Discrimination suit may cost Henry County over $100k

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has recommended that Henry County pay more than $100,000 to a former employee who alleged that discriminatory actions led to her dismissal, although the county has taken no official action in that regard.

Nedra Swift, the county’s former human resources director, “alleged that she was subjected to a hostile work environment because of her race (African-American), sex, and age (60). She further contends that even though she complained internally; no action was taken and she was subsequently discharged as an act of retaliation in violation of Title VII and the ADEA,” according to a statement issued May 31 by EEOC Atlanta District Office director Bernice Williams-Kimbrough.

The EEOC investigation did not find sufficient evidence to support Swift’s allegations regarding the hostile work environment, but it did reveal two separate internal complaints she filed for which the county “failed to take swift, remedial action.” It was also noted that “subsequent to, and within close temporal proximity to complaining about the alleged unlawful activity, [Swift] was discharged.”

The evidence and the overall record, according to the EEOC, resulted in “reasonable cause” to conclude that Swift “was retaliated against for engaging in protected activity.”

The EEOC created a “conciliation agreement” to resolve the matter. It recommends that the county pay Swift $87,000 in back pay minus legal deductions, as well as $25,000 for compensatory damages. The county would also provide training to its entire management staff relating to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination Act of 1967. Should the agreement be accepted as presented, Swift would agree not to sue the county based on this charge.

Should the county refuse to enter into settlement discussions or the parties not reach an agreement acceptable to the EEOC, the office will inform those involved of “the court enforcement alternative,” ac-cording to the EEOC statement.

County officials, when providing information on this case to the Times, stated in an Aug. 10 email that “this matter is still pending.”