A former employee has filed a $250,000 civil lawsuit against Beavercreek Twp. trustees alleging wrongful termination and age discrimination, according to court documents.
Debra White, a 60-year-old former accounts payable/payroll technician, filed the lawsuit in Greene County Common Pleas court on July 15. The township and trustees, Carol Graff, Tom Kretz and Jeff Roberts, are identified as defendants.
This complaint marks the second lawsuit filed against the trustees, within the last two months, related to the township’s finance department. Beavercreek Twp. Fiscal Officer Christy Ahrens filed a lawsuit with the Ohio Supreme Court, in May, to force trustees to approve and fund salaries for two assistants for her office.
The most recent lawsuit in Greene County alleges White’s termination in May was the result of a personal and political dispute between the trustees and Ahrens.
“We believe this was all calculated to cause Ahrens to resign,” Duwel, White’s attorney, wrote in an email on Wednesday. “In the midst of this political fight the real victim is Deb White who in 2015 was named Township Employee of the Year. This violates the public policy of the state of Ohio which translates to a wrongful discharge action by Ms. White.”
White was hired in 2006 as the finance administrator. She reported to the fiscal officer until a year later when the office was restructured and she took on the role of accounts payable/payroll technician. In her new role she reported directly to the assistant to the fiscal officer.
Beavercreek Township Trustee Carol Graff disputed some of the claims made in the civil complaint and stated the trustees essentially responded to a “forceful request” from the fiscal officer through the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office.
Before Ahrens filed the lawsuit, Andrew Pickering, the Clark County Prosecutor who is representing her, emailed a proposal to the trustees suggesting the fiscal officer hire two assistants and included suggested salaries for the positions.
“Our subsequent actions complied with the request of the fiscal officer and the law as stated in the Ohio Revised Code,” Graff said. “In doing due diligence we would be remiss to have four people doing the job of two, since the fiscal office was then essentially authorized to have the two positions.”
The lawsuit also alleges White was treated differently than younger employees and after she was terminated she was replaced by a “substantially younger” employee.
“… Ms. White’s age had absolutely nothing to do with any decision made by the Board of Trustees to eliminate the position of Accounts Payable/Payroll position that reported to the Township Administrator,” Kretz said in an email. “Rather because of a request by Ms. Ahrens for two new assistants, the Board could not justify having a similar position under the Township Administrator and thus had to eliminate those positions.”
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