Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Former police officer files sex discrimination lawsuit against Lamar police chief, city
In her petition, Katie Thomas alleges that she was treated differently from other officers because she was the only female officer.
The defendants in the case are Police Chief John Davis and the City of Lamar.
According to the petition:
In April 2015 Defendant Davis gave Plaintiff a negative performance review even though Plaintiff’s performance was among the top of similarly-situated officers.
Plaintiff was kept as a probationary employee by the City of Lamar during the entire course of Plaintiff’s employment even though similarly-situated male employees who performed poorly compared to Plaintiff were released from probation.
On or about 6:30 pm on December 4, 2015, Plaintiff received a text message from Cpl. Oliver Cornell ordering Plaintiff to report to duty at 8 p.m. rather than her normal start time of 10 p.m. Plaintiff reported to work as ordered on that date.
On or about 8 p.m. on said date, Defendant Davis and others accused Plaintiff of stalking and harassing a fellow police officer, Joe Housel. Defendants knew or should have known that Plaintiff was not stalking or harassing Joe Housel.
On or about the night of December 5, 2015, Plaintiff received a text message from Plaintiff’s immediate supervisor Oliver Cornell asking if Plaintiff was able to meet with Chief Ken Bergman on December 8, 2015, at 1 p.m. Plaintiff would not have been on duty at 1 p.m. on December 8, 2015.
Plaintiff requested that said meeting be held on or near the time Plaintiff was on duty. On December 5, 2015, Plaintiff reported in to work at 10 p.m. and was informed by Chief Ken Bergman that Plaintiff’s employment was terminated for insubordination, i.e. refusing a direct order from Chief Bergman.
Plaintiff neither received nor disobeyed a direct order from Chief Bergman.
The petition alleges Thomas' gender was "a contributing factor" in her dismissal and that Davis' actions were "willful and made with reckless indifference or evil motive with the intent to cause harm" to Thomas.
The firing has caused Thomas loss of wages, lost employment opportunities, mental and emotional distress, and other damages, according to the petition.
Thomas is asking for damages, attorney fees, costs, and punitive damages.
Davis, who was deputy police chief at the time of Thomas' firing, was appointed police chief October 29 following the retirement of Ken Bergman.