Former OSU director files BOLI complaint against the university; claims discrimination on the basis of disability, sex, gender

Candace Baltz was the former director of Experiential Learning & Engagement.

The Baro Staff

Correction: This article previously got Baltz’s title as director of Experiential Learning & Activities wrong, and instead, said Experiential Learning & Engagement. This issue has been resolved. 

Candace Baltz, the former director of Experiential Learning & Activities at Oregon State University, has filed a complaint against OSU through the Bureau of Labor & Industries for alleged unlawful employment practices.

“I allege an unlawful employment practice based on my disability, sex, gender, invocation of [Oregon Family Leave Act] and protected whistleblowing activities, in that [OSU] subjected me to different terms, conditions, or privileges of employment; did not make reasonable accommodations; denied my leave and terminated my employment,” Baltz stated in the BOLI complaint she filed. 

Baltz served as the director of Orange Media Network starting in 2015, and then later became the ELA director in 2019, but was let go in October of 2020.

According to her complaint, Baltz was receiving appropriate accommodations for her disability up until 2016 when Damoni Wright became the new director of Student Experiences & Engagement. 

“In or about mid-2016, Damoni Wright became my supervisor,” Baltz wrote in her complaint. “He did not honor my reasonable accommodations. He created events with environments that aggravated my disability, and did not communicate my accommodation needs to those who needed to know in order to accommodate me.”

Baltz has a severe air-borne allergy to dairy that can send her into anaphylactic shock if exposed to her allergen. According to her complaint, Baltz was not required to attend team meetings where her allergen would be present, and even when she asked that her disability be accommodated at those meetings. 

“I was criticized by my peers and supervisors for not attending a meeting,” Baltz wrote in her complaint. “They shared concerns over email that I might want to attend other work-related meetings that were open to all employees in our organization.”

Baltz had a severe allergic reaction on Nov. 13, 2018, as a result of “failure to accommodate at a meeting.” Baltz claims that Wright and Patty Jackson, Wright’s assistant, intentionally created environmental conditions aggravating her disability. 

Candace also alleged in her BOLI complaint that OSU’s Equal Opportunity & Access Office did not open an investigation into her complaints, nor were her concerns addressed, she added.

“Please see the attached BOLI complaint I have filed against Oregon State University after many years of attempting to solve these matters internally and directly with OSU. I believe these issues share themes with what the Board of Trustees is currently looking into, and it would be worthwhile to conduct an external, independent investigation of EOA and other offices at OSU that deal with matters of harassment, discrimination and retaliation,” Baltz wrote in an email sent out to reporters across Oregon, as well as OSU’s Board of Trustees, President F. King Alexander and other university administrators. 

Baltz did not disclose any redress she is seeking from her BOLI complaint.

This is an ongoing story that will be updated as more information becomes available.