Salles’ advisor was denounced for ‘toxic climate’ – 03/16/2023 – Panel
Employees of the Ministry of the Environment of the Jair Bolsonaro (PL) government reported a “toxic and hostile work environment” in the area of communication, which was commanded by David Boutsiavaras, recently appointed by former minister and current federal deputy Ricardo Salles (PL- SP) to work in his office.
One of the most voted deputies in last year’s election in São Paulo, Salles intends to be a candidate for mayor of São Paulo in 2024.
Faced with an anonymous complaint presented to the ministry’s ombudsman in March 2022, the ministry’s internal affairs department created a commission to handle the case.
After seven months of work and 33 hearings, in addition to testimony by Boutsiavaras himself, there was a recommendation by one of the members of the commission that he be removed from office, which was carried out by the current minister, Marina Silva, on Friday ( 10). Punishment is a kind of dismissal for malicious reasons, more serious than dismissal, and is included in the employee’s curriculum. Two other members suggested a caveat.
As IstoÉ magazine showed, Boutsiavaras was the target of complaints of moral and sexual harassment, which would have happened especially between September 2020 and July 2021, when he was head of communication during the Salles administration, but also between July 2021 and June 2022 , in the administration of Joaquim Pereira Leite.
These allegations were contested by him and discarded by the commission in its final report, on the grounds of lack of materiality. The Panel had access to the document through the Freedom of Information Act.
In their reports, workers describe bouts of crying, feeling unwell and even vomiting in the ministry’s communication area, related to the climate of tension.
The accusations accepted by the commission against Boutsiavaras involve demands outside working hours, public fights with subordinates who forwarded phone calls to him and episodes in which he would have thrown a pad and pieces of paper in the face and on the keyboard of an employee and would have referred to a subordinate as “slug” in a WhatsApp group.
Employees report as a remarkable episode the case of a colleague who received a stern order from Boutsiavaras to go back to work and edit a video when she was already at the bus station, on a Friday night. Then they realized that the video was published only on Monday and that therefore the order was unnecessary. He told the commission that he had intended to publish the video on the day, but had not heard back from the minister.
“The deponent, when asked how the accused demanded him, stated that when the demands were not sent via WhatsApp, he [Boutsiavaras] filled out a notepad and threw it across the table. Requested by the chairman of the committee for further clarification on this “play”, the deponent simulated the fact, as well as pointing out that, most of the time, the pad fell on his keyboard or on top of it, like on his face, for example”, says one of the testimonies contained in the final report, some of them highlighting that the attitude was not meant as a joke, but was a serious demand Boutsiavaras told the commission that he does not remember having taken such actions.
About having referred to an employee as a slug in a group, he said that he did it through an “emoji” and that he apologized to the target of the offense.
In a note, Boutsiavaras’ lawyers say that “any and all accusations of moral or sexual harassment” were removed by the commission, leaving only the accusations about “lack of urbanity”.
They also say they filed a reconsideration request that is still pending, and that the change from exoneration to removal can be reversed. They say they consider the penalty disproportionate and unreasonable.
Salles told the Panel that he will analyze the content of the process, which he says he does not know. He says he never witnessed any misconduct in the folder’s communication.
Joaquim Leite did not return contact from the column.
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