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.