Discrimination Complaint Filed Against Henry Cuellar
A former aide to Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX) has filed a complaint alleging that she was fired for being pregnant -- a violation of federal law. Kristie Small, who served as Cuellar’s Acting Chief of Staff until earlier this month, told WaPo that she joined Cuellar’s office on June 1st and that once she learned about her pregnancy, emailed him in August about planning for her maternity leave. The Congressman then replied that she was under probation -- Small said Cuellar had never raised concerns about her performance before then. He also gave her new performance markers which he then said she had failed to meet. “I was very confused. I had never been told there was a 90-day probation period. When I asked other staffers, no one else had ever had this type of discussion with him,” she said. “I knew I was doing an excellent job. All of this started happening in response to my maternity-leave email. It’s 100 percent clear to me that had I not been pregnant, I would still be in this job.” Small submitted her request last week to the Office of Compliance, which handles discrimination and harassment complaints in the legislative branch. Cuellar’s office defended Small’s firing last week, but did not address her claims: “The Office of Representative Cuellar considers internal personnel matters confidential and will not comment publicly on Ms. Small’s allegations at this time, except to say that the office values its employees and conducts all personnel matters in compliance with the congressional [sic] Accountability Act and applicable House Rules. All actions taken with respect to Ms. Small’s employment were in compliance with the law and House Rules.” And the founders of Congress Too, which is made up of former congressional staffers committed to addressing discrimination and harassment in Congress, started a fundraising page for Smalls as she navigates the process. More here.