Sexual discrimination complaint is settled
All 3 commissioners must attend training
December 10, 2012
Butler County on Wednesday settled a sexual discrimination complaint filed by the director of county children and youth services. Under the settlement, all three commissioners must attend a training session within 16 weeks covering such topics as supervising employees, respect in the workplace, bullying in the workplace, conflict resolution and sex discrimination. As part of the settlement, the commissioners also issued a statement of support for CYS director Joyce Ainsworth. According to the statement, which was read at the meeting: “The treatment of Ms. Ainsworth at certain public board of commissioners’ meetings has not always been fair and some statements made at those meetings were not accurate.” She filed the complaint in March with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging county Commissioner Jim Eckstein publicly humiliated her during the Feb. 29 meeting. The commissioners accepted the settlement in a 2 to 1 vote. Eckstein, who dissented, said he didn’t support all the terms of the settlement. As part of the agreement, the county doesn’t admit any guilt in violating the Civil Rights Act. Eckstein said the provision proves he’s not guilty of sexual discrimination. Ainsworth, who did not attend the meeting, said in an interview she has mixed feelings about the settlement. “There’s nothing happy about any of this,” she said. “There’s nothing happy about what’s happening to this county. This was a settlement. You give a little. You take a little.” Ainsworth, who also is the deputy director of county human services, said she now just wants to get back to work helping children and their families. Eckstein complained about not being permitted to attend an EEOC mediation meeting in Pittsburgh. “My side was never heard,” he said. Commissioner Bill McCarrier, board chairman, explained solicitor Julie Graham represented the county. McCarrier said it wasn’t the county’s choice to exclude Eckstein. “That’s between you and the mediator, not the commissioners,” McCarrier said. During the Feb. 29 meeting, Eckstein said Ainsworth ignored his directive to save money on business trips. Her EEOC complaint alleged Eckstein favors male employees, but repeatedly embarrasses female workers. He maintains his criticism isn’t restricted to women and is relegated to actions, not people.