Fired police dispatcher sues former Miner, Mo., police chief, city

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

A fired Miner, Missouri, police dispatcher has filed a federal lawsuit against the former police chief and the city, alleging sex and age discrimination and wrongful termination.

The termination of Laura Adams of Benton, Missouri, was a factor in the impeachment and ouster of then police chief Christopher Griggs in March.

Adams, 41, was a part-time dispatcher for the small Scott County city from May 15 to Oct. 4, 2018.

She was fired three times by Griggs, but reinstated by the city’s board of aldermen. On the fourth occasion, the aldermen did not reinstate her.

In February, the city issued articles of impeachments against Griggs, the elected chief.

In March, the aldermen held an impeachment hearing and voted to oust Griggs from office for failing to work 40 hours a week and be on call at all times as required by city ordinance, and refusing the board’s order to reinstate Adams.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court last month, accuses Griggs of being “a misogynist.” According to the suit, Griggs “despised and demeaned women in general and plaintiff in particular.”

The police chief “discriminated against plaintiff on the basis of her sex, continually demeaning her and creating a hostile work environment by repeatedly terminating her employment, by taking her off schedule, only to have her reemployed by the city board on three occasions,” wrote plaintiff’s attorney David Duree of O’Fallon, Illinois.

Griggs retaliated against Adams because she “would not grovel and act as an obsequious, servile, fawning, compliant employee,” according to the suit.

Adams accused the city of wrongful termination for “failing to undo and overrule” Griggs’ final firing of her.

The four-count lawsuit seeks more than $600,000 in damages, including “lost wages and attorney fees, and more than $600,000 in punitive damages.”

Adams is entitled to punitive damages from the city and Griggs because “their conduct was intentional, malicious, unjustified and outrageous, with an evil intent or motive, and with reckless or callous indifference to plaintiff’s federally protected rights,” Duree wrote.

But in a court filing Monday, Miner city officials said they acted “in good faith in dealing with the plaintiff.”

Attorney Al Spradling III, representing the city, wrote the city “did not retaliate or in any way violate the civil rights of the plaintiff based on her age or any other impermissible act and in fact it made good faith efforts to rehire plaintiff on several occasions.”

The city, he wrote, is not liable for any punitive damages.

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