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13 November 2013

Clayton County Elections Board Member Says Discrimination Led to Her Firing at Labor Dept.

A Clayton County Elections Board Member and two other former state Department of Labor employees say they were discriminated against when they lost their jobs in 2011.

Patricia Pullar, who currently sits on the Clayton County Board of Elections, filed suit in Fulton County Superior Court claiming the Department of Labor discriminated against her on the basis of race, age, and sex when she was fired from her position in the Labor Department's Intergovernmental Relations Division. Two other former Labor Department Employees who worked in the Intergovernmental Relations Division with Pullar, Calvin Maddox and Larney Owens, say they were discriminated against as well.

Pullar, Maddox, and Owens describe themselves as African-Americans over the age of forty. Pullar and Maddox were dismissed from their jobs on 31 October 2011. Owens was let go 7 November 2011.

The three plaintiffs are seeking an unspecified amount of money for lost wages, punitive damages, attorney's fees, and court costs.

According to open.georgia.gov, Patricia Pullar received a $60,000 salary in 2011. Calvin Maddox received a $40,184.88 salary. And Larney Owens received a $52,080 salary.

The Georgia Department of Labor, through Attorney General Sam Olens, responded to the lawsuit, saying, "All actions taken with respect to Plaintiffs' employment were taken for legitimate, non-retaliatory reasons."

The Attorney General's office filed a Notice of Removal in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, saying that the Pullar lawsuit, "presents a federal question over which this Court has original subject matter jurisdiction." In other words, since Pullar, Maddox, and Owens are claiming the state Department of Labor violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 --both federal laws-- the state Attorney General believes the federal courts are best equipped to decide the case than the Superior Court of Fulton County.

The federal case number for Pullar et al v. Georgia Department of Labor is 1:13-cv-03512-SCJ-WEJ.