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Employment law features in Toledo courtroom drama

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in Employment Law,Firing,Human Resources

It’s probably a good thing this case will be heard in Lucas County Court. A former law clerk for the Toledo Municipal Court has filed a lawsuit against the city, the court and six of its judges.

Plaintiff Troy Hawkins, a former law clerk for Municipal Judge Amy Berling, is seeking $50,000 in damages in a suit that alleges he was wrongfully terminated and publicly escorted from the courthouse, resulting in damage to his reputation.

Hawkins’ lawsuit claims the judges usurped Berling’s authority to make em­­ployment decisions about her employees.

The conflict stems from Berling’s agreement to allow Hawkins to practice bankruptcy law while working as a bailiff in her courtroom. The other six municipal judges objected and voted to prohibit bailiffs from practicing law. Berling claims to have researched the matter and concluded the other judges did not have jurisdiction over her staff; only she did.

Berling filed a formal complaint with the Ohio Supreme Court Grievance Com­­mittee, saying she and her staff were subject to continual harassment. She requested a workplace mediation session. Instead, the other judges fired Hawkins for “gross subordination,” prompting him to sue.

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