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Asian woman sues Maine Public Employees Retirement System for discrimination

A 64-year-old Asian American woman has filed a lawsuit against the Maine Public Employees Retirement System for alleged racial discrimination, reports Bangor Daily News. Mary Lee filed the complaint Thursday accusing a supervisor and one co-worker of making comments that have made the last seven years at her job difficult.

Lee began working at the agency in 2013. The complaint said the first incident occurred in 2014 when a supervisor allegedly told her “All Asians are drug dealers” and “Do you sell drugs?” Lee filed a grievance with her union and employer over the comments that left her “humiliated and devastated” according to the complaint.

Lee once again felt singled out at work due to her race two years later. At the office, employees celebrate employees’ birthdays once a month. However, Lee asked her birthday celebration to be moved to a prior month because in her culture it’s bad luck to celebrate birthdays after their date. But according to the complaint, Lee’s request was seen as “unreasonable.”

“Instead of approaching Lee’s request regarding birthday celebrations with understanding of or respect for Lee’s cultural beliefs, MainePERS treated Lee’s request like it was unreasonable and obnoxious, further contributing to the hostile working environment,” the complaint said.

Mary Lee is seeking unspecified damages.

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