Below is the letter sent last week by former Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce membership director Judy Braatz to the chamber board. The letter outlines what Braatz describes as "discrimination and bullying behavior" by her ex-boss, chamber president Rob Miller. Its authenticity has been verified by two chamber board members. The chamber has hired an outside firm to investigate the accusations against Miller.
Mr. Miller, Mr. Richardson and Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors,
For over 23 years, I have been successfully selling memberships for the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce. I have always received positive reviews and have developed hundreds, if not thousands, of strong connections between the Chamber and local businesses.
As of Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017, I have been placed on some type of administrative leave. I have been asked to resign. I do not want to resign and have no intent to resign.
I am being forced out of my job of 23 years due to the discrimination and bullying behavior of Rob Miller. Mr. Miller has stated to me in a very negative way that the cost of my health insurance is higher than everyone else on the staff. Mr. Miller's comments regarding the cost of my employment to the organization have come up on multiple occasions that I can make a more specific account of at a later time if requested. Mr. Miller has repeatedly asked me when I was going to retire. On one occasion, when I told him I did not have a retirement date in mind because I love my job, he continued to pressure me into giving him a date. He wouldn't give it up. These comments, among other behavior, makes it clear that Mr. Miller wants me out of the Chamber because of my age and the financial cost of my employment.
Mr. Miller has significant difficulty working with women. It is no secret that other strong women in the organization have left because of how Mr. Miller has treated them. I would recommend that the board of directors has a conversation with present and past staff members on this topic. I believe that you would find that other employees would also say that Mr. Miller's discriminatory bullying of female employees is simply how he chooses to communicate with women who are his insubordinates.
Mr. Miller has also repeatedly defamed me in public. Specifically, he has made numerous comments to staff, as well as at public Chamber functions, which suggest I have a drinking problem. Suggesting I have a drinking problem is false and defamatory. I have worked for 23 years to uphold my personal reputation, as well as the reputation of the Chamber. His defamatory statements have done significant damage to both me and the Chamber.
In sum, I will not resign.
I want to be removed from this suspension and allowed to work without further discriminatory treatment or retaliation by Mr. Miller or any other staff members. I am also asking that the board take immediate action to investigate Mr. Miller's treatment of staff, especially related to the bullying and discriminatory behavior he has directed towards me and others as outlined above.