Posted on March 22, 2005

Attorney Says Sheriff Retaliating Against Rehired Workers

AP, March 22, 2005

The attorney for 23 employees who were fired then forcibly rehired by Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill said Tuesday the sheriff continues to retaliate against the workers.

The attorney, Harlan Miller, said Hill has stripped three majors of their ability to issue orders and created a secret chain of command to circumvent the judge’s order that required the employees to be rehired.

Miller filed papers Tuesday asking U.S. District Court Judge Charles Moye to order Hill to prove why he should not be held in contempt of Moye’s February order.

“Defendant Hill persists to this day in a zealous and thinly disguised effort to force the plaintiffs out of their jobs,” Miller said in papers filed Tuesday. “His brazen retaliation plainly violates the letter and the spirit of this court’s order.”

Hill fired 27 employees Jan. 3 as part of his restructuring after taking office. A judge issued a temporary injunction forcing Hill to reinstate the workers. Four decided not to return.

Hill says the workers aren’t protected by the county’s civil service merit system and can be fired at will.

That issue will be decided at a March 24 hearing in Clayton County Superior Court.

But the 27 employees filed a federal lawsuit against Hill, claiming racial, gender and age discrimination.

Nineteen of them are white; Hill is black.

On Tuesday, Hill dismissed Miller’s claims.

“All of that is frivolous and made up,” Hill said. “No one is being retaliated against.”