Women say DOH has poor work environment

Doctors accused of sleeping on the job, discrimination

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Napping at work, and sexist remarks; it’s what women who work at a state agency say a couple of their male bosses were getting away with on the job.

The worker KRQE News 13 spoke with said it seems like there are different rules for men and women at the Department of Health, and claims it’s created a very uncomfortable work environment. But it was apparently very comfortable for some.

State Department of Health employees told News 13 a DOH doctor has been caught sleeping on the job several times.

“This was one of our high level staff managers who makes over $100,000 a year … so for someone to make that much and to be sleeping on the floor in their office and snoring, it’s just unbelievable,” said a DOH employee, who wants to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.

And that may not be the only problem. The anonymous employee claims Dr. Paul Ettestad, DOH veterinarian, has used sexist language.

In one instance, the employee said Ettestad sent an email to several female employees as he was preparing for a TV interview, which read: “Please review questions for my interview and come up with sparkling answers. Also, my shoes need shining …”

And he allegedly made other cracks to women.

“People have been told they’re only kept around because they can cook,” said the anonymous employee. “And while some people might feel like it’s a joke, to many people it really goes beyond what a professional work environment should be.”

Several women said they complained to department management because they feel put down and degraded. And some women may have quit because of it.

“Because this type of environment is one that, it’s impossible to work in. You just can’t imagine getting up and going into work in the morning because some days it’s that bad,” said the employee.

In a statement, the Department of Health said officials were made aware of the photos of the doctor sleeping at work, and the email with the shoe-shining joke. The department said in both cases, they investigated and took appropriate action, but will not say what that action was.

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