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State Treasurer Dan Rutherford routinely roomed overnight in hotels and a Chicago apartment with a low-level treasurer’s office employee whom he has given a 50 percent pay hike, raising questions about the workplace judgment of the Republican candidate for governor.
Amy Oppenheimer, a California attorney, investigator, government consultant and expert witness on workplace harassment issues, said, “Supervisors and subordinates need to have a certain amount of professional distance so that a supervisor can take action that the subordinate may disagree with and to ensure that they’re not friends.
“And sharing a room with someone is an intimate friendship activity, not a supervisor/subordinate activity,” Oppenheimer said.
“Let’s say this assistant didn’t work for the state and was just a campaign employee and they shared a room, it’s probably not so much of an issue,” Oppenheimer said.
“But then it bleeds into the fact that this is a state employee and how much choice does a person really have?” she said. “It’s about trying to sort of understand what people can comfortably say no to and what they can’t. And it certainly brings up the appearance of potential impropriety.”
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