State Politics

Idaho Fish & Game accused of sexual discrimination, retaliation

A former Idaho Fish and Game employee alleges during the course of her employment she was consistently subject to sexual discrimination, a hostile work environment and retaliation.

Logo of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Danielle Dorsch says she notified Fish and Game’s human resources department in July 2015 of the discrimination and advised she had audio recordings to substantiate her complaints, according to the complaint filed in federal court on Oct. 12.

Less than one month after contacting human resources, Fish and Game reportedly advised Dorsch she could not record conversations and if she continued to do so, she would be fired.

Later that year, in October 2015, Dorsch received a poor performance review, in part due to her attempt to document and file complaints about sexual discrimination and a hostile work environment, she claims.

Fish and Game in the following months then implemented an agency-wide policy prohibiting employees from recording without the consent of all parties. A copy of the policy provided to the Statesman bears a revision date of December 2015.

Dorsch left the agency in March 2016; the complaint does not state if she resigned or was terminated.

Prior to filing the lawsuit, Dorsch filed complaints with Idaho Human Rights Commission and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Both commissions issued her a notice of right to sue, which is required before a lawsuit alleging civil rights violations can be filed in federal court.

The four employees she accuses of discriminating and retaliating against her are still employed with Fish and Game, according to the State Controller’s state employees database.

Dorsch seeks damages of not less than $100,000.

Fish and Game spokesman Mike Keckler said the agency would not comment on the case at this time.

Dorsch’s complaint is the latest in string of claims and lawsuits filed against state agencies by current or former employees.

In September, a former State Controller’s Office employee, Lourdes Matsumoto, filed a claim alleging a supervisor sexually and racially harassed her and discriminated against her.

A former Idaho Department of Labor employee, James Cryer, filed a whistleblower lawsuit in December alleging personnel and employment law abuses and government waste.

In August, an Ada County jury awarded Idaho State Police Detective Brandon Eller $1.5 million in a whistleblower case.

Cynthia Sewell: 208-377-6428, @CynthiaSewell