Fired CPS Energy executive seeks close to $4 million in discrimination suit against utility

Lawsuit, personnel records reveal ethics concerns raised by fellow employees

Dr. Chinyere "ChiChi" Anyanwu was fired by CPS Energy in May 2023. (Joshua Saunders, KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – A former CPS Energy executive, fired last year following an ethics investigation, has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the utility seeking close to $4 million in damages.

Dr. Chinyere “ChiChi” Anyanwu was terminated last May, after an internal investigation determined she engaged in disrespectful behavior in the workplace and made inappropriate comments toward other employees, personnel records previously obtained by KSAT Investigates show.

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Anyanwu, who served as the utility’s director of Organizational Development & Culture, filed suit in federal court in San Antonio last month seeking $3.6 million for past and future earnings, $250,000 for mental anguish and emotional distress, and $40,000 to cover attorney’s fees.

Bad blood between Anyanwu and utility preceded termination

CPS Energy officials last fall, prior to Anyanwu filing her suit, repeatedly refused to discuss her employment with the utility.

After KSAT requested Anyanwu’s personnel file, CPS Energy officials in September attempted to withhold the records before subsequently withdrawing their request to the Texas Attorney General’s Office for a review.

The records then released by the utility included a series of past ethics complaints filed against Anyanwu.

CPS Energy’s ethics and compliance hotline received a complaint in June 2019 that Anyanwu had “asked her employee to babysit her kid during work.”

The paperwork does not state what came of the complaint.

In a separate handwritten complaint in August 2022, Anyanwu was accused of “soliciting” current and former employees to try and get entry into other organizations to provide personal coaching services, records show.

The records do not state what came of this complaint either.

Anyanwu’s suit states the utility opened an ethics investigation last March that focused on her religious beliefs, pronoun usage and tone.

Anyanwu was accused of making religious remarks in the workplace and states an ethics panel and her supervisor “recommended her dismissal because she insisted on calling people by their names rather than a ‘they’ pronoun,” her suit states.

The suit also states that Anyanwu’s supervisor “cringed” at her tone each time she spoke in a meeting.

The suit states that the tone of Anyanwu, described in the lawsuit as a 50-year-old Nigerian woman, is due to her accent.

The suit accuses CPS Energy of terminating Anyanwu through actions directly related to her age, race, national origin and religious affiliation.

Anyanwu had worked for the utility since 2007.

Reached by telephone Thursday, Anyanwu’s attorney told KSAT she had no comment on the suit.

CPS Energy officials this week declined to comment on the suit, since it is litigation involving personnel matters.

Read more reporting on the KSAT Investigates page.

About the Author

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

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