A former Peachtree City housing code official has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the city, Police Chief H.C. “Skip” Clark and police Sgt. Kay Crider.
According to the lawsuit filed on behalf of Tamara Babb, the problems began after she was transferred from the city’s building department to the police department, which had assumed most of the city’s code enforcement functions.
Within weeks of the transfer, the lawsuit alleges that Babb complained of discrimination based on her gender, including “an endless stream of vulgarities and inappropriate language intended to demean women, such as referring to women as “bitches.”
The lawsuit also accuses Crider, on one occasion, of handing Babb a vegetable on which a sexually suggestive comment was carved.
“This was done openly and in front of Ms. Babb’s colleagues, thus exacerbating the shock, humiliation, pain and suffering that Ms. Babb experienced as a result of this unwelcome and unlawful conduct,” the lawsuit states.
The complaints about the offensive conduct were made to both Chief Clark and the city’s human resources department, the lawsuit claims. Following those complaints, however, Clark demoted Babb to the position of code enforcement officer, which was a reduced title and also decreased her pay, the lawsuit states.
The city’s HR director, Ellece Brown, refused to allow Babb to file a formal, written complaint and ultimately the city did nothing to stop the discriminatory activity, the lawsuit complains. Furthermore, the city failed to keep Babb’s complaints confidential, which resulted in “heightened ridicule and additional harassment by the individuals about whom she had complained for opposing their unlawful and discriminatory behavior,” the lawsuit states.
Babb contends that because the city failed to remedy or address her complaints, she was constructively discharged by the city in September 2011 and chose to take early retirement, which reduced her pension and benefits that she would have been entitled to.
The lawsuit states one side of the story. The city is expected to file a formal response to the allegations in coming weeks.
Babb is seeking to be reinstated to her former position and void the demotion along with back pay or “front pay” and adjustment of her pension and retirement benefits as if she had worked to full retirement age.
Babb is also seeking compensatory damages against all three plaintiffs and punitive damages against Clark and Crider.
Babb is represented in the case by the law firm of Parks, Chesin and Walbert of Atlanta.