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State agreed to $1M in settlements with 3 former employees

August 6, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — State officials in New Mexico reached settlements totaling $1 million with three former state employees within the New Mexico Department of Public Safety last year over complaints of discrimination within the department, according to documents that became public Tuesday.

The settlement terms detailed in the documents show Amy Orlando, a former deputy secretary for the department, and Dianna DeJarnette, another department employee, each received $300,000. Terri Thornberry, another employee, received a $400,000 settlement.

The payouts were authorized last year near the end of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration after several employees filed complaints that ranged from wrongful termination to hostile workplace issues.

The settlements of Orlando, Thornberry and DeJarnette stemmed from discrimination complaints, records released Tuesday showed.

The original complaints had been filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the state’s Human Rights Bureau, but they were not released with the settlement agreements.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration released the previously undisclosed agreements after a 180-day period passed that had prevented them from doing so.

In a separate lawsuit the state settled with three former state police officers last year, former State Police Chief Pete Kassetas was accused of inappropriate behavior and creating a hostile work environment. The settlement amounts from that case are expected to be released later this month.

Kassetas announced his retirement in Dec. 31, the final day of Martinez’s term as governor. He has denied wrongdoing.

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