$90,000 Settlement Reached After Former Employee Sues Register Pam Hurst

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A $90,000 settlement has been reached in a case in which a former employee of the register's office sued the county and Register Pam Hurst.

County Attorney Rheubin Taylor said the settlement amount of the federal lawsuit will come from the register's data processing fee budget.

Gayla Moates worked in the office from 1997 to 2010. 

She claimed in the suit that she began to have eye problems related to her rheumatoid arthritis that caused her to have a number of doctor visits. The suit says Ms. Hurst stated that "her stories" about visits to the doctor "were becoming more unbelievable."

It says Ms. Hurst later assigned her extra work and said if she could not complete it she would need to find part-time employment.

The complaint says she was called into the office and told that she likely qualified for disability. She said co-workers told her that Ms. Hurst had commented that she needed to begin planning for retirement.

Ms. Moates said in August 2010 she underwent surgery for a rotator cuff problem. She said after being off following the surgery, Ms. Hurst told her she would need to dock her pay for the time off for physical therapy. She said she advised Ms. Hurst she would do the physical therapy after work hours.

She said a few days later Ms. Hurst told her she was a disruption to the office and was terminated.

The suit says Ms. Hurst has stated that her office does not follow county human resource guidelines governing ADA and disability discrimination." 

Here is the statement from Ms. Hurst's office:

"In the settlement of the Moates case, we have agreed not to say anything that would portray Ms. Moates in a negative or poor manner. Ms. Moates also agreed not to do or say anything which would portray Defendants or their employees, in a negative or poor manner.

"In reading the deposition part of the case you will find that Ms. Moates had no leave time and therefore based on fifteen minute breaks per hour from her job, along with physical therapy and physician visits would not have been paid because she had no leave time accumulated to that point. If she had leave time remaining she would have been paid.

"In the deposition you will find that the response for the requested Moates fifteen minute breaks each hour for an unknown amount of time would have been disruptive to the office.

"The deposition also showed that Register Pam Hurst maintains an Employee Handbook for her constitutional office which incorporates all the Federal Law that Ms. Hurst must follow as an employer.

"Register Hurst currently employs several employees with disabilities, each of them have worked for the office for over a decade. Ms. Hurst states that “those disabled employees have been accommodated. One example is that we pay for their parking in a lot directly across the street from the courthouse.”


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