ShareThis Page
Westmoreland County settles another discrimination claim at sheriff’s department | TribLIVE.com
Westmoreland

Westmoreland County settles another discrimination claim at sheriff’s department

Stephen Huba
| Thursday, March 14, 2019 4:14 p.m
881287_web1_GavelNewN

Westmoreland County commissioners on Thursday agreed to settle a racial discrimination complaint filed by a former sheriff’s deputy.

The out-of-court settlement calls for a payment of $17,500 to former Deputy Mark Taylor, who was one of three people to accuse the county sheriff’s department of racial discrimination last year.

Commissioners declined to comment on the settlement.

“I don’t have anything more to say about this chaos,” Commissioner Ted Kopas said, in an apparent reference to the fact that commissioners have settled eight lawsuits filed against the sheriff’s office in recent years.

Last fall, commissioners paid two settlements of $85,000 each to end racial discrimination lawsuits brought by unsuccessful black job applicants.

In once case, Anna Gerald, 27, of Monroeville, claimed she was rejected in 2015 for a job as a clerk in the department’s warrant division because she is black.

In the other case, Simeon McClain, 61, of Jeannette, claimed he was rejected in 2015 for a part-time deputy position because he is black. At the time he applied, McClain had nearly 30 years’ experience as a police officer with the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, according to the lawsuit.

As of October, such settlements had cost taxpayers $273,000, and legal fees associated with defending the lawsuits had exceeded $150,000, officials said.

In the case of Taylor, he served notice of his intent to file a lawsuit around the same time as Gerald and McClain, but the matter was resolved before it reached that stage, said county Solicitor Melissa Guiddy.

Taylor worked for the sheriff’s department from 1992 to 2016, when he retired, said his attorney, Nikki Lykos.

“His claim was based on race discrimination and retaliation because he had made some complaints,” Lykos said. She declined further comment.

Sheriff Jonathan Held did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, shuba@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Westmoreland
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.