Following Logan Isaac’s September 2016 federal complaint, a compliance officer with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) interviewed the Duke University Assistant Vice President for Harassment and Discrimination Compliance, among other managerial employees. The interview was conducted on campus December 8, 2016. Here is a link to the OFCCP interview notes which we received through a Freedom of Information Act request. Some commentary is provided below the break which may provide some context as to why this interview is significant.
The Assistant Vice President’s interview gives us some interesting facts, even if some may be a case of poor communication, like in question 9, where another manager apparently felt Isaac thought there needed to be “more activities focused on veterans.” Isaac maintains he was concerned about the quality of activities rather than the quantity.
In question 10, as well, the VP forgets that Isaac told her on multiple occasions that Duke lacks a veteran center.
In question 13, the VP acknowledges that Isaac’s initial complaint concerned “breach of confidentiality” and the standard of Duke’s own policy uses the phrase “appropriate degree of privacy and discretion.”
Of particular concern is question 11, when the VP suggests that there has been at least one other veteran who filed a complaint. Unless the question was worded poorly and she is referencing the complaint under investigation.
Question 12 is noteworthy for two reasons. First, Isaac can demonstrate that he did in fact discuss “mental anguish” with the VP in September 2016, when his complaint was still active. Second, they are incorrect to state that Isaac “was hired before [she] started the investigation.”
On September 26, 2016, the VP got an email from Isaac stating
I spoke with PAS today, but they do not see temporary employees. Thank you for the referral nonetheless.
The University’s Personal Assistance Service (PAC) is made up of “licensed professionals [who] offer assessment, short-term counseling…” and other services. Isaac was emailed the VP because she referred him to PAC over the phone on September 21, 2016. He disclosed to her that he was suffering mental anguish by having to return to a hostile workplace, at which the pattern of bias, discrimination, and harassment was ongoing and pervasive. The VP referred Isaac to PAC believing that he could receive free counseling, but he learned that PAC services are not made available to contract employees like myself. Isaac intended the email as a professional courtesy.
In the same question (q.12), the VP claims the investigation only began after Isaac was “hired.” This is false, and reflects either poor memory or false statements to a federal investigator.
The VP interviewed Isaac in her office in Smith Warehouse, of which she has the only record, on June 16, 2016. That was eight days after Isaac initially alerted the Chief Diversity Officer and another OIE representative. Isaac received an email from a hiring manager on July 21st. The investigation began a full 35 days before Isaac was offered a contract. When he finally was hired, the Registrar made the odd and uncharacteristic point of CCing her boss, an Academic Dean, making it seem like it was a response to something for which the dean had a professional interest, like a complaint from OIE. The same action was not taken when Isaac was offered a Spring 2016 contract for a similar position.
Section III of the OFCCP interview is alarming because of the VP’s total lack of response. The OFCCP field office has refused to explain why such important interview questions were either not asked or were allowed to go unanswered in an interview with a top official in what was supposed to be an investigation.
It may be a transcription error, as the other interviews usually are sure to include “NA” if the respondent felt a question was outside their purview. But EEO/Affirmative Action is the exact set of responsibilities for which this VP is professionally responsible. They either did not give any responses (a practice known as “stonewalling“), or they are derelict in the duties of their current position.
Other OFCCP interviews can be found here.