Montana FWP Ordered To Pay $20K Over Retaliation

June 26, 2013

A hearings officer for the Montana Human Rights Bureau has ordered the state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks to pay $20,000 to a Kalispell employee for retaliating against him after he questioned his punishment for comments made during an inadvertent phone call.

The Billings Gazette reported the case involving former Aquatic Invasive Species supervisor John Wachsmuth began in June 2011 when he bumped his cellphone while kayaking, causing it to accidentally call a co-worker.

The co-worker’s voicemail recorded the conversation he was having. Much of it was unintelligible except for one part in which Wachsmuth said: “We’re having an (expletive) hard time with these women.” The comment referred to that co-worker.

She filed a complaint and Wachsmuth was pulled out of a leadership conference, reassigned and later suspended for three days.

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