- Associated Press - Saturday, May 9, 2015

SOMERSET, Ky. (AP) - The city of Somerset has settled with a paramedic who filed suit claiming she was fired from her job for criticizing the mayor in a Facebook post.

Crystal Norton was reinstated to her job and received nearly $26,000 in damages and lost pay from the city.

She alleged in the September lawsuit that she was terminated for criticizing the city and Mayor Eddie Girdler ahead of the November election, The Somerset Commonwealth Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1H99Yqy).

Somerset officials said in a statement that Norton returned to work and the lawsuit was settled late last year. Girdler won a third term as mayor in November.

Norton was upset over the razing of a Somerset resident’s home. She wrote: “This is absolutely unbelievable! The worst part is I can’t believe people are standing behind our crooked mayor…”

The home of the man, William Roberts, had been condemned and city workers showed up on Sept. 19 to begin demolition, but Roberts refused to leave. The home was razed while he was in jail. Norton said in her post that was a “such a dirty move.”

Norton alleged in her lawsuit that she was told her critical posting was a violation of the city’s social media policy, and she was terminated.

Robert Norfleet, Norton’s attorney, said in a statement the lawsuit “apparently helped the City realize it engaged in illegal, oppressive, and discriminatory conduct when (it) terminated Mrs. Norton’s employment because she spoke out about an issue of public concern and against the misuse of government power by Somerset city officials.”

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Information from: Commonwealth Journal, https://www.somerset-kentucky.com


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