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Freeport HR director sues for defamation, retaliation, bias

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,HR Management,Human Resources

A former city of Freeport HR director has sued the municipality and one of its administrators for defamation and retaliation, and is charging that she was paid less than a male co-worker.

Minette Ashley filed suit in Brazoria County District Court after City Manager Jeff Pynes fired her and then accused her of bias. The lawsuit claims that after the termination, Pynes subsequently released a statement that said the city would not tolerate employees and supervisors engaging in discriminatory practices against blacks, women and the elderly. Ashley’s lawsuit says that constitutes defamation.

Ashley argues that after she attempted to report “unlawful employment practices” at City Hall, she was told she would be put on Mayor Larry McDonald’s “hit list” if she submitted complaints to him or other elected officials.

She also alleges that Freeport hired male candidates who were less qualified than female candidates, promoted them more often and paid them higher salaries.

In response, McDonald stated that Ashley was fired with just cause because Pynes “will do the right thing by everyone.” McDonald denies that he had a hit list and claims that there is no gender discrimination in Freeport city government.

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