The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 17, 2014

Former deputy sheriff files federal lawsuit against Northumberland County


The Daily Item

— WILLIAMSPORT — A former Northumberland County deputy sheriff claims she was subjected to workforce discrimination and wrongly terminated.

Nicole Baker of Kulpmont makes the allegations in a civil rights suit filed Thursday in U.S. Middle District Court against the county.

Baker, who was hired in March 2010, claims she was singled out of disciplinary actions and her position was eliminated because of her sex.

Her allegations included being told she could not call off during her probationary period but another deputy could, she would be written up for punching in a few minutes late while male deputies were not and rules for her were changed after performing tasks like other deputies.

Baker also contends reports from her were not taken seriously including the lack of action when she found a high dosage narcotic pill on a fellow deputy’s desk. She also claims a male deputy was not reprimanded after removing her hands from an individual she was trying to restrain.

The complaint alleges male employees did not speak to her for two weeks in February 2012 and she was the only deputy not assigned to courtroom duty.

The county commissioners eliminated one deputy position and Baker said she was notified April 23, 2012, she was being let go despite having more seniority than three male deputies. Her last day of work was April 30, 2012.

She has filed complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission alleging retaliation because she was not rehired when a vacancy occurred. A male was hired the fill the position, the suit states.

Baker contends the county did not reply to her request for an explanation on why she was not rehired.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory damages.