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Wildlife biologist sues DLNR-DFW for discrimination

A DISCRIMINATION lawsuit was filed by a wildlife biologist against the Department of Lands and Natural Resources-Division of Fish and Wildlife and its officials in federal court.

 Dr. Anne M. Orlando accused DLNR, DFW, DLNR Secretary Anthony Benavente, DFW Director Manuel Pangelinan, and former DFW acting director Mike Tenorio of discriminating against her due to her pregnancy.

Represented by attorney Rene C. Holmes, Orlando said the defendants constructively terminated her by failing to pay her salary, wages and or/leave time and benefits.

In her lawsuit, Orlando claimed violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: discrimination, retaliation, and breach of contract.

 Orlando is asking for a judgment ordering the defendants to pay her earned and unpaid salary, leave time, repatriation costs, damages for medical fees, lost or damaged household goods, and court costs.

According to her lawsuit, DFW hired Orlando as a wildlife biologist supervisor from Oct. 1, 2016 through Sept. 30, 2017.

 In Feb. 2016, Orlando told Pangelinan she was pregnant. She said he immediately removed her from fieldwork, which Orlando objected to.

 In May 2016, Orlando informed Pangelinan that in Aug. 2016 she had to go to California because of her pregnancy. She asked for accommodation to do her work while in California. She said Pangelinan denied her request.

In July 2016, Pangelinan allowed Orlando to work limited hours during her time in California.

 Orlando flew to California on Aug 2, 2017 to be near a hospital, and submitted time sheets and leave forms to the defendants.

But she said the defendants failed to pay her in a timely manner in some instances, and failed to pay her altogether in others.

Orlando said she repeatedly inquired about her pay, but the defendants failed to respond.

On Sept. 28, 2016 Orlando gave birth.

She said the defendants failed to pay salary or wages, annual leave, sick leave, donated sick leave, advanced leave,  or the holiday and maternity leave owed her.

On Nov. 13, 2016, Orlando said she emailed Pangelinan and another DFW staffer that she needed to extend her sick leave because she had to undergo surgery. She said the defendants  failed to communicate with her.

On Nov. 23, 2016, Orlando underwent surgery in California. On Jan. 10, 2017, she underwent another surgery.

Orlando said she was not aware that the defendants stopped paying the premiums for health insurance in Jan. 2017.

Due to the defendants’ failure to pay health insurance premiums, Orlando’s medical expenses were not covered by health insurance.

Orlando said she had told the defendants about a planned surgery for Jan. 2017, the same month they stopped paying her health insurance.

 In April 2017, she filed a charge of discrimination with the  U.S. Equal employment Opportunity Commission for violation of her civil rights.

On May 23, 2017,  Orlando resigned from DFW.

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/104251-wildlife-biologist-sues-dlnr-dfw-for-discrimination

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