wooten posted pictures of the president and his family in her work station at the U.S. Geological Survey, she was promptly investigated for alleged violations of the Hatch Act, a federal law that prohibits campaign material in the workplace, The Daily Caller reports.
Wooten said she came to work one day in late February this year to find a note from her supervisor, who removed a picture of President Trump and two of first lady Melania Trump and chided her for breaking the rules.
“Wanda, The Hatch Act specifically prohibits any political campaigning, etc on Federal sites,” it read. “As President Trump has an active re-election campaign ongoing, these images violate the Hatch Act so I removed them. Mike Magyar.”
Wooten complained to Magyar that the Hatch Act exempts official portraits like the ones she put up, but he accused her of creating a “hostile work environment” and referred the alleged Hatch Act violation to the U.S Office of Special Counsel.
An attorney with the office contacted Wooten two months later to inform her the investigation had concluded and she was found guilty. The letter stated a warning was included in her file but no disciplinary action would result.
The OSC allowed Wooten to post one picture of Trump, under special circumstances.
“Because you displayed multiple photographs of the First Lady and President Trump, two of which were altered by the addition of ‘I Voted’ stickers, OSC notified you on March 7, 2019 that you were in violation of the Hatch Act,” Ana Galindo-Marrone, chief of the OSC’s Hatch Act unit, wrote to Wooten.
“OSC then advised that you could come into compliance with the law by removing all images except for one official photograph of President Trump, provided the ‘I Votes’ sticker was removed. OSC confirmed on March 8, 2019, that you removed the stickers and photographs at issue.”
The swift investigation was a stark contrast to the virtually nonexistent response Wooten received from more than a year of complaints about constant harassment at her work by co-workers who didn’t like her personal and political beliefs.
She first complained to her immediate supervisor, Shonta Osborne in October 2017 after someone opened her drink in the work fridge and left her a note that read “eat shit and die.” The same thing happened again in March 2018, when her fruit container was opened and a note left that read “You fucking idiot,” according to documents reviewed by The Daily Caller.
Other notes appeared in her cubicle and took issue with a light she left on at her desk because her disability made it difficult to operate.
“I have gone many times to my supervisor, to her supervisor, and to (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) and nothing – absolutely nothing has been done on my behalf concerning the harassment I am forced to endure from my fellow employees,” Wooten wrote to Deputy Secrtary David Bernhardt in October 2018.
“I have had messages on my cubicle, on my lunch (I don’t put my lunch in our refrigerator now because I don’t know if someone has spit in it) my personal belongings stolen.”
More antics continued this year, when a fact sheet from the Heritage Foundation and picture of Trump were repeatedly removed from her cubicle. When Magyar refused to do anything about the thefts, she filed a complaint with USGS human resources in April, prompting the first official response to her numerous complaints.
In a letter dated April 24, 2019, the USGS regional director’s office sent a letter notifying Wooten that U.S. Postal Service investigator Richard Norcross was assigned to her case as an independent investigator – a year and a half after she first complained about the workplace harassment.
Norcross declined The Daily Caller’s request for about Wooten’s situation, as did Mike Magyar.