County Reaches Settlement With Fired 911 Dispatcher

By
Steve Robb - Athens Messenger staff reporter

Dateline
Updated Thu, Jun 27, 2013 10:23 am

A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed against Athens County 911 by a fired dispatcher.

On Tuesday, the county commissioners approved the settlement, which had already been signed by former dispatcher Crystal Richards of Glouster.

Richards filed a lawsuit earlier this year in Athens County Common Pleas Court claiming she had been wrongfully terminated. The lawsuit sought in excess of $375,000, plus punitive damages and an award of lost wages.

Under the settlement, Richards will receive $2,500 and be allowed to resign her employment with 911, effective Feb. 10, 2012.

“It’s time to settle that case and move on,” said Commissioner Charlie Adkins.

According to Adkins, Richard’s former job had been left vacant pending the outcome of the lawsuit. He said the county can now move forward with filling the vacancy.

Although the settlement calls for the county’s insurer to issue the check to Richards, Commissioner Lenny Eliason said $2,500 is the amount of the county’s deductible, so the money will actually come from the county.

In the lawsuit, Richards claimed the county used a “trumped up” allegation of sexual harassment and “railroaded” her out of her job. She asserted that she was fired because of her gender and because of her attempts to unionize 911’s part-time employees.

Common Pleas Judge Michael Ward dismissed part of the lawsuit in April.

After Richards was fired, she filed a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, which ruled against her in September.

The settlement says that Richards will dismiss the common pleas court lawsuit, and that she acknowledges that the county denies liability and responsibility for all claims asserted by her.

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