Former Town Manager Claims Board Used Disability As Excuse To Fire
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 25, 2004
PRINCEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA--A former interim town manager has sued this small town with a population of 900, for discriminating against her because of her disability.
According to a brief story in the Tarboro Daily Southerner, Sandra Winder filed a complaint last month with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming the town terminated her on August 8, 2003 because of her mental illness.
In her petition, Winder wrote that she learned on July 29 that she was going to be fired -- by reading about it in the local newspaper. Winder said that the paper included comments made by Mayor Priscilla Everette-Oates during a July 28 town meeting, in which she apparently announced Winder's termination, and referred to her disability as a reason for letting her go.
Everette-Oates was referring to a decision made by the board in closed session three days earlier. The mayor reportedly had told the board that Winder's job performance was suffering, that she had missed too many days of work, and that she had a history of mental illness.
Winder, who had been Princeville town manager from 1997 to 2000, was hired to work on an interim basis from May through November 5, 2003. She said the board hired her knowing fully about her diagnosed depression.
"I believe I was discriminated against in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990," Winder wrote in her complaint.