Report finds Washington lottery director calls female employees 'criers'

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — An outside investigation into complaints of a hostile workplace at the Washington state Lottery has found that the agency's director treats female employees differently than their male counterparts, calling them "criers" and excluding them from key discussions.

The "preponderance of the evidence" came following interviews with 11 women at the agency concerning Lottery Director Bill Hanson, according to the report obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press through a public records request.

The report, written by Trish Murphy of Northwest Workplace Law PLLC, says that Hanson didn't deny the treatment but said he didn't "do it consciously." However, he also told the investigator that women's emotions "are different" and that "as we all know, with women it's an uphill battle. Women aren't treated equal. It's not equal."

"The gender-based comments Bill shared with this investigator reflected different perceptions of men and women and a comfort level with sharing them in a workplace context," the report said.

Hanson was appointed as director in 2010 after serving five years on the Lottery Commission. He sent a letter of resignation to Gov. Jay Inslee on Sept. 29, saying that his last day will be Nov. 1. In his letter, he did not mention the investigation or give a reason for his decision, other than that he and his wife plan to travel.

Jaime Smith, a spokeswoman for Inslee, said that they will be looking for a new director "who will work with employees to bring much-needed culture change to this agency."

Women interviewed for the report said that their opinions weren't respected, and that there was a "good old boys" club at the agency. The report said that Hanson has referred to female managers as "criers," and one woman interviewed said that after she raised concerns about the culture of the agency related to morale there, she was told "Quit your bitching because now you're at the big boys table. Grow up or you need to leave."

The investigation began in July after someone outside of the agency shared concerns with Valoria Loveland, chairwoman of the five-person commission that oversees the agency.

The report also found that several employees expressed concern about deputy director Jim Warick's propensity to yell at employees, and that Hanson didn't hold him accountable for his behavior.

"The evidence gathered in the investigation supported a finding that Deputy Director Jim Warick has engaged in problematic conduct, including yelling at employees and showing a disregard for rules," the report said.

Hanson, Warick and Loveland did not respond to requests for comment on the report.

The report said that other ethical issues at the Lottery were raised during the investigation but were beyond the scope of the work environment issue and are separately being investigated by the agency. Those issues range from use failure to use paid leave during absences, accepting food and alcoholic drinks and items of value from vendors, and employing siblings in a manager role and the deputy director role. The report previously noted that Warick has two brothers employed at the agency.