Federal jury: Chatham County District Attorney Larry Chisolm retaliated against employee, owes her $270,000

From WTOC:

Gwendolyn Robbins was a former officer manager at the district attorney’s office who filed the lawsuit in May 2010 claiming that she had been fired because of her age and gender.

Robbins said her position and two others were reclassified when Chisolm took office in 2009 and that she was not allow to reapply. She alleged that Chisolm refused to interview or hire her because she decided to file a claim with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission.

The new job was filled by a man several years younger than her.

The court heard Robbins’ retaliation claim. The jury, which was made up of six men and six women, returned a unanimous decision in favor of Robbins on the retaliation allegations.

Robbins’ original claims against Chisolm for discrimination were thrown out by Judge William T. Moore, but he allowed the jury to hear the claim that Chisolm retaliated against her by refusing to interview her for a newly created position.

According to a statement from Chisolm’s office quoted by WSAV, any eventual payout would be paid by “insurance coverage with Department of Administrative Services (DOAS), provided by the Prosecuting Attorney’s Council of Georgia.”

It seems likely that Chisolm will appeal the verdict, possibly on a few different grounds. For one, according to the statement from Chisolm’s office, the $270,000 judgement includes both wages and benefits while the jury’s charge was only to consider wages. Robbins had a $55,000 annual salary.

In an upcoming post, I’ll recap some of the issues swirling around the general election race between Chisolm, a Democrat, and Republican Meg Heap, who resigned her position of assistant district attorney in June 2010 after 15 years. She declared her candidacy for D.A. in January and was unopposed in the primary.

Just last month, Judge Moore dismissed a separate complaint against Chisolm involving allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.