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Federal complaint filed against Morgan officials

By Sheryl Marsh · 340-2437

A woman who uses a wheelchair filed a complaint with a federal agency, alleging that Morgan County officials discriminated against her by not calling her to work.

An employee and officials have filed affidavits denying that they discriminated against Pam White of Priceville.

White, 36, said she was born with spina bifida and has been in a wheelchair all of her life.

The physical disability, she said, didn’t stop her from working.

In a complaint she filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, White stated that she has been working temporarily as a switchboard operator at the courthouse since 2004.

Denied chance to work

White said in a telephone interview Wednesday that an opportunity for her to work while the switchboard operator was out for surgery came in April, but she didn’t get the temporary job.

Her EEOC complaint states, “During the month of April, I was informed by Teresa Tolbert, administrative assistant, that I would not be allowed to work in her absence and that she had hired an employee from Kelley Services. I had not been warned nor received any complaints in reference to the performance of my job.”

White said she talked with County Commission Chairman John Glasscock and Administrator Syble Atkins, and they did not give her a reason she was not allowed to work.

Atkins, Glasscock and Tolbert filed sworn affidavits denying discriminatory practices.

Tolbert, who was absent from work from April 10 to June 18, states in an affidavit that White told her April 4 that her father had to have surgery and that his medical needs would determine whether she would be able to work.

Different story?

White said she told Tolbert something different.

“I told her that I could work. I told her to give me a week,” White said.

White said she could have worked the remainder of the period that Tolbert was absent.

“My concern was that they got a temp for the whole period,” White said. “I feel like Mr. Glasscock could have done something. I don’t fault Syble (Atkins) at all. I do hold Teresa (Tolbert) responsible. I feel like Teresa found a good way to get me out and she did.”

Tried to accommodate

Tolbert states in the affidavit that she rearranged her office to accommodate White.

“I have always called Pam first to substitute when it was necessary for me to be away from work,” Tolbert states in the affidavit.

“It was for that reason that I called her first when it became obvious that I was going to be out and for an extended period of time for surgery.”

White’s case against the county has been assigned to an agent for investigation, according to commission office records.

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