Jefferson County slammed with $1.3M verdict following discrimination trial

David Yates Mar. 7, 2013, 12:47pm

Jurors plucked from Jefferson County hammered the governing entity with a million dollar verdict on March 4, finding that the county discriminated against a former employee. 

Former county employee Donna Davis filed suit against Jefferson County and employees Douglas Anderson and Deb Clark on Aug. 20, 2008, alleging the defendants violated her constitutional rights.

The case went to trial Feb. 25 in Judge Gary Sanderson’s 6oth District Court.

According to the charge of the court, age was a motivating factor in Davis’ termination.

Jurors further found that Davis acted in good faith when she spoke out against the transfer of a dwarf in her department.

Davis was awarded $550,000 for her mental anguish, $576,237 in lost wages, plus an additional $181,908 for loss of benefits.

According to her suit, Davis worked for the Jefferson County Purchasing Department for more than 14 years. Anderson, a U.S. Navy retiree, was hired on April 9, 2007, to administer the department.

In her suit, Davis claims as soon as Anderson was hired he began distressing her by making repeated remarks concerning her age and constantly bringing up the topic of retirement.

On March 3, 2008, Anderson fired Davis without stating the reason for her termination. She was soon replaced by a younger male, the suit states.

The suit accuses Anderson of several more acts of discrimination against other employees, for which Davis openly criticized him, including the transfer of Alyce Williams, a dwarf.

When news of her firing became public and other improper activities allegedly occurring in the department became known, Anderson resigned and relocated to Austin, the suit states.

Missouri City attorney Larry Watts represents Davis.

Jefferson County attorney Tom Rugg represents the county.

Case No. B182-252

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