WRONGFUL TERMINATION SUIT TARGETS STATE

Former Chief Probation Officer Kipp Scott’s complaint for wrongful termination is not with the county; it’s with the state, a federal judge ruled last week as he dismissed Tippecanoe County as a defendant in Scott’s lawsuit.

Scott refiled his lawsuit earlier this month, naming the state of Indiana as the defendant and alleging that a panel of judges, who are state employees, discriminated against him when they terminated him on July 29. Scott’s lawsuit described this as wrongful termination.

“The federal court dismissed the county as the wrong person to sue,” Tippecanoe County Attorney Doug Masson said Friday.

U.S. District Court Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen ruled in May that “(p)robation officers serve at the pleasure of the appoint court and are directly responsible to and subject to the orders of that court.” Judges are state employees, not county employees. Therefore, “the proper defendant is the State of Indiana, not Tippecanoe County,” Van Bokkelen wrote.

Scott had been chief probation officer for more than nine years and employed as a probation officer since 1989. He became ill in April 2013, and he used the Family Medical Leave Act on May 20, 2013, to take time off work for treatment, according to the lawsuit refiled June 9. He was scheduled to return to work on Aug. 14. Scott had requested an extension of his leave but was terminated after a meeting with a panel of judges and the county human resource director on July 29, according to Scott’s lawsuit.

Scott used the Family Medical Leave Act while he received treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, according to his lawsuit.

Scott accuses the county of wrongful termination and discrimination against him for his illness and retaliating against him for asserting his rights on the Family and Medical Leave Act.

The Indiana Attorney General Office now becomes the defense counsel on this case, Masson said.

If you have any questions about wrongful termination, please contact our Firm: www.LineschFirm.com

Article by Ron Wilkins, visit: www.jconline.com

The Linesch Firm provides news and opinion articles as a service to our readers.  Often these articles come from sources outside of our organization.  Where possible, the source is documented within each article as well as a link to the article’s source.  For more information about The Linesch Firm, please visit our website: www.LineschFirm.com.  If you have questions about employment matters and would like to consult a Board Certified Labor Attorney, please contact our Firm.

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