A former clerk in the office of the Hamilton County, Indiana, treasurer has sued the county, claiming wrongful termination.
In her lawsuit filing, the 13-year veteran county employee said she was fired because leaders in the office feared she would tell what she knew about how county employees avoided paying fees on property taxes that were received late in the treasurer's office.
She said that in mid-2017, the practice quickly stopped. Prior to that, department employees had been marking down payments as having been made on time, even though they weren't. By doing so, the employees, their families and friends were not assessed late fees. That cost the county hundreds of dollars per transaction, according to the lawsuit.
The plaintiff admitted in the complaint that she and her co-workers accepted the late payments at the order of their boss. The falsified tax payments included a payment made by the supervisor's parents.
When she reminded the supervisor of just what she knew, the woman underwent months of harassment before being fired, she said.
As a result, she sued and is asking for $700,000 each from the supervisor, the county treasurer and Hamilton County.
The woman said that after she complained about the practice, she and other employees were told to take photos and other personal items from their desks, as well as to refrain from using their cellphones in the office. Eventually, supervisors told her they had video of her looking at her phone while at work, according to the court filing.
It will be interesting to watch the case as it unfolds. One thing is certain, though. No employee should be coerced into performing a potentially illegal act on the job, and then being fired for doing it.
If you're facing unjust treatment at work or if you were wrongfully terminated, an Indiana attorney skilled in employment law cases can help you determine your legal rights and options.