TEXARKANA – A suit has been filed in the United States District Court, Western District of Arkansas, Texarkana Division against the City of Hope, Catherine Cook and Larry York.
The suit is a civil rights action filed by Kim Holston, an African American female, who alleges that the three violated her rights based on race, sex and disability. Ms. Holston was employed by the City of Hope from 1987 until 2016.
According to the Complaint, Holston was hired in January 1987 as a laboratory technician by then Wastewater Superintendent Calvin Ware. Upon Mr. Ware’s retirement in 1999, the plaintiff became Superintendent of Wastewater. At the end of April 2014, she began to have mild seizures, and then on October 4, 2014, suffered a severe seizure, causing her to be hospitalized. The diagnosis was lesions on both sides of the brain and swelling of the brain.
Due to her medical condition, Holston was off work until June 2015. Upon returning to work, she was under medical restrictions that did not allow her to drive or climb stairs, and limited to office work. She was placed at a desk in the treatment plant, in the laboratory, being supervised by a laboratory technician who she herself had trained. She alleges that the bulk of her job duties were being performed by Bobby Arney, a Caucasian male, who had been brought out of retirement and given the title of Wastewater Coordinator.
On December 3, 2015, Ms. Holston’s doctor released her from all restrictions but she was not allowed to return to her full duties and responsibilities. On or about December 7, Ms. Cook requested additional information about Holston’s release; that information was submitted on or about December 21. After that date, the plaintiff was forced to take additional leave until January 31, 2016.
Holston was ultimately forced to retire by the defendants, according to the Complaint. She further alleges that that advised they had concerns about her working alone; Holston says that Ms. Cook advised her that the City did not have enough employees to sit with her.
There are three Counts contained in the Complaint:
Violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), where the plaintiff alleges the defendants forced her to take early retirement due to the plaintiff’s perceived disability and her actual disability, in violation of the ADA;
Race Discrimination, where the plaintiff alleges that the defendants have Caucasian employees who were allowed to work despite their disabilities; and
Sex Discrimination, with the plaintiff alleging she was subjected to less terms and conditions of her employment than similarly situated male employees, all of account of her sex.
A jury trial is demanded.