• 68°

Glasscock, BOE sued for alleged discrimination

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Chilton County Board of Education and former Superintendent Tommy Glasscock are being sued in the Middle District of Alabama Northern Division of the United States District Court by former employee Allison Smith for sex discrimination, invasion of privacy and sexual harassment by Glasscock, negligence in training, retaliation and violating the fair and equal pay laws, according to court documents.

Glasscock is now the Assistant State Superintendent for Career Technical Education/ Workforce Development.

According to court filings, Smith is requesting “front pay, back pay” relief, damages, costs, attorneys’ fees in a civil trial by jury.

Tommy Glasscock, Lori Patterson, Linda Hand, Joe Mims, Keith Moore, Pam Price, James Shannon and Curtis Smith are all named as defendants in the suit.

Hand, Mims, Curtis Smith and Shannon no longer serve on the board, having chosen not to run for re-election.

According to court filings, Allison Smith submitted a Charge of Discrimination on Aug. 15, 2017, outlining being asked to take on more job responsibilities without additional compensation and inappropriate comments by Glasscock of a sexual nature.

The filed complaint for the court case states the “Plaintiff timely filed a Charge of Discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Exhibit A). Plaintiff received a Notice of Right to Sue from the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (Exhibit B) before timely filing this Complaint. Plaintiff has exhausted all administrative remedies prerequisite to the filing of this lawsuit.”

Nothing has been filed in this case on behalf of Glasscock or the Chilton County Board of Education.

The BOE and Glasscock will be represented by Attorney Mark Boardman of Boardman, Carr and Petelos Law Firm in Chelsea.

“It’s a brand-new lawsuit,” Broadman said. “Generally, we do not comment on pending litigation.”

Smith is being represented by Attorney Sonya Edwards of Edwards Law, LLC in Birmingham.

“Ms. Smith is a very private person,” Edwards said in an interview via email. “It has taken a tremendous amount of courage for her to come forward and file this lawsuit against such a powerful individual. As for the details of her claims, we believe the facts in the complaint speak for themselves.”

Attempts to get comments from Glasscock or some of the Board of Education members were either not returned or they could not comment.

According to the complaint, Smith worked for the school system from “2015 until her termination on April 18, 2017.”

The complaint later says, “On February 27, 2017, Smith submitted her resignation letter to the CCBOE, advising them that she was resigning under Glasscock’s threats and duress with her final day being April 18, 2017.”

Smith’s original job title and description was secretary “with a starting salary of approximately $39,000,” according to the complaint.

The complaint states that Glasscock began assigning Smith additional duties. The filing alleges that Smith worked overtime hours but did not receive the corresponding overtime rate of pay. It alleges that Smith took on “Payroll Clerk and Board Clerk duties, which required her to work nights and weekends,” however, “The Board did not pay Smith the scheduled salary for those positions or the corresponding overtime.”

When told by Patterson she should not be working late, “Smith advised Patterson that it was impossible for her to complete all of her assigned duties within a normal 40-hour workweek. Patterson did nothing to ensure that Smith was receiving overtime compensation.”

Later, Smith was also given assistant superintendent duties and told her salary would be increased. The complaint alleges her salary did not change.

Additionally, the complaint alleges that Patterson and Mims asked her personal questions about possibly purchasing land with a man and denied a raise in pay after she took on personnel director duties because she was “living in sin” with a man she was not married to.

“Smith received one raise during her employment, a State Educators’ raise of 4%,” according to the complaint. “Smith’s final salary was approximately $40,560. Smith was not paid according to the County’s salary schedules for the positions she was actually performing.”

The complaint describes several instances of Glasscock having conversations about sex or making comments of a sexual nature near Smith.

According to the complaint, “Smith’s workplace was permeated with Glasscock’s gender-based and sexually-charged comments. Glasscock’s conduct deeply embarrassed, humiliated, and demeaned Smith personally.”

It also alleges that Glasscock gave her “several unwelcome hugs.”

“Smith would act uncomfortable, dodge his hugs, and rebuff his advances,” according to the complaint.

Smith discussed the issue with Patterson and three BOE administrators.

“To Smith’s knowledge, none of the three administrators did anything to have Glasscock’s conduct investigated or remedied,” according to the complaint.

The complaint alleges that Glasscock made several trips to Smith’s office through an outside door, that board members asked Smith about an affair Glasscock was allegedly having with another subordinate and alleges that Glasscock threatened Smith to have sex with him or lose her job. The complaint also alleges that Glasscock threatened to fire her for insubordination if she did not take a new position with a salary of $46,000.

The complaint alleges that the Board of Education did not take proper measures in response to the situation.

“Smith’s harassment was objectively severe or pervasive because it was a constant, hurling barrage of gender-related insults that were so humiliating and degrading that they unreasonably interfered with the terms and conditions of her employment,” according to the complaint.

The case has been assigned to a magistrate, but a trial date has not been set.