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Worker at Wayne County Juvenile detention center alleges she had to resign for wearing a mask

Azanene Petty’s last day was April 6

DETROIT – Former Wayne County Juvenile Detention Facility specialist Azanene Petty walked Local 4 through what led to April 6 being her final day on the job.

“We were only allowed to wear our masks any time we exited the building, like for lunch or going to public spaces outside of work, but there wasn’t an order allowing us to wear the mask while we were on duty,” said Petty.

But considering the fact that Petty was just around multiple family members with respiratory issues, she didn’t want to risk their health or anyone else at the facility.

“My mom only has 10 percent lung capacity," Petty said. “My dad has COPD like I have previously stated, and I’m like my newborn, his lungs are not the best either.”

Because of that reason, Petty says higher-ups told her she had to go.

“She’s like, ‘Ms. Petty, well, my hands are tied. There’s not much that I can do. You either go on the second floor and work, or you know you have to resign,’” Petty said.

Now She’s suing for damages. The whistleblower lawsuit also claims her employer was neglectful in providing the necessary products to stay sanitary.

The full lawsuit can be read below.

“The facility still was very scarce on supplies. We didn’t have hand soap. My coworkers are still in the building. I’m risking their lives every day,” Petty said.

Wayne Juvenile Detention officials can’t speak on pending litigation. However, they did send a list of things the facility has done to protect staff:

  • Since March 14, 2020, JDF has screened and continues to screen JDF employees and any other individual​s attempting to enter the facility at any time for COVID-19 in accordance with CDC guidelines. Residents are screened daily.
  • With safety concerns of JDF staff, management, and residents in mind, the Wayne County Executive issued an Executive Order under the Wayne County Emergency Management Act Rule 20-001. This order, issued on March 20, 2020, suspends all in-person visitation of residents.
  • JDF has a 7-day housekeeping staff at the facility and has engaged an outside company to perform additional ​disinfectant cleaning.
  • Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes are distributed to staff and additional sanitation stations have been installed throughout the building.
  • The Medical Director holds regular meetings with ​the 24-hour medical staff​ reiterating safety protocols.