An appeal has been filed in circuit court against the Jessamine County Fiscal Court in the case of a former Jessamine County EMT who filed a sexual-harassment claim against the county after resigning.
The appeal, filed Feb. 19, claims the fiscal court erred in not providing unemployment benefits to Tina Griggs, who resigned in June 2011. The appeal also names the Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Commission as a defendant, claiming it erred when it upheld a referee ruling affirming the fiscal court’s decision to not provide benefits.
Among other claims, the appeal states that EMS director Jerry Domidion testified falsely at the unemployment hearing that he had no contact with other employees while on administrative leave during the initial sexual-harassment investigation. Domidion had been instructed to not have contact with any other employees, according to the appeal.
“It is plaintiff’s information that Domidion in fact continued to contact other employees with the impact of sabotaging the investigation,” the appeal states.
The appeal comes after the Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Commission released a decision earlier this month affirming an earlier ruling that upheld the county’s refusal to pay unemployment benefits to Griggs.
The commission stated that the referee who handled the case for the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Office of Employment and Training made no errors when deciding that Tina Griggs left voluntarily, “without good cause attributable to the employment,” and therefore is not entitled to unemployment.
Griggs’ attorney, Robert Cowan, disagrees, writing in the newly filed appeal that Griggs was wrongfully and unlawfully terminated and that the former EMT in fact complained several times but the fiscal court “failed to remedy (the) hostile work environment.”
“Griggs was eventually faced with a situation wherein no reasonable person would find any alternative but to quit,” the appeal states. It also states that “Griggs exhausted all reasonable personal means of correcting the hostile work environment.”
Griggs was a lieutenant with the Jessamine County EMS when she voluntarily resigned in June 2011. She had been with the EMS department since 2002, according to the lawsuit.
Griggs filed a complaint in April 2011, two months before her resignation, alleging sexual harassment by EMS director Jerry Domidion and that Domidion had failed to act on a complaint she made alleging harassment by coworkers, according to the unemployment commission’s report.
Domidion was placed on paid administrative leave and the county hired a human-resources attorney to assess the situation, that report stated.
It was during this time that the new appeal alleges Domidion contacted other employees.
After the investigation, Domidion was reinstated.
Griggs was unhappy with the decision and submitted her resignation less than a month after learning of it, the commission’s report states.
After leaving the department, Griggs filed a claim for unemployment benefits, alleging misconduct and inappropriate behavior by Domidion. The Jessamine County Fiscal Court denied her unemployment benefits at that time.
Griggs’ claim alleged that Domidion had created a hostile work environment, that he “made remarks of a sexual nature,” and that on at least two occasions he made sexual gestures, among other allegations.
The appeal asks the court to set aside the unemplyment commission's order and award Griggs unemployment benefits, order a new hearing in the matter if necessary, award Griggs costs and expenses, including attorney's fees, and grant her any other relief to which she might be entitled. The Jessamine County Fiscal Court has yet to file an answer to the appeal.