Fayette County

Lawsuit against city to proceed

A case alleging gender discrimination and retaliation against three police dispatchers is moving forward in Fayette Circuit Court.

On Wednesday, Circuit Judge Thomas L. Clark issued an order in which he agreed to dismiss only parts of the women's suit against the city government. He dismissed the individuals who were named as defendants, and said there was not enough evidence to support a claim by the women that emotional distress had been inflicted intentionally.

Attorneys for the defendants — the Urban County Government and current or former city employees — had sought to have the suit thrown out.

But the women's allegations that state whistle-blower and employment discrimination laws were violated by the local government remain as parts of the case.

"The ladies are very happy that the judge ruled in their favor on the whistle-blower and the discrimination claims," said their attorney, Shane C. Sidebottom of Covington. "They're very happy to be moving forward so that a jury can now hear this case.

"I'm going to be moving for a hearing date for a judge to schedule a trial."

Attorneys for the defendants could not be reached.

The case began in mid-2006 in federal court but was moved to Fayette Circuit Court.

Plaintiffs Taylor Douglas and Stephanie Maggard were fired from their jobs as dispatchers in April 2005 and April 2006, respectively. Plaintiff Ardonna Angel remains on the job.

"Basically, these women, in particular, were singled out," Sidebottom said. The three got into trouble when they went outside the chain of command and complained to officials such as then-Mayor Teresa Isaac and then-Police Chief Anthany Beatty about violations of policies and how they were treated in the workplace, he said.

One supervisor said the problem was that the dispatchers were all single women with children, the attorney said.

Sidebottom said the women's claims of violations of the state whistle-blower and discrimination laws were the strongest claims in the case.

If the local government is found in violation of the whistle-blower statute, the women could receive punitive damages. Also, violations of the state whistle-blower and employment discrimination laws allow for their attorney fees to be paid, he said.