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Worker sues Maine DEP over demotion

October 19, 2011

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BANGOR, Maine—The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is facing a lawsuit from one of its own employees.

Andrea Lani says she was demoted from her job after testifying -- on her own time as a private citizen -- before a legislative committee against a bill that would have eliminated the program that she oversaw at the DEP. The program was aimed at protecting children from harmful chemicals. .

In her lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in Bangor, Lani claims she was removed from her post and given another job in the agency after her testimony. Her pay was not reduced.

Lani says her free speech rights were violated and she was discriminated against as a state employee.

DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho referred questions on the suit to the state attorney general's office, which declined comment.