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3 terminated at Macomb Medical Examiner's Office as probe continues

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Three staffers at the Macomb County Medical Examiner's Office were terminated as the county's human resources office investigates allegations of a "toxic work environment."

Last week, The News reported that four staffers, including a supervisor, had been placed on paid administrative leave as the county investigated the claims. In the time since, three of those people were terminated, confirmed Andrew McKinnon, Macomb's director of human resources.

More:4 Macomb medical examiner employees on leave in racism, sexism probe

Among the allegations: open displays of sexually explicit photographs, pornographic screensavers on county computers and disparaging remarks by employees about African-Americans.

The culture was encouraged by supervisors, claimed the employee's email, which further alleged others who previously complained about the office culture were harassed until they quit or were fired. 

The HR probe was initiated after a mid-July complaint, McKinnon said. He declined to say who was terminated, what positions they occupied, what they were accused of doing or the reasons for their firing.

"The investigation is ongoing," McKinnon said. 

The staffer who made the complaint continues to work at the office. 

In 2018, the most recent year for which data are available, the Macomb County Medical Examiner's Office investigated 3,061 deaths, performed 531 complete autopsies, 121 external examinations and 39 limited autopsies. The office also performed 681 toxicology assessments.