Fox News reports that Karen Johnson - the director of Washington State's Office of Equity - was just fired by Gov. Jay Inslee (D).
The firing follows allegations that Johnson harbored a hostile work environment and even engaged in racism.
Washington's Office of Equity was created in 2020. It is based on the premise that "inequities based on race, ethnicity, gender, and other characteristics continue to be deep, pervasive, and persistent, and they come at a great economic and social cost. The office looks to remedy this situation.
Following the creation of the office, Johnson was selected as its first director.
The state hired the MFR Law Group PLLC to independently investigate allegations leveled against Johnson. The group interviewed several current and former employees about Johnson.
One of those employees told investigators that Johnson once said, "This may take some time for me because I generally distrust Mexican people. Mexican people have the option of being White when it is convenient for them."
Another employee claimed that, with regard to Hispanic co-workers, Johnson had an "us versus them" mentality.
Yet another employee claimed that Johnson attacked him or her because of his or her weight. Johnson is alleged to have said, "You want to be married and have a family, don’t you? If so, you have to take care of you."
These are just some of the allegations that have been made against Johnson, and it does not appear that Johnson has denied any of them.
Johnson is arguing that this is not the reason why she was fired. In fact, Johnson has even gone so far as to claim that "fired" does not correctly describe what has happened to her. Yet, at the same time, she admits that she did not resign.
Rather, Johnson's office claims that her termination is the result of "high vacancy rates, high employee turnover, and budgetary concerns,” as well as a “lack of stability.”
Johnson put out a statement, saying:
I am absolutely blessed that I got to do this job, and I stand by what I did, and I stand by the community that I was trying to help in my tenure at the Office of Equity. I would hope that [Gov. Jay Inslee] continues to provide employees across the state the opportunities that they deserve and continue the work of accountability to make everyone’s lives better.
It turns out that, following the investigation, Johnson was given - by Mike Faulk, the Press Secretary for Inslee's office - the opportunity to resign or to be fired.
Johnson, despite what she claims, clearly chose the latter.