Fayette jail records clerk files discrimination lawsuit

A medical records clerk for the corporation that provides medical care at the Fayette County Detention Center has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against her employer.

The lawsuit, which was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Lexington, says Tennessee based Corizon Inc. discriminated against Donna Samuels "in the terms and conditions of her employment because of her race."

The complaint says Corizon "was harassing, discriminatory and retaliatory" toward Samuels, who is black, and the company violated state law and the federal Civil Rights Act.

The federal court complaint said Samuels had been a victim of disparate discipline in the forms of reprimands, and a victim of harassment by her white supervisor.

Corizon spokeswoman Courtney Eller said Tuesday that the company does not comment on pending litigation.

"What we can say is that our team of caregivers works hard every day to provide quality care to our patients," Eller said.

Samuels' attorney, Edward Dove of Lexington, declined comment.

The federal court complaint said Samuels had been employed by Corizon since 2005.

The complaint said Samuels was reprimanded on Aug. 15, 2011 by her white supervisor for being disrespectful to co-workers and Detention Center Staff. She was never allowed to defend the allegation or present her version, the federal court complaint said.

"(Samuels) later learned there were no complaints concerning her from the Detention Center staff," the complaint said.

On Sept. 29, 2011, "the staff was informed that they could not leave the work area without the permission of the supervisor. This directive was a result of (Samuels) discussing work-related issues with Detention Center staff," and resulted in her isolation, the court complaint said.

Samuels filed a formal complaint of discrimination with Corizon's Human Resources Department on Oct. 3, 2011, the lawsuit says. The lawsuit says she he was "harassed" and "retaliated" against as a result.

Samuel's supervisor told her "she needed to find another job," the court complaint said. The lawsuit says Samuels was later informed that she could not eat lunch with a black coworker.

In December, Samuels filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in Louisville.

Three months later, her work hours were reduced from 30 hours per week to 26, which affected her life insurance and other benefits.

In May, the complaint said Samuels received an unwarranted reprimand from her supervisor.

Samuels is asking for an undetermined amount for damages for embarrassment and humiliation, for punitive damages and for the cost of her attorney.