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Clark County Settles Sex Discrimination Suit Filed By Former Female Deputy

By Mike Scott

Clark County and Sheriff Roy Gilbert have settled a discrimination filed last summer by former deputy Sarah Huston.
Huston’s complaint with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights against both Clark County and Sheriff Roy Gilbert alleged that she was discriminated against because she is female.  Huston was employed by the Clark County Sheriff ‘s department from March 1998, until July 1, 2003.  She worked as a dispatcher and was later promoted to Deputy Sheriff.  The only female officer, Huston served as a school resource officer in the seven school buildings. in Clark County.
Huston’s complaint stated that on or about June 17, 2003, Sheriff Roy Gilbert told her about a rumor that she was involved in an affair with then-Luray School Superintendent Greg Crowley while at a training seminar in California. Huston denied any personal  relationship, stating that she had not been alone with Crowley at any point, and the she was with Deputy Simerl at all times on the training trip.
According to Huston’s complaint, Gilbert did not investigate the rumors further.
The complaint also alleged that the County Commissioners were aware that at least two male deputies were involved in sexual affairs.  Neither was investigated, discharged or disciplined for their actions.  One was eventually promoted to Chief Deputy, after his affair was made public.
The complaint further alleges that on July 1, 2003, the Sheriff’s wife visited the office and had a loud conversation with the Sheriff demanding Huston be fired.  Gilbert fired Huston, citing “job performance issues.”
According to the complaint, neither Huston nor her immediate supervisor, Chief Deputy Joe Davidson, was aware of any job performance issues prior to her termination.
According the complaint, Huston alleges she was treated differently than male deputies, and therefore, discriminated against because of her gender.
As part of the settlement agreement, Clark County will pay Huston $16,667, and the county’s insurance carrier will pay an additional $8,333.
In addition, Clark County and Sheriff Gilbert agree that:
–They will place the MCHR Equal Employment poster in a conspicuous place.
–That all current employees of Clark County and the Sheriff’s office are aware or equal opportunity and employment policies.
–Clark County and Sheriff Gilbert agree that they will submit to MCHR equal employment training for each full-time and half-time employee.  Each such employee, officer, and agent will attend the MCHR training.
–Provide Huston with a service reference letter indicating dates of employment, position held, wages.
–Expunge any records from Huston’s official personnel file related to allegations in the charge an/or action.
The agreement was signed by Presiding Commissioner Paul Allen and Sheriff Roy Gilbert on November 5, 2007.