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Former Oklahoma health employee says he was fired for speaking up against discrimination

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Two months after he reported incidents of discrimination to his boss at the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Matthew Terry was told his position had been eliminated.

Video Transcript

AMBER HURST: His job was to investigate and determine whether or not discrimination existed. I believe he did all of the right things.

- A now former State Department of Health employee filing suit, claiming he lost his job simply for doing it.

AMBER HURST: There were several employees that came to him and reported that they were being discriminated against because they have either taken FMLA leave or sought FMLA leave or because they needed accommodations for-- for a disability, some kind of medical condition.

- 12 pages of court documents detailing what Matthew Terry's lawyer calls retaliatory termination after he spoke up about violations against the Family Medical Leave Act or FMLA. According to the lawsuit, the trouble started in 2018 with the hire of a new HR director who routinely made comments such as, quote, "I won't hire disabled veterans," and that disabled veterans were, quote, "not qualified to clean toilets."

AMBER HURST: Mr. Terry found that she wanted to make this more difficult.

- Amber Hurst, who is representing Terry in the case, says he reported his findings directly to the head of office accountability systems, but--

AMBER HURST: Finding discrimination, he was told subsequently to-- as he alleges in the complaint, to modify that report in order to find that discrimination did not [? happen-- ?] did not happen. He refused to do so.

- According to court documents, after refusing to, quote, "modify his conclusion that discrimination and other violations had occurred," "Mr. Terry was [? involuntary ?] terminated," saying his "job position had been eliminated."

AMBER HURST: You know, this is not a he said, she said case. There are multiple witnesses that have facts that will verify and [? corroborate ?] Mr. Terry's version of events. Employees should be protected from-- from discrimination.