AWARE Inc. Employee and a Former Employee File Discrimination Charges Against Shelter

One AWARE Inc. employee and a former employee have filed discrimination charges against the domestic violence shelter with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Detroit.

Former family advocate, Danielle Johnson, who was fired in March, and Frances Keane, who worked as shelter manager until she went on stress leave in June, allege the past domestic violence program coordinator made sexual or derogatory remarks to them. Keane, who is Irish, additionally claims she was mocked for her accent.

Because they complained about these issues, they were demoted, disciplined or fired in retaliation, the women say.

“There was no discrimination.”

She said she is confident the process will exonerate AWARE, which provides services to victims of domestic or sexual violence.

Both women, hired by AWARE in 2006, filed their complaints on Sept. 15.

It takes months for the EEOC to investigate a charge, which any worker can file, according to information posted on the agency Web site.

If the agency finds a violation of the law, the office will try to reach a voluntary settlement with the employer. If a settlement is not possible, the office legal staff will decide whether the agency should file a lawsuit. The EEOC also may dismiss a charge without investigation if it appears to have little chance of success, according to the agency.

Keane, 47, said the coordinator, LaDonna Glenn, who no longer works for AWARE, would make fun of the way Keane speaks and talk about her physical appearance.

Johnson, who was fired in March for insubordination, said Glenn, made comments about her breasts and butt. “I have asked her to stop to no avail,” Johnson wrote.

Keane said the stress of her job and the hostility of the environment forced her to stop working. Her hair fell out and she lost weight, she said. She is seeing a doctor and has filed for workers compensation, she said.

In a typed notice signed by Filip, Keane was accused of taking a confidential document or documents wrongfully away from the AWARE premise. She also did not ensure her staff got the training they needed, according to another document, provided to the Citizen Patriot by Keane. Keane said she did not start getting such letters until she made complaints.

Glenn lost her job as domestic violence program coordinator in May after she was convicted of felonious assault in Oakland County. She was accused of threatening her husband with a hammer.