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Judge Dismisses Officer’s Discrimination Lawsuit

Date17 Jul 2019

Judge Dismisses Officer's Discrimination Lawsuit

Superior Court Judge John Wilson threw out a lawsuit filed by Marrisa Taylor against the Union County Jail that alleged she was discriminated against by two superior officers.

Taylor began working as a corrections officer at the jail in June 2008. She soon had a tense conversation with her supervisor Kevin Burkert regarding overtime. According to court papers, Burkert told newly hired officers to decline any overtime during their first 90 days of employment to stay on the union’s good side. Taylor, however, challenged his statement in front of other officers, saying that there we no such restriction.

Three years later, Taylor ran for a position as a union trustee, but lost. After she challenged the results, a union official started investigating whether she was stealing county time. Other union officers allegedly accused her of wearing a wire and called her a rat.

Taylor then filed a complaint with the county because of how poorly she was treated by the officers. The county started investigating Burkert. However, Taylor soon dropped her complaint once the union exonerated her and said she was a member in good standing.

According to the lawsuit Taylor filed, Burkert kept harassing her. She said that his animosity stemmed from the fact that she was a female who stood up for herself.

Once she made another complaint about Burkert’s behavior, the county investigated and suspended him in 2013. They also gave him a last chance notice that stated he would be terminated if he was disciplined again.

Taylor filed additional complaints about Burkert and eventually filed a lawsuit on July 22, 2015 that claimed Burkert harassed her about her race and gender.

Wilson, however, decided to dismiss Taylor’s lawsuit because it was filed after the two-year statute of limitations and she didn’t provide proof that any of the incidents of harassment were based on her race and gender.

“While plaintiff paints a picture of an unpleasant colleague intent on making her uncomfortable at work, she cannot demonstrate that his acts after July 22, 2013 were motivated by racial or gender animus,” the appellate court wrote. “The record suggests instead that Burkert and (Taylor) have a history associated with union activity that began almost immediately after (Taylor) started working at the jail.”


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