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