Can EEO Represent Fired Employee in Grievance Against DBAS?

The Department of Human Resources has informed an ex employee of the Development Bank of American Samoa, who lost his job in the wake of the 2016 gubernatorial elections, that the Equal Employment Opportunity Office may not have authority to represent him in his grievance against DBAS.

This is the latest in a series of correspondence between Masunu Leala and Deputy Director of Human Resources Kenneth Kuaea.

Leala was accused by DBAS management of leaking information on administration supporters and members of the Board of Directors of DBAS who were granted a special privilege…that is the interest on their DBAS loans were frozen.

Leala was eventually fired from his job as a loan officer with DBAS.

He filed a grievance with the Equal Employment Opportunity officer at DHR and but last month he was informed that because the EEO officer Sam Tinae was retiring, his case cannot proceed.

Leala says in his meetings with Tinae he learned that Tinae wrote to the DBAS Ruth Matagi Faatili to reinstate him but there was no response.

His case was then referred to DHR Deputy Director Kuaea and Eseta Kruse whom DHR officials says is the new EEO.

Kuaea told KHJ News last month that his office wont be handling Leala’s case as he has filed a complaint with the Federal EEO.

However subsequent to our report to that effect, the DHR official began corresponding with the fired DBAS employee and there was progress from Leala’s point of view.

But yesterday Leala got an email from the DHR deputy saying that DBAS attorney Sharron Rancourt has emphatically challenged the local EEO Office’s authority to investigate.

She alleged that DHR has no rules for such in the Code.

Afterwards, Assistant Attorney General expressed the same arguments as Rancourt. Kuaea told Leala It appears that this question of EEO authority over DBAS may go before the court.

Nevertheless the DHR official said when the DBAS President returns from off island , the DBAS attorney will consult her as to the EEO’s intention to interview Leala’s last supervisor Tavai Ieremia.

Leala was assured by the DHR Deputy that he and Assistant Attorney Bigelow and he would look for an alternative path forward to resolve his EEO complaint.

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