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Ex-county worker sues county for discrimination

August 22, 2014 News Extra

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A former Butler County court employee is suing the county, alleging he was the victim of discrimination because he is a man.

Francis “Jack” Plaisted, 65, of Butler is the former supervisor of the tipstaves, who are officers of the court who assist judges.

In Butler, a tipstaff worker attends most court hearings.

Plaisted was the only full-time tipstaff worker. The other 13 tipstaves are part-time employees.

The complaint accuses court administration of gender bias, a hostile work environment and wrongful termination.

Tom Holman, deputy court administrator, declined to respond to the complaint because the county had not yet received it.

“We haven’t seen anything, so we can’t comment,” Holman said this morning.

Plaisted could not be reached for comment.

According to the complaint filed Thursday in U.S. District Court, Plaisted and other male tipstaves were either assigned peripheral roles in or excluded from the jury selection process by female supervisors who instead gave prominent roles to female workers.

The complaint alleges Plaisted was mistreated by a female supervisor, who criticized and belittled him.

According to the complaint, “The harassment and disparate treatment was sufficiently severe to alter the terms and conditions of plaintiff’s employment and interfere with plaintiff’s ability to perform his duties.”

When Plaisted returned from a medical leave in January 2013, he was not given back his duty as tipstaff scheduler, a job assumed by a female employee.

After Plaisted requested the duty be returned to him, he was told he was being laid off “due to lack of work.”

His post was subsequently eliminated, leaving only part-time tipstaves.

Plaisted is asking for more than $75,000 in damages.

He previously filed a gender, retaliation and disability discrimination complaint against the court with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The EEOC did not pursue the complaint.

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