Equity chief faced hostile labor complaint before resigning from town
SAN ANTONIO – The city’s director of fairness tendered her resignation earlier this year as she was investigated over a hostile work environment complaint, records obtained by KSAT 12 Defenders show .
Zan Gibbs informed city officials in early August that she intended to step down, before officially parting ways with the city in early September, the city’s human resources records confirm.
Weeks earlier, in mid-June, an equity manager in Gibbs’ service claimed by email that Gibbs had targeted him with micro-attacks and made him uncomfortable at work.
The email, which was sent to both Gibbs and the Office of Equity’s primary email address, stated: “I feel constantly betrayed and constantly attacked, keep getting questioned. my role, value and participation in this team, and I have no idea if you understand how negatively your words and actions are received and the impact they have on me in particular. The impact of these types of micro-attacks taken in their entirety makes me very uncomfortable in this work environment and scared for my job. He feels more and more hostile. I now feel uncomfortable in meetings, uncomfortable expressing anything for fear of retaliation and the threat of insubordination, uncomfortable with the feeling that my boss is trying to ride a case against me. Sadly, too many employees of color are saying the same thing as me and feeling the same throughout COSA (City of San Antonio).
The complaint was then forwarded to human resources, who investigated a complaint of discrimination and a hostile work environment.
Human resources officials determined on September 1 that the employee’s allegations were partially corroborated, but were not racially discriminatory, records show.
Gibbs, who had worked for the city since 2018, was promoted to chief equity officer by city manager Erik Walsh shortly after taking office in March 2019.
Gibbs had been at the forefront of a number of equity and inclusion efforts in the city, including a 2020 resolution passed by city council that declared racism a public health crisis.
“We are here for systemic change and not just for checkbox exercises,” Gibbs said when presenting the resolution to board members.
Asked by the Defenders via Facebook if Gibbs would release a statement about his resignation, Gibbs replied, “One wasn’t needed because it was always my plan to build a great job and hand it over. Texas was not my home and I knew I would have to move for family reasons. Working there was amazing, and the city manager threw a wonderful party for me and gave me a beautiful plaque.
Gibbs did not respond to follow-up inquiries regarding the HR complaint in particular.
City officials told Defenders last week that there were no records related to HR complaints against Gibbs. Officials then reopened the request and said they now believed there were documents related to the request.
When asked by the Defenders about a statement by Walsh, a city spokeswoman instead released a statement from Deputy City Manager David McCary, who oversaw the Fairness Office:
“Zan left the city of San Antonio for professional and personal reasons. We have clearly made significant inroads under his leadership of the Equity Office. We thank her for her service in San Antonio and continue to wish her good luck in her future endeavors. “
The spokesperson confirmed that Jonathan Malagon has been appointed interim director of equity, but the office has since been consolidated with other city functions to form the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Department.
Nicholas “Nick” Dominguez was appointed last month to take on the role of interim director of this new department, which “unifies the City’s focus on access, diversity, equity and inclusion” .
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