Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016    Login | Register        

PTC seeks to settle lawsuit

The Peachtree City Council voted Thursday night to pursue a settlement of an employment discrimination lawsuit filed by a former administrative assistant for the police department.

Details were not available, but council’s vote authorized attorneys for the city to “resolve” the case according to what was discussed in executive (closed) session.

The lawsuit by former administrative assistant Lisa Ficalore claims that she was discriminated against because of a disability. The suit was filed in April after the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission determined Ficalore had a right to file the lawsuit based on claims she made beginning in April 2011.

The EEOC determined that the evidence in the case showed that Police Chief H.C. “Skip” Clark “openly discussed” Ficalore’s disability and “his frustration” with her due to the disability and “his desire to discharge her on the basis of her usage of medical leave for her disability.”

“The evidence further indicates that (Ficalore) was often singled out for retaliatory reasons thus creating a hostile work environment,” according to EEOC’s December 2012 ruling. “Lastly, evidence indicates that (Ficalore’s) coworkers were threatened and intimidated by (Clark) when they supported her allegations of disability discrimination and unlawful retaliation.”

The city denied the allegations, according to the EEOC.

Ficalore’s lawsuit claims that Clark intimidated two high-ranking officers in the department during the EEOC investigation. On one occasion, the suit claims Clark threatened former police Major Mike Dupree that things would be “bad” if Dupree did not back him up on the matter.

The lawsuit further claims that Clark intimidated police Capt. Stan Pye during the EEOC investigation by telling Pye that it is “easy to get rid of people,” presumably a reference to firing personnel.
Those alleged actions led to the EEOC issuing a letter ordering Clark to cease and desist from such conduct.

In the lawsuit, Lisa Ficalore claims that she was “retaliated against and singled out because of her gender and disability” on an ongoing basis, a pattern that began shortly after Clark became police chief. According to the lawsuit, Ficalore’s medical condition has required multiple surgeries and numerous occasions during which she has had to take extended leaves of absence from work.

The lawsuit cites how Clark had Ficalore’s job title reduced from staff assistant to the police chief to staff assistant, cutting her pay grade and class level in a proposal approved by the City Council. That action took place in October 2010, just over two months after Clark took office.

The lawsuit also claims that in January 2011, Ficalore received a second demotion when she was reassigned from the police department to a front-desk position in city hall classified as “customer service representative II.”

That position was ultimately eliminated in May 2012 by council at the request of City Manager Jim Pennington, and Ficalore was offered the option of taking a part-time position without benefits or resign and receive six weeks of severance pay. Ficalore chose to stay on part-time, but the loss of medical, life and dental insurance as well as disability coverage and rights under the Family Medical Leave Act “was financially and emotionally devastating” to Ficalore, the lawsuit claims.

After filing her initial complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in February 2011, Ficalore claims that she suffered continuing retaliation from the city and its agents, including the demotions and denial of employment for different positions in the city for which Ficalore contends she is more qualified than the individuals who were ultimately selected.



Robert W. Morgan's picture

I think James Carville said that referring to some Clinton bimbo, but not sure.

PTC settling with Skip's first fire or first demotion or whatever she was seems to have consequences. I agree she was not needed and her absenteeism was way too much but getting rid of government employees is hard - just ask Lois Lerner. Got to follow the rules and not act quickly. It ain't the private sector where Lisa would have been gone years ago. Gee, maybe she will have to work in the private sector now after her $100,000 runs out.

Live free or die!

Actually, Morgan, while I love Carville the complete absence of any leadership at City Hall (except a few staff and lawyers) reminds me of Senator Max Baucus' comment about health care----"It's a train wreck."

With all the tv/movie filming around here, someone needs to pitch a new project to Pinewood Studios based on PTC City Hall. Call it The Walking Stupid.

ptctaxpayer's picture

"The Walking Stupid"---LOL--- Borntorun, that is hilarious. Our whole city government is a mess. Great city, lousy officials.

In the private sector she would have been gone a long time ago. Heck, I've worked with pneumonia, after a serious car wreck, with migraines, after surgery. I guess I need to work in the public sector where outcomes are a guaranteed payday. Her absenteeism is the reason for her failure to get another position..I believe that made her less qualified than the other candidates. If her disability was so bad then she should have applied for Disability. Unfortunately, she will find that with her references from the city(where they she will probably be given a pass) she will find another job and that will last for a short time because a private employer would can her quickly.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

I have a friend who had 3 interviews for a job he eventually secured and they background checked him like it was the CIA. Any lawsuits, credit reports, Twitter, Facebook, etc. they had and asked him about.

Don't think I'd hire someone like Lisa - sounds like too much trouble. Your idea about applying for disability may indeed be in her future.

Live free or die!

The arrogance and failure to follow basic rules and laws when dealing with employees, government or civilian, is inexcusable especially for any Chief of Police. The Chief’s salary exceeds the $100,000.00 range which doesn’t even include a vehicle, his clothing allowance, or other benefits he specifically designates for himself. At this salary range you would hope he would have training, insight, or experience with EEOC, City Policy, and Hipaa privacy laws necessary to do the job effectively. Unfortunately, it has cost taxpayers thousands upon thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend his actions. I wonder if one could get the cost of the legal fees through open records?

rolling stone's picture

You are quite accurate on who is at fault for the lawsuit. There would not be a viable one if the employee situation had been handled correctly.

Ad space area 4 internal