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Ohio House Lays Off Legislative Aide Who Filed Harassment Complaint

State Rep. Scott Wiggam (R-Wooster)
Ohio House
State Rep. Scott Wiggam (R-Wooster) was accused of making racist comments by a former legislative aide.

A legislative aide in the Ohio House who filed a complaint of inappropriate workplace behavior has lost her job.

The investigation into her complaint found no wrongdoing, but the Ohio House says the decision to let her go had nothing to do with her complaint.

The house cited reducing administrative costs as the reason for eliminating seven legislative staffers who served as “floaters,” including Marissa Reyes, who accused a state legislator and staffers of making racist comments. Such “floaters” are not assigned to any one member on a permanent basis.

Reyes’ complaint, which was filed just before the election of Speaker Larry Householder, included claims against state Rep. Scott Wiggam (R-Wooster) and other Householder supporters. The internal investigation ended with no findings of wrongdoings, although the unidentified coworker was given a written reprimand.

The Ohio House projects it will save about $350,000 by eliminating the positions. In a written statement, the Ohio House says the move was made "in an effort to cut administrative costs and streamline support functions," and states anyone whose position was eliminated can apply for other positions that are available.

Last week, Householder said the Ohio House was in the process of hiring a human resources professional.

“I will not tolerate the behavior I’ve seen over the past couple of years," he said.

Reyes filed the complaint could not be reached for comment.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.