Chesterton Tribune

Former workers file discrimination complaint against County Clerk Martin

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Three former employees in Porter County Clerk Karen Martin’s office have filed a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

On Sept. 21 attorney Mitch Peters filed the complaint on behalf of Margaret Hammond, 54, of Portage, who left the Clerk’s Office after 2 years of employment there; Kathleen Tabor, 58, of Valparaiso, who left on July 12, after 11 years of employment; and Diana Kesel, 60, of Hebron, who left after 20 years of employment.

In all three cases, the complaint alleges, County Clerk Martin either terminated Peters’ clients or forced them to leave “based upon ongoing harassment and/or false accusations concerning the claimant’s job performance”; and that each was terminated from employment “based upon her age and/or wrongfully terminated and/or constructively terminated based upon political considerations, all of which is prohibited by federal law.”

Generally speaking, under a “constructive termination” an employee quits the job because working conditions have been made intolerable.

In addition, Hammond’s complaint alleges that she “was further discriminated against because of her medical condition.”

Such conduct, according to the complaint, “constitutes intentional and/or negligent infliction of emotional distress,” “interference with contract,” and a violation of the threes’ Constitutional rights.

“(A)t all times relevant herein, Karen M. Martin, as the Porter County Clerk, was acting with the tacit approval of Porter County, Ind., and its governing body of Commissioners,” the complaint concludes.

The EEOC has specific jurisdiction over age- and disability-based job discrimination, though not over political firings.

Peters told the Chesterton Tribune today that the Sept. 21 complaint is analogous to a tort claim and is the “pre-requisite” for actually filing a federal lawsuit.

 

 

 

Posted 9/27/2011