Ex-employee alleges age, religious discrimination - Bonner County Daily Bee: Local News

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Ex-employee alleges age, religious discrimination

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Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 10:00 am

SANDPOINT — A former Bonner County employee alleges she was fired from her job because of age and religious discrimination.

Patti Lee Lynch filed a tort claim against the county on Nov. 15. She also filed a complaint with the Idaho Human Rights Commission.

The damages sought in the claim are not specified.

County officials do not comment on pending tort claims.

Lynch, 52, began working as a receptionist at the county commissioners’ office in 2009 and was later promoted to administrative assistant, the claim said. She subsequently transferred to the Assistance Office, which aids veterans and the indigent.

Lynch said the department’s director, Kevin Rothenberger, remarked to her in March that she no longer needed to work because she had out-of-state retirement benefits. Lynch further alleges that Rothenberger later called her a sinner because she smoked cigarettes and was not a churchgoer.

Rothenberger, Lynch points out in the claim, is an associate pastor at the Cocolalla Cowboy Church.

Lynch was told in June she was being fired for making too many errors in her work, an allegation which she denies.

Lynch filed a complaint with the Idaho Human Rights Commission on Nov. 5.

The county has 30 days to file a written response. Commission files are not open to the public at large.

The complaint can be resolved through mediation or investigated if a settlement cannot be reached. Once the investigation is complete, the commission decides if there is probable cause to believe illegal discrimination has occurred.

If there is no finding of probable cause, the case is closed and Lynch would be permitted to pursue her case in district court. If probable cause is found, the matter could be resolved through conciliatory settlement proceedings or litigation by the commission.

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  • Luv83864 posted at 9:46 am on Sun, Nov 25, 2012.

    Luv83864 Posts: 702

    Silly maybe but it's this same concept, I don't smoke (anything) and I wouldn't, I also do not drink however what a person choices to do at home if their business as long as they are not harming anyone. If someone were to chew nicorette at work then so what, there are many people who do this. There are also people who don't smoke at work and only at home. I also see them in front if the doors all over, I think that is entirely inappropriate and there are designated smoking places they should be.
    I said that because it's the truth, some people do drink on their lunch breaks. It is not unheard of with a lot of people I know to have a glass or two of wine at lunch. Also who is to say some of these people are actually sober when they get to work? I do get your point and think if they choose to smoke the health issues that arise should be taken up separately in their own bill. There is just no way to do this.

  • wilson posted at 3:57 pm on Fri, Nov 23, 2012.

    wilson Posts: 1091

    Luv - smoke anytime and anyplace they want - but I see a lot of people standing outside(right next to the doors) at all times during the day for their "fix". Most smokers take more breaks than non-smokers - taxpayers should not be paying for non productive smokers.

    Most employees do not take alcohol breaks or drink during regular work hours - that was silly, Luv -

  • Luv83864 posted at 9:42 am on Fri, Nov 23, 2012.

    Luv83864 Posts: 702

    It's not the companies business if their smoking does not affect their work performance, when it does affect their performance it's an issue. People who don't smoke get the same breaks as smokers to my knowledge. What if they smoke electric cigarettes, what if they chew Nicorette? What I'd they smoke at lunch, before and after work?

  • Luv83864 posted at 9:39 am on Fri, Nov 23, 2012.

    Luv83864 Posts: 702

    Then I guess neither should anyone who consumes alcohol?

  • wilson posted at 1:32 pm on Thu, Nov 22, 2012.

    wilson Posts: 1091

    Smokers should not be on the public payroll - It shows bad judgement, more health costs to the taxpayer, time lost for smoke breaks, etc. Let's hire smart, productive people --