- Associated Press - Friday, February 10, 2017

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - A federal judge has dismissed a former Minot city attorney’s claim of wrongful job termination.

Colleen Auer alleged her 2015 firing was in retaliation for a whistleblower complaint, the Minot Daily News (https://bit.ly/2lwePJR ) reported. But the court ruled in favor of the city saying Auer’s allegations of gender-based discrimination and retaliation lacked evidence.

“We are pleased that the court agreed with the city’s position,” Minot Mayor Chuck Barney said in a statement. “I am glad we can finally put this behind us and focus on advancing the other good work of the city.”

Auer alleged she was terminated from her job for reporting sex-based harassment by then-acting city manager Cindy Hemphill. Auer argued Hemphill contrasted her work style, communication skills and demeanor with her male predecessor as well as traditional gender stereotypes. She claimed the city violated state law by firing her in retaliation for her complaining about the harassment to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“The record is replete with affidavits and testimony from city officials which demonstrates Auer’s unprofessionalism, insubordination, inability to work with others and unsatisfactory job performance,” U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland wrote.

Auer accused the judge of downplaying her complaint by referring to it as a petty grievance.

“The court has become a willing partner in allowing this kind of behavior to happen and to go unpunished and unaddressed. I think that’s a far bigger problem,” she said. “That is a scary revelation.”

The order’s current form doesn’t allow for an appeal, but Auer said she plans to request an order that does and then file for reconsideration.


Information from: Minot Daily News, https://www.minotdailynews.com

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