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HR Director Claims Employee Forged Settlement Agreement

SF DHR Director sent an email to city leaders claiming a subordinate had forged a settlement agreement for a discrimination complaint, from Kon Karampelas

SAN FRANCISCO—On Friday, September 18, the City and County of San Francisco’s Department of Human Resources (DHR) director Micki Callahan emailed city leaders claiming that one of her subordinates forged a settlement agreement for an African American employee who previously made a discrimination complaint. Mayor London Breed and members of the Board of Supervisors were among the recipients, Mission Local reported.

The email, with the subject line “Corruption at DHR,” stated former DHR employee Rebecca Sherman “admitted in writing that she had forged documents and lied to a city employee about that employee’s EEO case.” EEO refers to Equal Employment Opportunity regulations stating everyone can have equal access to employment opportunities based on merit, without fear of discrimination or harassment. Callahan’s email said Sherman resigned unexpectedly from her position as an EEO manager earlier this September.

Callahan, who has been the Human Resources Director for 13 years and Employee Relations Director for 2, labeled Sherman a ”rogue employee.” She accused Sherman of the following, obtained by Mission Local: 

“Sherman lied to the employee and told her that her closed case had been reopened and reinvestigated, and that she would be receiving a financial settlement and a promotion as a result; she deleted records from reports printed from the EEO Division’s database to ensure that there was no record of the case in the EEO reports reviewed by DHR and the employee’s department head; she forged an unauthorized settlement agreement and forged a department head’s and two Deputy City Attorneys’ names on the document, then provided the forged agreement to the employee, assuring the employee that the settlement had been approved and that a financial settlement and promotion were pending. She did so despite knowing, and concealing from the employee, that the settlement was not authorized and would not be implemented; Sherman forged email and text messages to the employee, purporting to be from the departmental payroll director, that stated the financial settlement was soon to be paid; On the basis of Sherman’s assurances, the employee dismissed a pending lawsuit related to her EEO complaint. The City Attorney’s Office has informed the employee that it will stipulate to her withdrawing the dismissal, and file the necessary papers with the court to restore that lawsuit; Sherman misrepresented the status of at least one other case as well, both to the complainant and to DHR EEO and DHR leadership.”

Sherman has been unreachable for comments and her Linkedin page, which listed her as an EEO Programs Manager has been deleted.

In a September 17 private letter observed by Mission Local, San Francisco’s Black Employee Alliance and Coalition Against Anti-Blackness claimed “‘multiple employees’ who had filed discrimination complaints ‘were manipulated, aggrieved, assaulted and defrauded by DHR-EEO’ and provided with ‘fraudulent’ settlement agreements.” The letter reportedly asserted the EEO office is biased against African American employees and is in need of new leadership. It called for the dismissal and investigation of Callahan and director of the EEO office Linda Simon.

The letter read “How is it possible both Linda Simon, Director of EEO and Micki Callahan, Director of the Department of Human Resource [sic] were unaware of the elaborate scheme devised by their employees?” “There is documentation proving Micki Callahan and Linda Simon were aware of complaints involving similar matters about the DHR-EEO process, and did not respond to those complaints or correct the situation.”

During a September 2018 committee hearing, San Francisco Mayor London Breed and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors called on Callahan to fix the problems of racism and bullying of African American city workers. She was called on again for an additional hearing on November 27, 2018, “African-American Workforce Hiring, Retention, and Promotional Opportunities—Workplace Discrimination and Complaints.”

On January 18, 2019, MLK Jr. Day, San Francisco city workers gathered in protest to call on the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors to fire Callahan. Protesters cited that Callahan has totaled $70 million from payments for settlements to workers and lawyers, some of which related to race.

Callahan works in the Director’s Office of the San Francisco DHR and can be contacted at (415) 557-4845

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