A lawsuit has been filed against the City of Newport for discriminating against a handicapped job applicant, even though the applicant had worked for the city before.
The federal lawsuit was filed with the Federal Court in Eugene claiming that although Brook Day was well qualified to be a payroll clerk in the city finance department, she was not hired due to her disability – a bad ankle. According to her lawsuit, Ms. Day had earlier worked for the city in 2010 but chose to leave her employment for other opportunities outside Newport. But later she returned to Newport and filed an application for the payroll clerk’s job and that’s when, in her words, the problems started.
Upon hearing that Ms. Day had undergone surgery for an ankle injury and that she now walking with a cane and that she couldn’t stand up for very long, her interview at the City Finance Department didn’t go well. Ms. Day claims in her suit that Ms. Day didn’t get the job even though she was by far the most qualified for it.
Ms. Day is suing the city for lost wages and lost benefits along with medical costs. Ms. Day also claims damages arising from the city inflicting emotional pain and suffering, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, loss of dignity, loss of sleep, humiliation and other damages.
The lawsuit is pending at the Federal Courthouse in Eugene.
A second legal filing against the city is in the form of a Tort Claim – not quite a lawsuit, but close. The claim made by by former city Finance Department employee, Jonna Shaughnessy, is giving the city fair warning that they’re about to be sued over what is described as an illegal employment action – harrassing her and then dismissing her from her job.
Shaughnessy contends in her court filing that during her employment Finance Director David Marshall sexually harrassed her through his remarks uttered in front of a crowd of fellow city employees and that he inappropriately touched her and referred to her as “honey” and “dear.” Shaughnessy also contends she was coerced into having breakfasts with Mr. Marshall, which she claims, was not what she wanted to do, at all.
As her employment became more and more imperiled, Shaughnessy was notified that her employment status was to be put back on “probation” pending further training for the job. She says in her lawsuit that her work performance was good and had been labeled as such by others around the city. Yet Mr. Marshall continued with what felt to her as a process of being terminated. And that day came in mid-April of this year, in a meeting with Mr. Marshall and other finance department staff who then, according to her tort claim, “they let me talk” but then sent her away without asking any questions. The next day she was fired.
Shaughnessy is seeking economic damages, lost back pay and current pay, along with attorney fees and other court costs, if there are any. Other claims includes damages for loss of reputation, emotional and mental distress, degradation, embarrassment and humiliation.
In both of these stories it is very difficult to get a verified or even a balanced perspective from the defendants’ viewpoint. City employees are typically instructed to simply say, “no comment” on such lawsuits or threats of lawsuits. So until a judge hears the story and makes a ruling in public open court, we’ll all have to wait to determine who was most likely telling the truth.