On Thursday, Sept. 24, the City of Hinesville announced that a complaint filed by a former employee with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been dismissed, according to a press release issued by City of Hinesville PR Director Whitney Morris-Reed.
The City held a press conference at 1:30 p.m. to offer statements on the EEOC dismissal.
“I am happy to report that after investigation by the EEOC, this complaint has been dismissed,” Mayor Allen Brown said.
Former City employee Danyell Barboa had filed a complaint on Oct. 11, 2019 with the EEOC alleging that Howard made sexual advances toward her from April 2017 to June 2017. Barboa also alleged that Howard, as well as city employees Holly Fields and Niesha Williams and councilwoman Vicky Nelson, retaliated against her after she reported the harassment.
Barboa claimed Howard promised her pay raises while asking what she said were unprofessional and inappropriate questions about her personal life. She said the incidents made her feel uncomfortable.
According to the EEOC complaint, Barboa alleged that on one occasion in June 2017, Howard cornered her in her office and attempted to pull her close.
She said she pushed Howard away and refused his advances. When Howard left the office, she locked the door and called her husband to come pick her up.
Barboa claimed Howard used his key to enter her office and again made advances, and only left because she told him her husband was on his way to get her.
Barboa said on July 19, 2019 she was abruptly transferred from her position as a human resources administrator to a new position as a Homeless Prevention Program administrator. She said she was told to turn in her keys and pack up her personal belongings as if she was being fired. She said the experience was humiliating.
At today’s press conference City Attorney, Linnie Darden said, “Upon investigation, the EEOC has determined that this case has no factual basis and it has been dismissed with exoneration on the part of the City of Hinesville.”
“I would like to thank our Mayor and Council for their unwavering support during this process,” Howard said. “We stated in the beginning that we would be exonerated and now we have been. I also have to thank our City of Hinesville team. They have not missed a beat this entire time and we have still managed to move the City forward.”
The Courier has obtained a copy of the document titled Dismissal and Notification of Right to Sue Letter, dated Sept. 14, that Barboa received from the EEOC. The letter stated the case was dismissed for the following reason.
“Based on its investigation, the EEOC is unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes violations of the statutes. This does not certify that the respondent is in compliance with the statutes. No find is made as to any other issues that might be construed as having been raised by this charge.”
The dismissal letter also included information of Barboa’s right to sue by filing the required paperwork in federal or state court within 90 days of the Sept. 14, letter.
The Courier reached out to Barboa and awaiting on a reply from her or her attorney.