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Toledo reaches settlement with former staff–and rehires them

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Firing,FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

The Toledo City Council voted to pay $450,000 to settle a race discrimination and wrongful-termination lawsuit brought by two former city employees. That makes for a happy ending to a two-year legal odyssey for Office of Affirmative Action Director Perlean Griffin, and executive director of the city’s Youth Commission Dwayne Moorehead, who served under former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner.

In their lawsuit, which has now been dropped, the two claimed they were unlawfully terminated from their positions in 2007. Moorehead also contended that his firing violated the FMLA.

Mayor Mike Bell spearheaded the effort to settle the suit—and immediately rehired Griffin to again head up the Office of Affirmative Action. The settlement agreement calls for Moorehead to be rehired to some city position as well.

The settlement paid Moorehead $300,000, and Griffin $150,000, with funds from the city’s liability fund. Including attorneys’ fees, the settlement will wind up costing at least $525,000.

While denying liability, Bell said in a statement that ending the litigation was in the city’s best interests. Like many cities, Toledo is wrestling with a fiscal deficit. Because the funds would come out of the liability fund, Bell said paying the settlement would not increase the deficit.

A third city employee fired at the same time as Griffin and Moorehead is pressing forward with a $1 million lawsuit scheduled to be heard this month.

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