A civil rights violation suit has been filed in federal court against the Polk County Election Commission.
A civil rights violation suit has been filed in federal court against the Polk County Election Commission. Melitte Harrison, former Election Administrator, filed a lawsuit claiming she was replaced by current Administrator, Steve Gaddis, because he was a man.
According to the paperwork filed in US District Court, Harrison claims she was involved in three successful elections as Administrator of Elections, a position she held from November, 2010 until April, 2011. Harrison’s lawsuit says she was never subjected to discipline and performed her job duties within the guidelines established by the Election Commission.
Harrison’s lawsuit also alleges she has email communications the show a bias against females and an intent to replace her with a male employee. It goes on to say the male employee she was replaced with had previously been terminated from the Election Commission for poor performance and that he was less qualified for the position.
The lawsuit states, “because of the sex or gender based discrimination to which she was subjected, Defendant is guilty of violations of the Civil Rights act on 1964,” as well as the Tennessee Human Rights Act.
According to the lawsuit, “Plaintiff has suffered lost wages, mental pain and suffering, embarrassment, humiliation and general damages.” Harrison demands judgement for compensatory damages, reasonable attorney fees and costs.
Harrison has demanded a jury trial.
County Executive Hoyt Firestone said there may be some question about whether or not the Administrator of Elections is a state or county employee and is waiting to hear who actually bears the burden in this case – the county or the state.
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