Oklahoma County settles discrimination lawsuit for $175K
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma County has agreed to pay $175,000 to a former county employee who filed a lawsuit alleging that she faced age and racial discrimination and was treated like a “black slave on display at a plantation.”
A federal judge approved the settlement in 77-year-old Leona Porter’s lawsuit last week, The Oklahoman reported . County commissioners voted on the settlement in November.
Porter alleged that Oklahoma County Clerk David Hooten started harassing and discriminating against her in January 2017. Hooten cut Porter’s pay, reduced her duties, regularly commented that she was too old and sick for the job, the lawsuit said.
In March 2017, Porter spent two days sitting in a rocking chair near the entrance of the County Clerk’s Office and served as a greeter, according to her attorneys. She was fired after she complained about the situation, which she said made her feel like “Aunt Jemima sitting on the front porch of the master’s house,” the lawsuit said.
“What he did to me was awful ... It was humiliating. It was awful. It was degrading,” Porter said.
Hooten said he fired Porter because she was essentially a “ghost” employee who didn’t have any real duties but was being paid more than $78,000 annually as the office faced a budget crisis.
“I know I didn’t do anything wrong,” he said. “I absolutely didn’t do anything wrong.”
The county clerk is also facing a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by seven former employees, who alleged that they were terminated for political reasons.
Hooten has also denied wrongdoing in that case, calling it “totally bogus.”
This story has been corrected to show that Porter is now 77, not 75, and that the county clerk is facing one wrongful termination lawsuit filed by seven employees.
Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com