Chesterton Tribune


ExAnimal Shelter worker sues county for firing her over whistleblowing

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A complaint suit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Hammond by Rebecca Carroll this week alleging she was unlawfully terminated from the Porter County Animal Shelter after reporting instances of animal neglect and abuse occurring at the Shelter last November to county officials.

Named as defendants are the County of Porter and all three current County Commissioners – John Evans, Nancy Adams and Carole Knoblock.

According to the suit, Carroll was an employee of the Animal Shelter from March 2010 to December 4, 2011. Carroll alleges that around November 2011, she reported animal abuse to Evans and Kristina Montgomery, the interim Shelter director at the time, and both did nothing to address the issues. Carroll subsequently reported her concerns to County Council President Dan Whitten.

A few days after County officials held a meeting on Dec. 4 to publicly address animal shelter conditions, Carroll said she was discharged for whistle-blowing against public policy and “baseless, unsubstantiated” reasons that were not included in the Porter County Employee Handbook. She says her termination was “in retaliation for exercising her right of free speech and for performing her civic and lawful duty to report animal abuse pursuant to Porter County Code.”

The suit says actions by the county are in violation of both the U.S. and Indiana Constitutions which protect an individual’s right to free speech and to speak out on matters of public concern.

The suit asks that the County compensate her for “damages, injuries, attorney fees and costs” suffered as a result of her being fired.

The suit also says she has experienced “emotional distress, loss of wages, loss of sleep, embarrassment and anxiety.”

Representing Carroll in the suit is Merrillville attorney Bryan K. Bullock.




Posted 10/12/2012