- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Minot’s fired city attorney has filed a whistleblower complaint that alleges she was dismissed for refusing to follow orders that she believed broke the law.

Colleen Auer was fired May 2 after only about a month on the job for alleged insubordination. She already has filed grievances with the state Labor Department and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission saying she was harassed and wrongfully terminated. She is seeking to be reinstated.

In the whistleblower complaint filed with the state Labor Department, Auer said she was asked to do unlawful things regarding contracts and documents and was fired and publicly humiliated when she refused.

Auer alleges in her complaint that the city manager, human resources director, mayor and City Council members “prevented me from performing my legal duties and responsibilities, penalized me for acting in good faith to report violations of the law and for refusing to follow orders and perform actions that I believed to be unlawful.”

The City Council concluded that Auer’s allegations of harassment by City Manager Cindy Hemphill were unfounded. Hemphill also has denied any animosity toward Auer. The city is not commenting on the pending complaints because of the possibility of litigation.

Auer is seeking reinstatement with back pay and benefits, compensatory and punitive damages, costs and attorney fees, and public retraction of what she alleges to be defamatory statements.

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