- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 5, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas regulatory agency has paid nearly $30,000 to its former general counsel who alleged she had been discriminated against in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Kansas Corporation Commission, which regulates public utilities including electric and water companies, settled with its former attorney Dana Bradbury for $29,458, according to Topeka Capital-Journal (https://bit.ly/1N9K6Kt ). The newspaper received a copy of the settlement in response to an open records request.

The settlement, which includes $24,458 for lost wages and $5,000 for emotional distress, contains no admission of wrongdoing or liability on the part of the commission. The document provides no details of Bradbury’s allegations of discrimination.

The commission approved the settlement on April 23 after a closed executive session, when it disclosed that a cash payment would be made to a former employee but released no other details.

KCC spokeswoman Linda Berry said Wednesday the KCC declined comment on the settlement. Berry said Bradbury was the KCC’s general counsel from August 2011 until February 2015.

The settlement says Bradbury also filed a discrimination charge with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Feb. 16, 2015. That commission says disability discrimination occurs when an employer covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act treats an employee unfavorably because of a disability. Discrimination also occurs when an employer treats an employee less favorably because of a history of disability or if the employee has a short-term physical or mental impairment.

Brenda Head, Bradbury’s lawyer, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Amber Smith, the KCC’s attorney, initially denied the newspaper’s request for access to the settlement, saying it contained “information of a personal nature such that the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of privacy” and that it was exempted under the Kansas Open Records Act.

Todd Hiatt, a senior assistant district attorney, told the newspaper on July 17 that he had concluded the document is a public record and should be released. The commission complied a few days later.


Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, https://www.cjonline.com

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