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Missouri city's building commissioner sues municipality

The former building commissioner of a town in Missouri filed a lawsuit against the town, claiming that she was wrongfully terminated from her job because of gender discrimination and as retaliation for acting as a whistleblower on some problems related to construction. The federal suit alleging the violations of her employee rights seeks reinstatement of her job, back pay, compensation for emotional damages and punitive damages in the amount of $2 million.

The woman had been Wentzville's building commissioner for almost 15 years when she was fired in May 2013. In her lawsuit, she claims that the Home Builder's Association had tried to influence changes in the city's building code in 2010 to allow shortcuts in the building process. The suit alleges that when she did not support the HBA's proposed changes, the organization intimidated and harassed her, threatening to bring about her termination. An HBA representative said that she was not aware of the lawsuit and declined to comment.

Further, the lawsuit alleges, the woman was fired as retaliation for blowing the whistle on issues she reported dealing with construction issues in the city. Including among these issues were bidding processes that she called improper as well as the hiring of a consultant to manage a municipal pool project who lacked proper credentials in architecture or engineering. Finally, she claimed that she faced gender discrimination, being treated differently from male employees. She said her gender was a factor in Wentzville's decision to terminate her.

Employee rights are civil rights. Individuals who feel that they have been the victim of wrongful termination may seek legal remonstrance in a court of law under the Fair Labor Standards Act. A wage claim such as an unpaid overtime claim may also be redressed in court.

Source: St Louis Today, "Former Wentzville building commissioner files federal suit", Susan Welch, November 05, 2013

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