Chesterton Tribune

Exworkers formally sue Porter County Clerk Karen Martin for discrimination

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Three former employees of the Porter County Clerk’s office have officially filed a lawsuit against County Clerk Karen Martin and the Porter County Commissioners claiming they lost their jobs without cause due to age discrimination and political retaliation.

On April 4, Merrillville attorney Richard A. Miller filed lawsuits in the U.S. District Court Hammond Division on behalf of Kathleen Tabor, 58, of Valparaiso, who left the Clerk’s office on July 12 after 11 years of employment; Margaret Hammond, 54, of Portage, who left the office on June 24 after two years of employment; and Diana Kesel, 60, of Hebron, who left on July 29 after 20 years of employment.

In the suits, the women assert that Martin continually harassed them by “making false accusations” and “slanderous comments” about them to other employees in the office and encouraged other office employees to make false accusations about the women’s work performance.

The suits go on to allege that Martin denied the women any promotion and made “multiple unsubstantiated write-ups and reprimands.”

Miller states in the lawsuits that Martin’s discriminatory actions are in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Hammond’s case alleges she was further discriminated against claiming Martin would not accommodate her medical condition.

County Commissioners John Evans, Nancy Adams, and Carole Knoblock are named as defendants due to the women’s contentions that “Martin’s actions and conduct were known or should have been known” to the commissioners and accused them of failing to make “immediate and appropriate response to or correct (Martin’s) conduct.”

In addition to losing their employment, the women said in the suit they had suffered “loss of reputation in the community, as well as mental and emotional pain and stress.”

The plaintiffs’ demand in the suits “reasonable and just compensation” from Martin and the county for the costs of the suit, attorney fees and any relief the federal court may grant.

All three women originally filed a discrimination complaint with the accusations last September.

 

Posted 4/9/2012