Another EEOC complaint could be leading to a lawsuit against Peachtree City. According to attorney Ed Buckley, his client, former Peachtree City Police staff assistant Lisa Ficalore, is still being retaliated against by a city.
“My client has filed a number of EEOC charges against the city and she has been treated badly. She has been retaliated against for her gender, for her disability. She has seen her job cut, her hours cut, her salary cut, she has lost the right to her pension. She has lost the right to go out on sick leave to deal with her disability.”
In February 2011 an EEOC complaint was filed by Ficalore against police chief H.C. “Skip” Clark on grounds of discrimination due to gender and disabilities. Since that time, two amendments have been filed to the original charge.
EEOC case filings include Ficalore’s allegations of being subject to a hostile work environment, being denied training and having her performance evaluation scores lowered. Buckley filed an additional charge on Ficalore’s behalf saying the elimination of her full-time position at City Hall, and the attendant benefits, was retaliation for the EEOC claims, since hers was the only position eliminated that was already filled. Ficalore’s full time position becomes part time on June 1.
Ficalore was administrative assistant to former police chief James V. Murray. She alleges that Clark demoted her and cut her pay in October 2008 by reclassifying her position from administrative assistant to staff assistant.
She also said that though, in previous years, she had consistently received outstanding scores on her evaluations, in October 2009 the scores changed to consistent mid-range scores. Ficalore also alleged that between October and December 2010, she received three different evaluations prior to her final evaluation, which was done two months late. She also charged that Clark was harassing her witnesses in the case.
In April of 2012, Atlanta EEOC director Bernice Williams-Kimbrough notified Clark in a letter that this notification was a cease and desist request from “engaging in any conduct that would hamper, impede or affect” the outcome of the EEOC investigation and the commission “has reason to believe that you may be engaging in conduct which has the effect of controlling or intimidating witnesses who could be required to testify during (the) investigation. Any attempt to intimidate, coerce or retaliate against witnesses or otherwise affect witness testimony in an ongoing investigation is strictly prohibited.”
Buckley’s latest filing on Ficalore’s behalf, in August, indicates that since her last amended complaint, she has been “retaliated against repeatedly” to the point that she has suffered adverse employment actions and a hostile work environment.
“Indeed, it appears the city has done everything it can to force me to quit as a result of my protected activity. After I filed my last amendment to the charge, I was denied comp time, I was denied training, denied overtime, I was written up unfairly, nonselected for other jobs (including a job as Customer Service Representative) and threatened with termination, my medical information was kept on my supervisor’s home computer and she referenced by disability in job related activities.”
Ficalore contends that since her position as Customer Service Representative II was eliminated in violation of city policy, reducing her hours, pay and eliminating her eligibility for pension and benefits, she applied for the position of Deputy Court Clerk, a full time position for which she was well-qualified and had the necessary certifications.
Ficalore and Buckley contend that the clerk of court expressly stated that Ficalore would not be hired into the open position because of her “current situation” with the city and especially the police department.
“More specifically, the clerk stated that there was too much tension and bad blood between me and the police department with everything that has happened and that people in the PD would not want to deal with me on a daily basis. Apparently the city solicitor had recommended me for the position but to no avail. The position was filled by an outside applicant notwithstanding the city’s policy to promote from within. I subsequently learned that the court supervisor stated that mine was only a “courtesy interview.”
Buckley says the city is “trying to run her off.”
City attorney Ted Meeker says the city has every intention of addressing each of Ficalore’s charges, but he couldn’t make any further comment since it was ongoing case and EEOC complaint.