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Sheriff's department settles lawsuit

A lawsuit filed by a Missouri deputy against the county sheriff, prosecutor and sheriff's department has been dismissed after the parties agreed to settle outside of court for $145,000. In the employment discrimination lawsuit, the deputy accused the three named parties of employment discrimination, Sunshine Law violation and retaliation.

The deputy filed the claim after she was charged with animal abuse for when she shot and wounded a small dog while responding to domestic dispute call. She was later acquitted of animal abuse during her criminal trial. During the criminal trial, the deputy testified that she shot the dog once after it had bitten her and was attempting to bite her again. She testified that the shooting was done in the interest of protecting herself from rabies and other diseases.

In the discrimination lawsuit, the deputy claimed that other male deputies were not put on administrative leave in situations in which they had shot animals. Her claim also alleged that she received lower pay than her male counterparts, was subjected to disparaging remarks about women and that she had been given inferior equipment. The female deputy resigned before filing the discrimination complaint. Shortly thereafter, she was charged with animal abuse relating to the dog shooting. The animal abuse charge was filed nearly a year after the incident.

Workplace discrimination cases may be complicated and emotionally taxing for plaintiffs. Proving discriminatory behavior may also be a challenge in some cases. Workers who file discrimination cases often find that having the help of a lawyer can possibly make addressing some of the inherent challenges that are involved in these cases somewhat easier. It is not uncommon for employers to decide to settle out of court in the interest of minimizing the prospect of a lengthy trial and negative publicity.

Source: Southeast Missourian, "Former deputy", Emily Priddy, May 17, 2013

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